Summary: Christ comforts his disciples and us with the promise of his presence and with the guarantees of our union.
The promise we read in our last study together was that Jesus will not leave us as orphans: he will come to us. We’re going to pick up now in verse 19 and continue with this theme: Christ comforts his disciples and us with the promise of his presence and with the guarantees of our union.
What I mean is that he won’t leave us by ourselves in the world. That’s surely a source of comfort and reminds us of the 23rd Psalm. But he also teaches about the guarantees of our union. In other words, if we’re one with God, then it’s going to show itself through our lives and we’re going to have life. So, Christ uses this to comfort these men who are about to be left alone as sheep among wolves:
19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:
After he’s crucified the world won’t see him any more, but the disciples will. They’ll see him during the time before his ascension, but I don’t think that’s what he means. Note that “you see me” is in the present tense. The word for “see” doesn’t have to mean that they literally lay eyes on him; it means that they contemplate him or perceive him. They know he’s there despite the fact that he can’t be seen.
Obviously this is a great source of comfort to them:
because I live, ye shall live also.
Here’s one of the guarantees of union. He went to the cross, but that wasn’t the end of his story. Three days later he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where he’s preparing a place for us. Once he’s ready he’ll return again and take us with him. That’s the whole promise, but it’s dependent on the first half of that sentence: “if I live.” If he lives, then that means he beat death. If he lives, then that means he can finish his work. If he lives, then that means he can make good on his promise.
Now, I want you to think for a minute about baptism. Why are we so adamant about believer’s baptism? Why don’t we think sprinkling is proper? Well, here’s our answer. We died because he died, and that’s how sin lost it’s power over us. That’s how God’s wrath towards us has been satiated. We rose from the dead because he rose from the dead. That’s how death has no sting towards us. We live because he is alive and in heaven even now. It’s all about our union.
Look over to Colossians for more of an explanation on this:
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col. 2:10-13).
Now skip ahead to the next chapter:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Col. 3:1-4).
Note how everything is spoken of in the present tense. We are complete in him, we are circumcised (this was written to Gentiles), we are buried with him, we are risen, we are quickened together with him, and we are forgiven because we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God!
And so, if that’s true, then what can possibly happen to us now? This is why we don’t fear those who can harm the body and not the soul. This is why the disciples should be comforted. If he lives, then they also live!
20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
This isn’t something they know right now, but it’ll be made clear to them at that day. Keep in mind that he’s talking about sending the Comforter, so that day is the day of Pentecost. That’s the day that they start putting things together and start getting bold with the gospel.
21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him,