Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John:16:16: “A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again a little while, and ye shall see me because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, a little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me, and because I go to the Father? They said, therefore, what is this that he saith: a little while? We cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice, and ye shall be sorrowful, but the sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in travail, hath sorrow because her hour is come. But as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
Dave: Well, Tom, they didn’t understand even when He explained it to them, because they were like people today. We call them “Kingdom Now” —they believe that they are setting up the kingdom, then Christ will return to this earth to rule over the kingdom that they have established. Christians are going to take over politics, vote our men into high political office, we’re going to take over the schools, the media, and so forth.
And the disciples, they didn’t realize that Christ had to come first as the Lamb to be slain for the sins of the world, but John the Baptist certainly knew. They should have heard how John hailed Him: “Behold the Lamb of God…that bears away the sin of the world.” Well maybe they even knew that, but they thought He would bear it away in some other way. But that He would then return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to take the throne of His father David, so when He said, “I’m going to go away to prepare a place for you, they didn’t understand it.
But of course, “a little while,” “a little while”…
Tom: Yeah, what does that mean, Dave? Can it have more than one meaning?
Dave: It’s “a little while and you will see me again”—that would happen because they weren’t going to last long. They were going to die as martyrs, so it wouldn’t be too long until they would see Him again. That could be part of what He’s talking about. But also, it’s for us today—“a little while”—well, those who die, it’s a little while. But the Rapture—you could say, “Well, but it’s been 2,000 years. Is that a little while?” Well…
Tom: Compared to eternity.
Dave: It’s a very small length of time. And in fact, a day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day. And a thousand years are like a “watch in the night as it passes,” scripture says, because from God’s perspective, I mean, there is no time. He inhabits eternity.
Tom: But the term seems to have a temporal meaning, doesn’t it? A little while?
Dave: Well, a little while—it’s not going to last long. There will be an end to this separation from Christ. He’s leaving them. “You won’t see me, but you will see me, because I go to the Father.” Well, if He didn’t go to the Father, and if He did not pay the penalty for our sins, and that is the basis upon which He returned to the Father, because He returned as our Representative.
Tom: Our Advocate.
Dave: The penalty of sin having been paid. Then on that basis, that’s the only way that they could get to heaven. He’s going to heaven. He’s not going to—He talked about Abraham’s bosom. There were two compartments in Hades—one for the damned and the other for those who were redeemed.
Tom: Referred to Paradise, isn’t it?
Dave: Yes. He says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” But then, He’s not saying to them, “I’m going to go to Paradise” [but] “I’m going to go to my Father.”
And when He rose from the dead, then He emptied Paradise. Hebrews talks about that. He’s like the forerunner in the Olympics, with the contestants coming behind him, and “whither the forerunner has for us entered,” the writer of the Hebrews says, and He made the way into the presence of the Father possible. Opened the door: “I am the door,” He said. “No man comes to the Father but by me.” And He had to die, He had to pay the penalty for our sins, He had to resurrect, His death on our behalf had to be accepted of the Father; God’s justice was vindicated and satisfied.
So He’s also talking about that: “I’m going to the Father. But I’m going on your behalf. I’m going as the forerunner. So it’s just going to be a little while….” Actually, it was not long after this—it was about four days, this is the day before His crucifixion, and He would be in the grave three days and three nights and then He would rise. And He would rise, and they would see Him again as the resurrected Lord who had paid the penalty for their sins.
And Luke tells us, you know, for 40 days He was with them, talking of the things concerning the kingdom of God and “by many infallible proofs” showing them who He was—this wasn’t some impostor, impersonator, but He was the very one who had died, and of course, He could say to doubting Thomas, “Thrust your hand into my side. Put your fingers in the nailprints.”
So it was—from that standpoint, it was just a little while—a few days.
Tom: Dave, in verse 22, it says, “And ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no man taketh from you.” Every time the Scripture talks about joy, I get really excited! Because to know that we’re going to be with the Lord forever, for eternity—and He’s already in our hearts. And we have a taste of heaven—we have that experience of having Him within us. But to be with Him forever—that joy is unspeakable; unbelievable!
Dave: And we get that statement in the Scriptures: “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord after his resurrection.” So this is what He’s trying to say. But there’s more to it than that, because for us, as you said, it opens up the whole picture of eternity. We will be with Him forever and forever, and we will be in His likeness. You couldn’t have greater joy than that.
In other words, this life is very brief. This life carries trials, tribulations, difficulties, but we’re looking forward to something. And Paul said, “The suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
So this is what we look forward to. And Christ is talking about in this passage some of His last words to His disciples before He went to the Cross. And of course, He’s preparing them for something really shocking. He’s going to be betrayed. Judas will bring the soldiers into the garden. He will let them bind His hands as though He’s weak—this one that did the miracles. He’s going to look like a total failure. They will seem to be in control. They’re going to take Him, and mock Him, and beat Him, and scourge Him and then crucify Him? Jesus has to tell the disciples, “Look, in a little while, you’re going to see me again. This isn’t goodbye. You might think that, but I’m going to be with you again.”
And then, He says, John:16:23: “In that day, you will ask me nothing, but verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name He will give it to you.”
So He’s going away. They’re going to be looking to the Father. But it will be in the name of Jesus. And this is why we pray in the name of Jesus today.
Tom: Right—didn’t happen before then. This was very different for the Jews to go to—to even recognize God as “Father,” but certainly to go to God in the name of Jesus is very different.
Dave: “Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you…” Now we have to come back next week, Tom, and talk about that. Because some people get the idea, “Well, if I just say ‘In the name of Jesus’ then I can get anything I want. We talked about that months ago, but we need to come back and deal with it.