Speaking more openly to the disciples, Jesus tells them of their own relationship to the Father. Up until now He has been, for all practical purposes, the go between – He was following the directions of the Father and they have been following Him. Even though I know He had taught them to pray like this, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” I think they may have felt a certain distance from the Father Jesus talked about.
But Jesus is making it evermore known they are being drawn into the circle – Jesus has made a way for them to connect with the Father – The Father loves them because they have loved Jesus and believed He came from God. They can now ask (pray) to the Father themselves and their prayers will travel via the conduit of “His name”.
(This open, nonstop access to God the Father has to be a mind blower. The Judaism they knew put priests and Levites and sacrifices and Holy of Holies and rabbis’ opinions and who knows what else between a person and God. Even following Jesus, as a master and teacher, still placed Him between them and God. It is revolutionary to find the separation to be removed – there is a day in their immediate future when the veil in the temple will be rent – top to bottom – to visibly display that the one who approaches God via Jesus will have the unfathomable experience of sweeping and uncluttered access to the God of the Universe! I wonder if they really got this. I wonder if I really get it.)
(If I could draw there would be a sketch in here somewhere showing a Jesus built passageway called “in my name”. It would be making a bridge over this huge gap between two cliffs. I’m on one side and this tender, smiling, wonderful God, the Father, is on the other. He would be waving and reaching out His arms and I would be a little child running so fast to reach them.)
Back to the disciples – dawn is breaking. No more questions – we get it!
Jesus must tell them one more important thing. “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Understand this, you may leave me but the Father will never leave me – that is the inseparable unity we share. In my darkest hour – My Father is with Me.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” This important thing is not about their failure to stick by Him as it first appears. It is about the unbreakable connection they now share with Him. Just as He knows He is not alone – so He wants them to know they also will never again be alone. (The world is full of trouble but for the one who believes, Jesus declares: Peace is found “in me” because I have overcome the power that divided us and our relationship is restored!)
A quick Google search will confirm that as humans we do not like being alone. We have written songs, movies, and volumes that express the comfort of having someone and the despair of being left. God was the first to say it – “it is not good that man should be alone” on the earth. He was the one that said “be fruitful and multiply”. The point I’m afraid gets missed is – there is a unique longing to be in unity with Him.
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensees
God has made mankind uniquely suited for fellowship with Him. How incredible is that?
“I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” John 16:33 GNT
About the World?
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. ~ St. Augustine, Confessions