We continue our study of the Gospel of John. Picking up at verse 33 of chapter 13, the Apostle is quoting the words of Jesus, as He was preparing His Apostles for His departure:
He said, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now, where I am going, you cannot come.” … Simon Peter asked Him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? Very truly I tell you before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times!” (John 13: 33-38)
With the exception of Judas Iscariot, the Apostles were at a high in their commitment to Jesus. Though Peter was the only one who asked the question of “Why can’t I follow You now?”, no doubt the other Apostles were wondering the same thing. They had been with Jesus, continually, night and day for many months. And to be with Him is what they wanted. When you love someone, you want to be in their presence; you want to see them, you want to hear their voice, and see their face. This is what Jesus was talking about on one of His visits to see Lazarus, and his sisters Martha and Mary. Martha was busy getting the meal ready for everyone to eat, but Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what He said. Martha went to Jesus and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42)
The Apostles had already discovered that being in the presence of Jesus, was where they wanted to be, and they could not understand why He would be leaving them. They were not hearing Him say, “You will follow later.” They were not hearing Him say, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Jos 1:5) They were not hearing Him say, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) They did not know He was saying, “I must return to Heaven, and reign at the right hand of the Father, and then I will be with you wherever you are. For Father will send you the Holy Spirit to give you the strength and power you will need as you REMAIN HERE TO DELIVER THE GOOD NEWS UNTIL IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO COME HOME. Then you will follow Me to Heaven. For the Father, and the Holy Spirit, and I, are One. And wherever you are, I am there, Our Father is there, the Holy Spirit is there, in you, to bring about miracles of faith and tell the Good News here on earth. This is what Jesus was saying when He said, “You cannot follow now, but you WILL follow later. I will not leave you, I am with you always.” “Here, there, everywhere.”
So it is for each of us. When we fall in love with Jesus, and desire to be with Him, so it is. He is always with us in the body, and in our soul and spirit in the Holy Spirit. He is with us here on earth, and of course will be with us in heaven. He will never leave us or forsake us. Where He is; we will follow, for there is where we want to be, and there is where He wants us, and so it is.
So let us be about our labor of love here on earth. Let us tell the Good News. Jesus is Lord, and He is with us always.- wherever we are.