When Jesus Said Goodbye

He looks at the confused faces around him. Shadows of despair cloud each face in the room. His own heart feels like lead. He doesn’t know what else to add, they don’t understand the words he speaks. Still, they fix their eyes on him;

Questioning eyes, hungry gazes, expectant faces….

goodbyeThey understand that the worst is about to happen. The one that they had been living for was leaving them. Three years is enough time to cement stubborn bonds. And these ones here are hard to break. One by one, Jesus looks at the scared faces of his disciples, huddled together like wet kittens, listening to his words of encouragement, hanging on to each parting word. And as his glance falls upon each face in the room, floodgates of memories fill up his mind, welling up his eyes, and drowning his heart with grief…

He turns to see rugged Peter clenching his fists and biting his lips, determined not to believe any word his master says. He looks at Peter and a tear streaks a cold-wet-road down his cheek. Jesus recalls the first day he met Peter;

It was at the Galilean sea-shore; young Simon-Peter was a resourceful, hardworking fisherman and husband. He remembers how the first thing he noticed about Peter was his determined face and his white-knuckled hands hoisting up the sail. Peter was working alongside his more quiet and reserved brother, Andrew. Christ recalls that moment so vividly for it was these features; this innocent bravery, this rugged loyalty and this unrestrained passion that shaped His words to Peter, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19)

Now, that promise was about to be effected. Now, he was going to leave behind the one who left behind everything to follow him. He was going to leave poor Peter all alone. It breaks His heart because he knows that an unrestrained Peter is a loose canon. He knows that rugged Peter is bound to make so many reckless mistakes. He wishes he could stay forever on earth, if only to hold Peter’s leash and save his life. But he knows he must leave.

Then Jesus turns to scan the rest of the faces in the room, there’s no rest in those faces. He notices that sweet and innocent John is not leaning against him today. He has moved away tonight, and he’s sitting upright at the table. Alert. It’s almost like, well, like he feels he should learn to keep his distance early, because soon, their best friend and teacher will no longer be with them. John is a sentimental guy, and so he does what comes easy for him, he lets his tears flow.

Several times before, he’s cried upon Christ’s shoulders, most recently, beside his mother at Calvary as Christ hung dead, but tonight marks the first of many nights when his tears will be soaked by the cold-hungry-bare-earth. Jesus can’t bear to look anymore into the hunched form of his beloved disciple.

So he moves on to the other faces;

Scared faces, doubting faces, confused faces, shaken faces, discouraged faces, disillusioned faces…

He looks at them as his heart is moved to leave them a promise, a promise that will keep them as long as he keeps it. Until his return.

“I will send you a helper,” he chokes out these five words as an introduction to the eternal promise.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:16-19

In His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ forgave our sins made us just before God. In His life, Jesus lives, moves and has His being through us.

We live, move and have our being in Him.

We never walk alone.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.” 2 Cor 13:14

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