“In a short time the world will no longer see me…”
The short time is his death (Good Friday), resurrection (Easter Sunday) and ascension (next Sunday).
After these events the “world” no longer sees him but Jesus makes a distinction – those who love him do “see” him.
How terribly discriminatory of Jesus!
So how is it that some “see” him and others don’t?
He promised to come back, to show himself, to enter into our lives and he achieves this through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost Sunday).
Have you ever noticed how it’s impossible to get inside another person’s life, how the other person is always totally other. This is not so with God, God is Spirit and thus able to enter our bodies and provided we co-operate the Spirit then draws us deeper and deeper into God. “On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.”
But we must co-operate. He says there are some, those whom he calls “the world” that can never receive him. Jesus, you’ll get yourself in trouble speaking about secular society like that!
In other words there are conditions attached to receiving Jesus Christ – shock, horror – that’ll send a few over the edge! It troubles me when I hear religious people speak of God’s unconditional love. It indicates they know little about the spiritual life. If by unconditional they mean God’s love is always offered, always available, that’s fine, no problem there. But God’s love is of little use to us if it’s always offered, always available but always out there and remote. We need him within. But if they mean by unconditional that there are no conditions to receiving Jesus Christ, that’s nonsense. Rubbish! Of course there are conditions, otherwise everybody would know Jesus Christ!
Jesus clearly states two such conditions in today’s Gospel. Indeed the whole teaching is prefaced by the conditions.
1. If you love me – for many that means a radical reorientation of life.
2. If you love me you will keep my commandments – the experience of receiving Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is simultaneously experienced as a call to a moral standard that simply cannot be detached from the person of Jesus Christ.
“If you love me you will keep my commandments, (and then) I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate…”
A word of caution: this is not instant, it requires spiritual growth over many years.