CHRIST LEAVING THE DISCIPLES
With John 14 a change comes in. The Lord told the disciples He was going away (v. 2). This news was disturbing to them, for they enjoyed being with Him. He went on to tell them that it was better for them that He went away. After all, He was only among them, not in them. As long as He was there with them physically, He was outside them, even though He was in their midst. His longing was to enter into them and be their life.
In chapter ten He had said, “I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly” (v. 10). He came not merely to enjoy their companionship. The disciples were happy to be in His presence, but they still did not have His life in them. He could not enter into them.
How could He enter into them? He was God, but one day He became flesh. As a man He went about meeting the needs of man. His disciples were happy to be with Him. They loved Him and rejoiced that He was among them. Yet for Him this was not sufficient. As long as He was external to them, He could not be satisfied.
More than twenty years ago my family and I were living in Taiwan. One winter day I bought a huge watermelon, We were from the northern part of mainland China, where such melons were not available in the winter. In Taiwan, however, the climate was tropical, and all year round watermelons could be bought. I was happy to buy one and take it home. I put it on the dining table, and my eight children gathered around, excited to see it. Suddenly I picked it up and took it to the kitchen. The youngest one cried, “Daddy, don’t take it away! We like it.” I said to her, “Little one, if this melon stays on the table as it is, you can’t eat it. Wait just a few minutes and it will be ready for you to eat.” In the kitchen the maid cut it into slices. When it came back out, it was all ready to be eaten. In less than twenty minutes the whole melon was gone. It had entered into all my children.
Peter, James, and John, do you understand this? It is good for Me to be here with you, but how can I enter into you? I need to go to the kitchen and be cut. I need to be cut on the cross for you. I need to die for your sins. I need to die to destroy the Devil. I need to be cut that My life may be released. I must go away, but I will be back. I will not leave you orphans. After three days I will return in another form. Now I am in the flesh, but when I come back it will be in another form. I will come back in resurrection. I will return to you as the Spirit.
If you read John 14, 15, and 16, you will see that this thought is behind the Lord’s words to His disciples.
He did leave them. He died. The disciples lost Him for three sad days. On the morning of the third day, however, one of their number, a sister, saw Him at His tomb. He talked with her and sent word to His brothers that He would meet with them.
They only half believed. After all, only three days before they had seen Him crucified and then buried in a tomb. Others of their number also met and talked with Him. They did not know what to make of it all. Then on the evening of that same day they came together, keeping the doors tight shut for fear of the Jews. What they talked about is hard to imagine. Perhaps they just sat there looking at each other, wondering about the strange happenings.
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)