I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.
Up to this point in the evening Jesus has only been able to talk with His disciples “in figures of speech”. How else could He talk of the Father’s love, new dimensions of life, and mysteries of the Godhead, except in symbols and metaphors? He is speaking with men who see through a glass darkly. They can only take in so much at a time.
But Jesus promises that “the hour is coming” (Pentecost) when He will talk with them plainly, without figures of speech. He will unfold for them all that it means to share in the very life of God. He can talk with them plainly at that hour because the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth (John 16:13-14). Although Jesus will be leaving them physically, He will continue teaching through the Spirit about the Father and His love. They, and we, must listen for Him.
The disciples had seen Jesus’ intimate and unique relationship with His Father. But through Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection, the disciples, and all believers, will share in His intimacy with Father. Jesus says that we do not need Him to approach the Father for us, because we can go to Him in Jesus’ name. The Holy Spirit prompts us to cry out boldly to the Father even as Jesus does: “Abba, Daddy Father” (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). We can approach the Father just as Jesus does, and share in Jesus’ relationship with Him. The Father loves us just as He loves His only Son, Jesus. He holds us close to His heart.
This is the why the veil of the temple in Jerusalem was torn asunder when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51). Through His atoning death the way is now open to God, and we have at-one-ment with the Father. The Apostle Paul writes to the Roman Christians about Jesus’ opening the way to the Father:
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
So near, so very near to God
Nearer I could not be
For in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God,
I could not dearer be;
The love wherewith He loves His Son,
Such is His love to me.
– Lord Thomas Catesby Paget
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?