“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.'”-John 13:33
Jesus continued preparing his disciples for the days ahead. He told the men, “In this I am glorified by my Father.” In other words, what is happening is a big deal. In fact, the next few days would be the biggest deal of all time. Jesus would willingly go to his brutal torture, cruel death, and a descent into hell. What was his hell? Separation from the Father.
He knew he had to go alone, but he also knew the confusion that awaited his disciples. He used a term of endearment, calling them “little children.” He recognized the childlike innocence in his disciples. He knew that they were going to be afraid and confused and that they would long for comfort, his comfort. If you have ever seen the image of a young boy, trying to be brave as his daddy goes off to war, I think you have the right image. Jesus was saying to each of them, “Buddy, I have to go away. You cannot come, but I’ll be back soon.”
Jesus knows that our deepest longing is to be with him. He knows that we can be scared and lonely. He knows that humanity was separated from him, which is why he went to the cross, where his friends could not come along, so that he might make a way for us to be with him eternally.
Jesus, Fears are often treated by well-meaning Christians as indicating a lack of faith. But you know me, Jesus. You know that without you, I am afraid and confused, even when I try to act brave. Help me to bring my childlike fears to you, as you embrace me tightly in your love. Amen.