33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.
Now Jesus addressed His impending departure from His disciples. In verses 34 and 35 Jesus turned from what His death and resurrection meant to the Father and Son to what it meant for the disciples.
33 Little children,
Jesus assumed the role of a teacher to children. His disciples were children from His viewpoint. His disciples had a very immature understanding of the events that would occur in a few hours; neither did they comprehend its massive implications.
I shall be with you a little while longer.
This was an alert to the disciples that Jesus would not be physically present with them much longer.
You will seek Me;
The disciples might attempt to seek fellowship with Jesus in His humanity, but this would not be possible since He would die and rise again. They would no longer be able to enjoy His physical presence among them.
and as I said to the Jews,
The “Jews” in this reference refers to Jesus’ opponents, probably Jewish leaders (Jn 7:34).
‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’
The disciples would not be able to follow Jesus in His crucifixion, ascension, resurrection, and session with the Father. He would go back into the presence of the Father.
so now I say to you.
Jesus now turned to talk about the new community He had formed and what they were supposed to do after His departure from them. He was in the beginning stages of forming the church, which would officially begin in Acts 2.
Upon Jesus’ departure, He formed an entirely different economy than the nation Israel.
It is important to distinguish between Israel and the church. Israel was a nation with both nationalistic and religious laws. It was a theocratic kingdom, a national entity that represented God on earth. The church, however, does not operate on national laws; it is an organism, not an organization. It functions on principles rather than laws.