28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
Jesus continued His consolation of the apostles by helping them to understand how to put priority on things of greatest value in a time of crisis.
28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.
Jesus had said on several occasions already that He was “going away” (Jn 14:2,3,12). He was to go back to the Father after His ascension. His death on the cross was no ending point for the one who is the resurrection and the life.
If [and you don’t] you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’
In the Greek the “if” here is contrary to the fact; that is, the apostles had not fully loved Jesus yet. They did not fully appreciate the idea that Jesus would be exalted, His decision to return to the Father.
“Going to the Father” refers to Jesus’ ascension back to glory. The apostles should have rejoiced in this for Jesus’ sake. It was important that these men get their thoughts off their problems and onto the Father’s plan for Jesus to return to His presence. They needed to understand that God was in control and place their trust in that fact.
If the apostles had truly loved Jesus, they would have “rejoiced” or been glad for His return to the Father. Since He was going to be with the Father, they would ultimately go as well. The contrast between the present state of Jesus with the apostles in His incarnation and His return to the Father was inestimable. He was to return from His humiliation on earth to a perfect state of exaltation. People who truly loved Him should have rejoiced over that.
Failure to trust Jesus’ promises is a failure to love Him fully.
Many Christians think that they love Jesus, but they do not love Him in the fullest sense. Even the apostles thought that they loved Jesus, but He said, “And you don’t.”
We have our agenda, a desire for prominence and recognition. This kind of selfishness can reach the point of hatred for others who do not honor us the way we think they should. Jesus was the very opposite; He did what He did out of love for the Father.