- Sermon 22 -
Third Sunday After Easter. The Lord Refers to His Death

t. John XVI, 16-23: "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye schall see me, because I go to the Father. Them said some of his disciples among themselves, What ist this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give to you."

(March 19, 1872)

In this chapter, as I did in the previous one, I hinted to My disciples how things would be with them when I left them and they would no longer be under My visible influence and guidance.
In the fifteenth chapter of John I compared Myself to a vine and My disciples to the branches which can only bear fruit while they ar attached to the vine.
In this comparison I showed them the fate of those who will not abide in Me, and that only those are sinners who know what they must do and believe, and yet act contrary to their knowledge, whereas the ignorant are not punishable. I pointed out to them in the parable that he who believes in Me is not a servant of My law, but its voluntary observer; that he is not meant to be subjected to Me, but as a friend to follow the advice of a friend. I told them that if they wanted to follow Me and My teaching they would get into conflict with the world and that whilst I would love them, the world would overwhelm them with hatred. But I also gave them hope that when My spirit would overshadow them, spiritual pleasures would richly compensate them for the worldly pleasures that would gradually withdraw from them.
All this I had to tell My disciples in advance, for they had no idea as yet as to how and what their mission would be. They were still living too much under the influence of My personality and although they kept confessing: "We know that You were sent by God!" they were still not at all clear about My mission. They neither realized the importance of My coming nor did they suspect the manner and significance of My going home; for they were human, and so was their thinking. Therefore, I was compelled to talk to them on various occasions about My going home, and thus also this chapter of My favourite, John, deals with My preparing the disciples for the events which would soon be taking place.
I spoke to them about My going home, about My separation from them and its necessity. However, it was as quoted in this chapter: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Thus My words were puzzling the disciples and, therefore, they also could not comprehend the words: "A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father."
How could My disciples possibly have believed that I could be captured and even killed, when they had so often seen Me evade and prevent all kinds of dangers? How could they imagine that one sent by God could be put to death? All that I spoke to them about My being lifted up, My death and My return was incomprehensible to them until harsh reality convinced them how true My words had been. Only after these events had taken place, did they understand what their mission was, what I, and what the world represented.
What in those times I had frequently preached to My disciples about the Kingdom of God, the importance of My teaching and its observance, and what I had explained to them by examples, showing how he must fare who turns away from Me and My teaching, I have already preached for centuries in many languages and through a thousand different world events. I call to everyone: "Do not turn away from Me, for without Me there is no comfort and no salvation in the world!" And how I predicted My going away to My disciples, but did not take from them the hope that they would soon see Me again, thus I am now calling to you and every believer: "Do not stray from the path you have taken! For away from Me there is darkness and you will be happy when after wandering about lost for a while you once more catch sight of Me!" But woe betide those who turn away from Me completely! They walk the road of darkness, of coarse matter, where it takes lengthy processes of purification to regain what was lost and repair what had been trampled underfoot.
I told My disciples that it was within the plan of My earthly sojourn that I had to leave them. I told them in advance that in the beginning I would be leaving them only for a short while to help them get accustomed to do without My person for a longer time; but as compensation for the loss of My visible presence I promised them the comforter, or the Spirit of God.
If sometimes I call to the people: "Do not lose heart if you will not see Me for a little while!" it is to say: "My child, do not despair when there are moments in which the world and its events overwhelm you and you no longer feel My hand or hear My voice! If, for your submission, the world awards you with mockery, hatred and persecution, persevere. Soon you will be seeing, feeling and hearing Me again - recognizing Me in the language of nature, feeling Me in the control of events, and hearing Me in the gentle voice of regained peace within your heart!"
As I predicted to My disciples that they would experience bitter hours of sorrow, this applies to every believer who is more attached to Me than to the world. However, My re-entry into the severely tried heart of a person, the firm conviction he will have gained after prolonged conflicts that the sun will be shining once more through the clouds, victorious and glorious, benefiting everything around, will help him to forget all the bitter suffering and strengthen his faith and trust in Me.
My disciples' mission after My death was too serious not to train them in the utmost endurance. They had to get used to My absence to enable them to act independently.
The same school through which My disciples had to go is also now the path of everyone who wants to follow in My footsteps and those of My disciples.
I told the disciples: "The world will hate and persecute you, because you are not of the world!" And the same I must tell My present-day children; for the more they love and follow Me, the more will they be in opposition to the world and the majority of men, until through the coming events I will prepare them, too, that they may become receptive for something better.
These consequences are not only natural, they are also necessary, for it is not so simple to become a child of the Creator of all visible and invisible creation. If a child makes spiritual progress, it must keep getting into more and more conflict with the world and the ordinary people. The world's hatred keeps growing as the love for Me keeps growing. Therefore, do not be discouraged if you do not see Me for a little while; soon you will be seeing Me again.
Sometimes I have to leave you so that you may depend on your own strength; you must try out whether you ar really capable of publicly confessing unafraid that which sometimes delights you so much when My Word is read. You must face the question, how much you fear the world.
Do you think you are really as heroic as you sometimes believe you are? Look at My disciple Peter! In the Garden of Gethsemane he defended Me with the sword and soon after he denied Me. If a Peter can do wrong, you can imagine how in the moment of decision it would be with your courage. Therefore, such circumstances have to arise from time to time that may fortify you and strengthen your faith in Me. If he, who knew Me personally, disavowed Me, what can be expected of you, who have never seen Me, but only know Me from the gentle voice in your heart?!
Therefore, I have to leave you from time to time to struggle with situations and the world so that you may realize what you have attained and what is still missing.
Remember the words: "The will ist strong, but the flesh is weak!" They are important and characteristic of human nature. In a moment of enthusiasm you believe yourself capable of carrying an elephant on your shoulders, but when it comes to real action, a fly is often too heavy for you.
Therefore, diligently search your heart to see how much love and faith you possess, so that when you sometimes seem to feel My absence, you do not despair, but await with confidence the return of your guide and Father.
When you have recognized your own weaknesses, you will know how much love it needs to carry out in practice what in your emotional life appears so easy; only then will you know for sure the road that leads to Me. Then you will also know as My disciples once did - trained through My absence - how much is needed to carry out your mission as a human being and as My child in the strictest sense of the word.
This I am telling all of you as a warning, that you do not in a state of dreamy audacity believe yourselves capable of carrying burdens that are beyond you. And as a consolation, so that you may remember it when in difficult situations your heavenly Father appears to be absent, be reminded of what He once said to His disciples: "A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me." Amen.