“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” – John 14:25-31
At the sight of a horrific automobile accident some will run to those in need. Others will turn away in distress and revulsion. When a wayward nephew is arrested for drug possession for the third time, some will not only let him rot in jail, but refuse to open their hearts to him. The cost of love is more than some can bear to pay. Some harden their hearts rather than feel the emotions, pains, and distress that come from seeing someone they love follow a path of destruction and ruin. Still others cannot look beyond their own horizons to see the needs of others; all they see are their own losses and inconveniences. Some are paralyzed with fear.
Jesus knew his followers would not be able to express their love to Jesus fully in the face of the events that were soon to unfold. He realized that their sense of loss at his death would cloud their understanding of its meaning, and he told them so. They would see only their loss, perhaps also the horror of Jesus’ pain, maybe the agony of Jesus’ mother. But their horizons were too small; they wouldn’t see how Jesus’ death would benefit them at all.
Jesus, however, has it all covered. He knows what lies before him. He promises the gift of the Holy Spirit who will anchor their souls with hope, and bring the great “aha!” of all that Jesus did and said sharply into focus and clearly to their minds. He tells them what is to happen before it does so that they are prepared, and so that they will believe.
Jesus loves his father. His horizons are not limited to these twelve, or even the 5000 he fed in the Galilean countryside. His love for his father and for all of us moved him to lift up his eyes and approach the coming vortex of anger, self-righteousness, unbelief, ridicule, shame, and bitter hatred, with the eyes of faith and a heart of love for the Father and for all people. That’s why he did it. Now we know. Now we are called to widen the horizons of our love, leaving behind troubled hearts, embracing the peace of Christ, and rejoicing in his redeeming love.