This is a continuation of the conversation started in the previous chapter, interrupted by the prophetic word over Peter’s life (v.38), and initiated by Peter’s questions in v.36 and v.37. It’s developed through the questions of Thomas (14:5); Philip (v.8) and Judas (v.22).
It’s hardly surprising that the disciples are somewhat troubled and confused by the news of the impending departure of their friend and mentor. What is going to happen to them? I guess their reasoning is, ‘It feels a lot more secure for us to be coming along with you, to wherever you are going, than to stay here without you’.
The apostle Paul himself echoes this thought to the church in Philippi: ‘I am torn between staying with you and going to be with the Lord which is better by far!’ (Philippians 1:23). It’s not an unreasonable thought, even if it’s a somewhat self-interested one. Indeed, it’s a Biblical principle enshrined by Moses: if your presence does not accompany us, then let us not go up from here (Exodus 33:15).
Jesus, as is often the case, turns the tables on the disciples. Their perspective is all wrong. They don’t have to ‘go’ anywhere (except to the ends of the earth!), but they do have to allow Him to come. His destination is the Father’s presence. But, they have already seen the Father’s presence in Jesus, they have heard his voice here and they have seen the Father do great things through Jesus now. Now it will be their turn to host the Father’s presence.
Jesus will ask the Father and the Spirit will come to them: the same Spirit who is in Jesus, the same Spirit who will raise Jesus from the dead, the same Counsellor who enabled the Son to hear the Father, the same power, the same love. Just as the Son is in the Father, so we can be ‘in’ Jesus and therefore ‘in’ the Father’s presence. Jesus is the way into this life. But the million-dollar question is: will we allow the Counsellor into our life?
An extraordinary thought: even today, the Father wants to come and establish his home with you (v.23). He wants to move in. Lock, stock and barrel. Will you welcome him in or turn the key and lock him out?
And your answer is? Welcome your Father in to the home of your life and show him around. Ask Him for his advice: what does He really like? Does he have any suggestions for improvement?