|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:16-22 It is good to consider how near our seasons of grace are to an end, that we may be quickened to improve them. But the sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those of a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their sight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence. Sorrow is coming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen; the believer is an heir to joy which no one can take away. Where now is the joy of the murderers of our Lord, and the sorrow of his friends?
Verses 16-24. - (c) The sorrow turned into joy. In these verses he approaches the final farewell, in which the whole body of the disciples are introduced as inwardly or among themselves perturbed by the special difficulty of the words. Before the Spirit can do all this, a separation must be experienced. Verse 16. - A little while. A phrase repeated seven times in this brief passage, emphatically encouraging his own disciples to rise above the limitations of time, and enjoy the habits of eternity. Ye behold me no more. The first puzzle of this utterance lies in this - that (John 14:19) he had told them that, though the world would see him no more, they would behold him in the power of the Spirit, and that they would moreover have adequate preparation for such spiritual beholding in the resurrection; yet now he says, "Ye behold me no more." True, he has associated this phrase already, in Ver. 10, with the conviction of the world touching true righteousness and his "going to the Father," so that henceforth he would be hidden in God; but now he increases the perplexity by adding, And again, a little while, and ye shall see me. The commentators differ greatly as to the reference, but (with Hengstenberg, Weiss, Stier, Westcott, Ebrard, Ewald) the most obvious explanation is that he is referring to the resurrection, which in itself would be in part a glorification of Christ, and which, from its entire method of manifestation to them, would prove a preparation for the spiritual sense of his continual presence. This was perfected at Pentecost, and will be completed when he shall come again in his glory.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A little while and ye shall not see me,.... Meaning, that he should be quickly taken from them by death. And in a very little time after this, having put up a prayer for them, recorded in the next chapter, he went into the garden, where he was met by Judas with his band of men, who laid hold on him, bound him, and led him first to Annas, then to Caiaphas, and from him to Pilate, when all the disciples forsook him and fled, and saw him no more in this mortal state, except Peter and John. He took his trial, was soon condemned, and crucified, and laid in the dark tomb, and silent grave, where, for a while, he was out of sight.
And again, a little while and ye shall see me; referring either to his rising again the third day from his death, as was prophesied of, Hosea 6:2; and was typified by Jonah's lying three days and three nights in the whale's belly, when he appeared to, and was seen by his disciples, to their great joy; or else to the short time in which he was to be, and was seen by them; namely, forty days between his resurrection and ascension; a longer stay it was not necessary he should make, for he had other work to do, for himself and them:
because I go to the Father; to give an account of the work he had finished on earth; to carry in his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; to present himself to his Father on behalf of his people; to appear in the presence of God for them; to be their advocate, plead their cause, and make intercession for them, and take possession of heaven in their name; to take his place at the right hand of God in their nature; to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16-22. 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—The joy of the world at their not seeing Him seems to show that His removal from them by death was what He meant; and in that case, their joy at again seeing Him points to their transport at His reappearance amongst them on His Resurrection, when they could no longer doubt His identity. At the same time the sorrow of the widowed Church in the absence of her Lord in the heavens, and her transport at His personal return, are certainly here expressed.
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