Jesus went to the mount of Olives.…
In one sense Jesus was very near to men, very closely connected with them. At the same time he was very far from them, separated in many ways. The Gospel of John abounds in indications of this felt difference and superiority. Yet there is much to help and cheer even in words like these: "Whither I go, ye cannot come." The truth of Jesus is the same, spoken to friends or to enemies, and everything Jesus said on the earth has something of gospel in it. If we are born again and take shape after the new creature, then we also shall be from above.
I. THE DESTINATION THAT JESUS HIMSELF ASSUREDLY WILL REACH. Jesus is on a definite journey, knows where he is going, and that he will get there. His life is not an aimless wandering. In all his goings backwards and forwards between Galilee and Judaea his face was set towards Jerusalem, because there for him the door was to open from the seen to the unseen, from the life of time to the life of eternity. His enemies speak of him as if his thoughts were running in the same direction as those of Job. When Job sat among the ashes, despoiled of his property, bereaved of his children, smitten with pain all over the body, he thought death and the grave his best friends, where the wicked would cease from troubling and the weary be at rest. But Jesus was thinking of what he would attain, not what he would escape. The heavenly state, with its security, glory, and blessedness, was not an unexpected thing to Jesus. Jesus speaks as knowing for himself that the end depends on the way. Jesus knows where he is going, for he has been there already. In the autumn of 1492 three Spanish ships are making their way over the Atlantic, in waters where ship has never been known to pass before. Christopher Columbus of Genoa commands those ships, and he is going on an enterprise of pure faith. He believes there is a land ahead, but he has never been there. At present thousands go over that same Atlantic, returning home. And so Jesus was going back whence he had come. Every step took him nearer that day when he would pray the prayer, "Glorify thou me with thine own self, with that glory which I had with thee before the world was."
II. THE DESTINATION THAT SOME MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT REACH. Most of the listeners would trouble very little about what Jesus meant. They would say, "Let him go, or let him stay; it is no great concern of ours." But if we do really believe that Jesus has gone into a state of glory, that he individually can no longer suffer pain, no longer be exposed to temptation, must it not be serious for us to reflect that possibly we cannot go where he has gone? Heaven is not to be earth over again. The mixtures and conflicts of the lower world are not to be known in the upper one. Good people have no monopoly of transit to any place on the face of the earth; but there is a state to which the evil cannot reach. A man may say, if he likes, that he will have a garden without weeds, but that will not keep the weeds out. But Jesus is the great and effectual Excluder. Beyond the veil there are divisions more intense and more manifest than any that obtain here. Jesus came amid the unions of time to make the separations of eternity.
III. THE DESTINATION THAT ALL MAY REACH. Speaking of exclusion is the strange work of Jesus. Even while he said, "Ye cannot come," at the same time he said, "Come." Any one can come who will enter in at the strait gate and tread the narrow way. Any one can come who will give the seed ground of his heart as good ground for the seed of eternal truth. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.