Our Lord's Two Little Whiles
John 16:16-22
A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.…


1. The little while of vision. Negatively described; rather as an anticipation of non-vision. The words of one conscious of impending death, and the quick completion of aims; but also confident of final triumph.

(1) It is a note of attention. "Let every faculty be on the alert. Do not misinterpret the signs, or be disconcerted. Your great work just now is 'witnessing.'"(2) A placing of His earthly manifestation in its proper light. His teaching and miracles were not to go on indefinitely, as if they were ends in themselves. They were but a small portion of avast scheme, most of which had to be carried out in the unseen world. There was to be a measure, an economy in His earthly manifestation.

2. This little while of darkness.

(1) The epithet is here applied in gracious consideration and sympathy. It is only a "little" while. Graciously curtailed, graciously interpreted. Let them not sink into despair. They are ceaselessly and diligently to "look for His appearing."(2) His next manifestation must needs be consummative. He will tell them then of a finished work and triumph over sin and death. Its glory will compensate for their gloom and trials. Therefore —

(3) They are to look forward, not backward. This is the hopeful, watchful attitude of all true disciples. Our service will have to be completed, as it will have to be accounted for, when He appears. The Lord's Supper is only "until I come."

II. WHAT THEY PREPARED FOR. They are evidently related and seem to divide the entire future of Christianity in this world. They led up therefore —

1. To a grander conception of Christ and His work. To many He might be lost to view; but to them He was to be as a fixed star, nay, the Sun of a new and eternal day.

2. To a spiritual vision. As they were to look through His words and works His whole manifestation,whilst He was with them, in order to perceive its inner Divine meaning; so, when He disappeared from view, they were still to contemplate Him by faith (John 15:18-19). Have we seen the spiritual Christ? It is He alone that is risen, that liveth evermore, and worketh mightily in them that believe.

(St. John A. Frere, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: A little while, and you will not see me. Again a little while, and you will see me."

Heaven Almost in Sight
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