“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:18-20).
In the midst of anxiety, worry and fear (John 14:1), Jesus informed His disciples that He would not leave them like, or as, orphans. The word “orphan” (ὀρφανός; orphanos) does not simply mean a child without parents (Mark 12:40; James 1:27). It also means one who is without friends and helpers.
Jesus then says “I will come to you.” This statement is directly related to His previous statement about Jesus not leaving His disciples like orphans. It is best to interpret Jesus’ meaning here as a reference to both His bodily resurrection and the future indwelling ministry by the Holy Spirit, which occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
The disciples would see Jesus again following His death and burial (John 20:19-29). In fact, believers were the only ones who did see Jesus following His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-8). Additionally, Jesus would be with His disciples through the Spirit’s indwelling (John 16:16; Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 8:9; I John 4:13).
Because Jesus would resurrect from the dead, He was able to promise each and every disciple of His that they too would possess eternal life (Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 3:1-4). Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “In Scripture, our eternal life is tied to the resurrection of Jesus. He is the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead, guaranteeing our resurrection as well ( I Corinthians 15:20). On account of His resurrection, we live because He lives, so in John 14:18-19, Jesus was likely referring to His post resurrection appearances.”
Jesus promised that in the day of His resurrection, His disciples would understand the unity which exists not only between God the Father and God the Son, but also the union believers have in Christ and with Christ.
Pastor Burk Parsons explains that this union with Christ is one of the most neglected biblical truths within the church, yet one of the most significant.
“The believer’s union with Christ has long been a neglected doctrine in many churches, yet it is a central doctrine in Scripture. God’s Word teaches us that we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and that we are united to Christ by God’s justifying grace alone through our faith alone because of the atoning death of Christ alone ( John 15:4-7; I Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 12:1-2; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 1:4; 2:10; Philippians 3:9; I Thessalonians 4:16; I John 4:13).”
Parsons continues by explaining that, “The nature of this union is not only that we are in Christ but that He is in us (John 6:56; Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27). The theological implications of our union with Christ are astounding, and it is Christ Jesus Himself who taught us what they are. In John 15, Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5). At the root of our sanctification is our union with Christ.”
Therefore, since all believers in Christ are not only united to Christ but also to one another, let us therefore love one another as we love Christ and Christ loved, and loves, us.
Soli deo Gloria!