“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
Here Jesus seems to mildly rebuke His disciples for being grieved at His leaving them and going to the Father. “If you loved Me”, He said, “You would have rejoiced”! He was going to His “Father’s house”; to heaven; to “the glory He had with (Him) before the world was”! (17:5) Being so enveloped by this world, it was hard for the disciples to comprehend anything besides their own loss; they couldn’t see how much better for Him it would be to leave and be with His Father.
And don’t many of us today experience the same limited perspective with our own loved ones? Even though we know they are believers, and have eternal life; how often do we selfishly wish them to stay, and like Jesus’ disciples, grieve when they depart? Perhaps we should hear them echo Jesus’ words to us: “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father”! Is there truly a heaven? Is there really a God there whose glory outshines the sun, and Whose presence will feed us with gladness and joy and pleasures which are unknown here on earth? If so, then by faith we should rejoice that our loved ones have gone there!
One who was present at the death of the first Mrs. Hudson Taylor in China wrote: “I never witnessed such a scene. As dear Mrs. Taylor was breathing her last, Mr. Taylor knelt and committed her to the Lord, thanking Him for having given her and for twelve and a half years of perfect happiness together, thanking Him too for taking her to His own presence, and solemnly dedicating himself anew to His service. (Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, pp. 177-178)
As Christians, our farewells to our loved ones — as well as our outlook regarding our own departures from earth — should be more like this. As in Jesus’ case, let us rejoice — we are going to the Father!