Today's Gospel captures another intimate teaching moment in Jesus' Farewell Discourse. One thing that particularly jumps out at me is when Jesus says "I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be."
When we read the Bible, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what applies to the immediate audience of the speaker only, versus what applies to subsequent readers of the account. Christians believe the Gospels and other canonical writings were inspired by the Holy Spirit and have been faithfully transmitted and preserved for the next generation of believers. If this is true, then there is a reason the Holy Spirit willed these things to be passed down to us. It could simply be to increase our knowledge of the Lord Jesus and what His final moments were like with the disciples. It could be that there is contained within the words what we would consider a timeless teaching, such as found in the Sermon on the Mount. Scriptural passages often present a multi-faceted jewel by which the light of divine teaching is refracted in various ways.
With this in mind, how should we understand John 14:3, when Jesus says "I will come back again and take you to myself..." Does the 'you' refer to just the eleven disciples? Does it refer to believers today?
I think what Jesus says to the disciples in the Farewell Discourse fits more with teachings elsewhere, such as the famous sermons given to larger audiences. What Jesus says, He intends for us to hear just as we were there in front of Him.
He has prepared a place for us and will, in one way or another, come back and take us to Him. Christians have always confessed eager anticipation of the Lord Jesus' return. We also eagerly await the transformation of our earthly bodies and the remaking of the cosmos. It is difficult to be particularly dogmatic about the specific 'how', and even more so the 'when', of Jesus bringing us to Him. We do know for certain that He is the way, that by following Him and the teachings of His Church we will be guided home to the Father by the gift of the Spirit.
May these words comfort us today and each day forward until He takes us to Himself.
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