15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
Jesus knows us well. He is one of us, after all, since taking up to himself our human nature. He knows our fears and our weaknesses. Since those heady days of post-resurrection glory, Jesus has not made it a regular practice to show up as he did for Saul on the road to Damascus or the Emmaus disciples who had stopped for an evening meal. As Peter told us, even though we do not see him, we love him (I Peter 1:8). But we would very much like to see him.
Jesus speaks to what might feel like a hole in our experience today. We want to see Jesus. When two Greeks came up to the disciple Philip one day, he brought them to Andrew, and they went to Jesus (John 12:20-21). I wish it worked that way today. It would be good to lay eyes on him.
But Jesus exhorts me today not to think of this facet of my faith as a problem. Indeed, He tells me that he has come to me and he lives in me. It is a presence better than sight. The disciples saw Jesus but they Gospels are unanimous in telling us that the disciples almost never understood what he was saying or truly grasped who he is. They saw him but were mostly blind. Jesus has come to me differently, it is true, but he has come to me better than it was for Peter, James, and John. He has come in Spirit.
I know a man who was an orphan, but he was adopted by a couple who loved him. He said that he used to feel like a second-rate member of the family until his father one day took him aside and said, “Son, there is a funny thing about adoption. It never happens by accident. It always takes a great deal of work. It is expensive. You are here because I chose you and wanted you to be here.” He said this changed the way he saw himself from that day forward. He belonged. Jesus has not left us as orphans. He has chosen us and come to occupy our lives.