In this morning’s message I made much of the fact that the same words of Jesus get repeated verbatim in a very short span of verses in the text of John 7:34-36.
34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”
You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.
That’s one of the few places in the gospels where this phenomenon happens and for good reason. He uses such a literary device for emphasis given the importance of his purpose. Not to get this, not to understand the answer to the questions where did He come from – the Father in heaven who sent him, and where did He go – back to the Father in heaven – not to get that, not to embrace it, believe it, that He came to die for you and take the punishment of your sins on His head is to consign you to death and everlasting punishment in hell for those sins. Do not be overly hasty in the conclusions you draw in answer to these all-important questions, was the gist of my exhortation.
I also drew attention to the way the people speculated about the answer to the second question they raised in v. 35. Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? That’s more of John’s irony. The dispersion was the term for the Jews who didn’t settle in Palestine, but went throughout the empire among the Greeks, the Gentiles, the non-Jews. In one sense that, as we saw, is not what He meant, but in another way it points to the future. They unwittingly prophesied here that Jesus was, to use the words of Luke 2:32 – a light of revelation to the Gentiles.
Upon His resurrection and commission to His disciples and His ascension to the Father’s right hand He would send His Holy Spirit upon the apostles and they would go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even the uttermost parts of the earth with the answers to the questions where did he come from and where did He go? He came from God and went back to God. Repent, believe these things, and live.