Forthright Magazine

I came and am going back

The Father’s will served as the Lord Jesus’ map in his every step and movement. Near the end of his ministry, he told the Twelve apostles:

I came from the Father and entered into the world, but in turn, I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. John 16.28 NET.

One author calls this movement of Jesus “the essence of faith” (; NET Bible describes the verse as a summary of the entire gospel of John. In fact, everything that happened between his coming to earth and his return to the Father represents the center of the gospel. Therefore, we have no less than four narratives from this period of divine history, all of which came to be called “gospels.”

The text itself constitutes a chiasmus: Father – world – world – Father. Perhaps it highlights the movement between Heaven and earth.

The same author cited above also stated that Jesus “draws us along in this movement of ascension”. In fact, this text echoes John 14.1-4, the two serving as a framework for chapters 14-16. These chapters are an important division in the book. Jesus primarily addresses the Twelve in this section of the gospel. See, for example, what he says about the Holy Spirit. However, taking due contextual care, we can easily apply facts and principles from here for our edification.

Faith in the coming of Jesus from the Father gives us the conditions to ask directly from God, in his name, vv. 26-27. What will we ask for? “Everything that contributes to the individual and communal life of the human being and to the communication of that life to others,” wrote the author cited above — that is, everything that contributes to the individual spiritual life, the edification of the congregation, and the fulfillment of Christ’s mission. Our prayers make the same movement as our Lord.

Holy Father, may your Kingdom come in me, in our congregation and in the hearts of all. In Christ, amen!

This article is adapted from the editor’s work in Portuguese, published a few days ago on He used it with his permission.


J. Randal Matheny
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