How do you say goodbye? It depends, I suppose, on the relationship—what it has grown to and what it will become. For Jesus, preparing to leave the close society of his disciples seems to have been a long process. Almost from the beginning he gently, or sometimes in exasperation, explained that the course his life was following would lead to profound changes in their lives. So he began saying goodbye early.
When families get together to say farewell to someone moving away, or to celebrate the last few days of someone’s single life before marriage, they often rummage around and get out old photographs. These pictures stimulate an extended round of reminiscence—where holidays were spent, the worst car journey, Aunt So-and-So’s funeral. Before an impending change, people tend to reflect on how they got to where they are. They are preparing to say “Goodbye.”