ESV - 36 What does he mean by saying, 'You will seek me and you will not find me,' and, 'Where I am you cannot come' ?
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I think that Jesus provided the answer to this just prior to the verse cited in the question. He was saying that those to whom He was speaking would not be able to find him because (as He noted in John 7:33) He would be going (back) to the One (that is, God the Father) who had sent Him, where His listeners would not be able to immediately, physically come or follow Him. This was fulfilled by His ascension forty days after His death and resurrection (Acts 1:1-11). Although Jesus was no longer physically present on earth, He nevertheless remained (and continues to remain) among Christians spiritually, as He promised He would (Matthew 28:20), through the working and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was speaking to people who he sought to save but rejected him as the Savior, as the Son of God. I get the impression he was communicating by rejecting him, when they sought God the Father, they wouldn't find him because they had rejected the Son. Luke 9:41-44 41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
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