WEEK FOUR, DAY TWO, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK FOUR THEME: SERVING
DAY TWO THEME: STRENGTH TO SERVE
SCRIPTURE: JOHN 14:1-4 (CEB)
“‘Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I’m going.’
Thomas asked, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I have spoken to you I don’t speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me does his works. Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves.
I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.'”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: By now Jesus is spending much time trying to help the disciples prepare for what is to come. Soon he will no longer walk with them in the day to day physically. The Holy Spirit will come and empower them in even stronger ways to continue the work that they have begun together, but their dependence on Jesus in physical form will end, and Jesus wants to assure them in every way so that they will continue onward.
His instructions are to trust and not be troubled, assuring them that there will always be room in the Father’s house for each and every one of his disciples. There is a sense that as Jesus is talking to them an unrest is building that causes Thomas to blurt out his confusion, “…we DON’T know where you are going…” I think that Thomas wants to know and wants to believe every word, but everything is not taking root in his heart. It is not making sense…has he missed something? He is anxious and uncertain and confused.
As Jesus is seeking to address Thomas’ question and comfort him, Philip chimes in, “…show us the Father…that will be enough.” I almost feel Jesus’ heart break here. The fact that they have spent so much time together and Philip doesn’t feel he knows the Father! Jesus is clear that as they have seen Jesus, they have seen the Father. They are indeed one in the same. Everything that they have witnessed points to the truth of this unity… Jesus even says, “The Father who dwells in me does his works….at least believe on account of the works themselves…” It is almost as if Jesus is saying, haven’t you been paying attention… how do you think we have had all these experiences without the Father’s presence and works!
We have to admit that the Triune God is a hard concept to grasp on the onset. God is Creator, Son and Spirit. How can God walk the Earth as the Son and still be God the Father/Creator “who art in Heaven”? How does the Holy Spirit function?
Three times in this scripture alone, Jesus directs his disciples to TRUST. They have seen the mighty works and miracles that have taken place, they have experiences of their own abilities to reach others for God’s Kingdom. They have changed their very lives to become disciples, and now they question?
TRUST – only five little letters that make all the difference in our relationship with God. Without trust, we don’t know for sure that there is eternity. Without trust, we pray in vain. Without trust, hope is nonexistent.
Everything that Jesus did exemplified his trust in God. He dared to be different and challenge the religious piety and hypocricity of the day. He dared to feed 5000 with five loaves and two fish, he dared to proclaim healing both in person and through the spoken word.
Jesus is Emanuel, God with us. As he anticipates his physical departure from his disciples, he wants to empower them to keep on keeping on. He knows that the work of the Father will go to great lengths and depths through the ongoing ministry of these twelve/eleven/twelve. He knows the countless lives that will come to know him as Savior and Lord through their work.
And now he wants them to know it too! He wants them to embrace this call upon their lives and run with the Spirit bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. He is excited for all that they will continue to experience as God’s ambassadors and he looks forward to the time that they will join him in eternity in the place that he will prepare.
When in doubt, he will have left them the perfect example of how to go and live in God. His Spirit will dwell in them and comfort them and guide them. This is a bittersweet time, but a powerful time for them to take the torch and move on in what God has begun through Jesus right before their very eyes! This conversation, though complex will be invaluable to them in the days ahead when the ‘aha’ of it all hits and they feel the power to be like Jesus.
This same conversation between Jesus and his disciples is invaluable to us today. As we feel a nudge from God and think of our mission and the God-given passions that we hold dear, we also lack the understanding of how to make a difference and be the voice of Christ in the midst of a world of misunderstanding and hardened hearts. It seems we try so hard to build a “right and wrong” society without wanting to admit that there are just things we don’t understand. We swear absolutes when we haven’t tried to empathize with our brother or sister. We are not willing to “wear their shoes” to gain understanding of their lives. We abandon forgiveness when we see our understanding of sin in the life of another. How in the world will we find our way?
Jesus is clear…. “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”. We must allow Jesus to be the way and let down all other roadblocks, trusting that God is still God and that Jesus, His Son provides us the example of how to live a life surrendered to God and that the Holy Spirit provides the ways and means to walk in His truth pointing others to the way of life eternal.
Let us TRUST God with our whole hearts, and continue strong in the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!