John: Jesus Comforts His Disciples

Read John 14:1-14

If you’ve been reading along with me, you have to appreciate the mood in the upper room has to be incredibly somber. Things were challenging up to chapter 13, but no one expected Jesus to take on the role of a servant and wash their feet, then announce one of the twelve would betray Him, and finally that Peter the brave would deny Him three times in a number of hours. The sequence of events is mind-boggling and truly depressing! Thankfully, Jesus is not only aware but takes a moment to address their unspoken thoughts.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

Just before the untimely death of Rich Mullins, he recorded a song in a little chapel where he was working on an album. With prophetic accuracy, Rich wrote lyrics based on the words of Jesus above. Hours later, Rich was checking into one of the rooms that Jesus had prepared for him. As a tribute, his band and other musician friends used the cassette recording and rendered,  “That Where I Am, There You…”

There are very few people I have known or read about that I respect at the level I appreciate this artist. I didn’t know him personally, but my wife introduced me to him when I had pretty much given up on music. She gave me a stack of CDs and said, “you’ll like this.” She, as usual, was right. It’s not the catchy lyrics, sophisticated rhythms, or amazing production that gets my attention. None of that really matters anyway. What impressed me was his heart. His heart was focused on worshipping Jesus, not the limelight, not recording contracts or anything to do with celebrity status. Rich wanted this to be the last song on a 10-song album that focused on his Lord and Savior, Jesus. He knew that this world was full of trouble and temptation. And he knew we needed the reminder.

Jesus could feel the pain in the hearts of the eleven men in the room with Him that fateful night. Judas exited moments early to finalize his betrayal. Peter is feeling the weight of the exclamation point that ended the previous sentence. They needed words of assurance. We do too.

Even though Jesus told them they can’t come with Him, these words provide great hope that they will be reunited once again. This is amazing and wonderful news! The best thing Abraham could hold onto was the promise that his ancestors would be countless. Jesus declares here that we have a place where we get to be with Him — forever!

Personally, I think there was a pause between verses 3 and 4. In my mind, I see Jesus letting the idea of preparing a place for everyone to meet with Him sink in for a moment, then He said,

You know the way to the place where I am going.John 14:4

Thomas is the only one brave enough to ask the obvious question,

Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? John 14:5

It’s simple, how can we know the way to a place that we cannot go? Sure, you said we “will follow later” (John 13:36), but that still doesn’t mean we know where we’re going.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

There’s that “if” word again, the dividing line that makes the difference in getting to be with Jesus.

And then there’s Philip. I’m completely convinced that these guys were so deeply disturbed, they’re not even thinking straight.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:8-9

Here’s the thing, Jesus didn’t kick Philip out for asking the question, though He didn’t shy away either. I think He challenged Philip to stop and remember all they had been through over that last 1,000 days or so.

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. John 14:11

Another pause. In their minds they replay the key events: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear. So many lessons from the hillside, then there was that walking on water thing. I think my mind is starting to get a clear picture of what you mean about being in the Father, though it’s still a little fuzzy. But I can’t deny the things I’ve seen that are simply not explainable except to say that I have seen them! Yes! You are the Lord!

Then Jesus goes on to assure them something even greater:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

I’m sure a lot of people have John 14:14 memorized and printed next to a photo of a new house or car, right? If you’re old enough to read this post, you’re old enough to know this isn’t a magic genie formula. What I hope you have the courage to believe is that Jesus means what He said. Anything you asked for in His name will be done. Anything.

It’s unlikely that a new car fits the definition of “in my name.” This is where spiritual maturity comes into play. As we grow in our knowledge and faith in Christ, we learn to think and act like Jesus. The growth I’m talking about is far from self-serving of selfish motivation. In fact, it’s just the opposite. When we learn to be completely selfless and Christ-focused, “in my name” is just the way we think. At least I hope so. I’m still growing, but I do believe in the promise Jesus makes His disciples is for us as well.

Lord, help me to be more like You and give me the courage to see You and the Father as one.

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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