Reader: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”
Response: “Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
Scripture: John 14:1-12 (In the words of Jesus . . .)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
When we back up and put this into context, we find this conversation between Jesus and his disciples was in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday before his crucifixion the next day. There is so much in this dialogue, books have been written on a single verse! We’ll make only a few observations. The tensions are high in the current environment the disciples find themselves. Judas has just left the room to betray Jesus. The religious leaders are plotting to arrest Jesus that night and the plan to kill him is underway. Jesus told the eleven that he was going to be murdered shortly. Yet, his words were, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” How was he so calm? He was focused not on the immediate, but on entering into his glory bringing glory to God in the process. He was not overwhelmed with the present situation, but looked to the bigger picture. On a different note, this translation leaves out the word “mansions” for the phrase “prepare a place for you.” The former gives the idea of an abundance of living accomodations around a central courtyard of sorts. Jesus is preparing a place, not only for the disciples, but for you and me. It’s almost like, when your room is ready, I’ll come get you. On a personal note, I remember an older couple in their 80’s in one of my choirs over the years. For years and years they slept together in their bed. She had become ill and one morning when he woke up, he discovered she had passed away in the night in her sleep right beside him. As I was preaching her funeral, I referred to this passage. I reminded Harold that at some point during the night Jesus came and got Anna and took her to the place he had prepared for her to be with him. He found that truth comforting, literally played out beside him in the night. Finally, I want to make one theological observation. In response to Philip’s request, Jesus answered, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. . . I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” How am I to work through this? Jesus’ relationship with his Father is such that his words are the Father’s words. The works that emanate from Jesus are actually the Father’s works playing out via his Son. Human beings are made in God’s image but the Son is an exact image (icon) of the Father. Notice that Jesus never said, “I am the Father.” They are not the same. He does say that he and the Father are one in essence and undivided in nature while being distinct persons in the Godhead. They each have different functions as one Being. In the midst of great stress and turmoil, Jesus walked with his Father who indwelt him keeping his eyes on the final destination, being in the presence of God eternally. He is our only path to the Father. Rest in him today and bring glory to God! Keep your eyes on the final resting place being prepared by the Savior, a place in the very presence of God.
Music: “A City Called Heaven” Salt Lake Vocal Artists
Our Father in heaven, sometimes we get so lost in the stressed immediacy of circumstances, we let the current moments bring fear, even panic. God, we forget about you, maybe because we haven’t actually spent time with you and view you more as a “come and go” helper to make our life better. Forgive us for such a shallow faith. You are more than a moral teacher or a “911” to life. You are my God. You, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father were always intertwined as One so that you never lose perspective. Grant that we would live so enveloped by you that you would truly be our life. And in our life may we do works that bring glory to God. This we pray through you, Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp