Jesus was not going to abandon his disciples (or us). He told them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” If we are Jesus’ followers, he will be with us forever, live in us, and help us to understand. Jesus is making quite a promise here. It’s not that we just need to do what he says and we’ll be ok, Jesus will actually live with us and partner with us. We will be united with God and doing his work, in concert with him. What a great way to live!
The way we do the work of Jesus is to live with him in the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” Jesus says that if we love him, he will send the Holy Spirit to help us. There will be a lot of confusion and hardship coming for Jesus’ disciples, but if they are following Jesus’ instructions, the Holy Spirit will make sense of it and give them the strength and understanding to navigate all of it. The Holy Spirit will remind them of Jesus’ teaching and the cloud blocking their understanding will be lifted. When the Holy Spirit comes, they will finally comprehend what Jesus had been teaching them all along. Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit also applies to us. If we don’t understand what God is doing, we need to follow Jesus and look for answers in Jesus’ teachings and look to the Spirit to make things clear to us. Jesus will not leave us in the dark.
When Jesus’ disciples still didn’t understand what he was telling them, he reiterated that he was God manifested to them so they could know him and believe in him. Philip wanted to know God, and Jesus said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” Jesus was offering the life they saw him live as well as the miracles that he did as evidence that he was God. We know who Jesus is, by what he did. Jesus proceeded to tell his disciples that if they did believe in him, they would do what he did. Jesus will work in and through us if we believe and follow him. In addition, he said that if we are doing his work, he will do whatever we ask for. If Jesus is working through us, we are empowered by him to do his work. We are partners with God.
When Jesus told the disciples that they knew where he was going and how to get there, Thomas objected, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” He was a little bit confused and frustrated. How could he get back to Jesus? But Jesus took this opportunity to make it totally clear. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” He was saying, if you want to get to God, come to me. Jesus reiterated that he and God are one and the same, in the flesh. If you see Jesus, you see God. Jesus is how you know who God is and get to know him. It’s pretty clear – come to Jesus and you come to God.
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” This is good advice for us too. No matter how hard things get, we can count on Jesus being with us. He’s got it under control. We don’t see him now, but his aim is to have us with him eternally. Jesus said, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Everything he went through was so that we could be with him and bask in his presence. And we can bask in him now, just contemplate who he is and everything we’ve learned about him so far. That was really Jesus’ ultimate goal, to be with us forever.
After Chapter 13 ended with Jesus telling his disciples that he was leaving them, Chapter 14 starts with reassuring words from Jesus “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” He’s telling them to stay the course. Things will get rough, but keep believing and things will get better. Ultimately, they will join him in heaven and enjoy his presence again. Jesus just wants to be with them, eternally, and he will get them there.
Jesus said, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.” This was an unusual discussion, and telling. After Jesus talked so much about following and believing in him, he told Peter that he would deny him. That’s a little confusing. Jesus spent night and day with these people and then proclaimed that one of them would deny him. It seemed like the end of the road for this movement. A group of people groomed to follow Jesus’ every word would fail in their first real test. If they didn’t have the fortitude to follow him, how was this group going to carry on? Still, Jesus told them that they would follow him later. So, the whole plan was still on. It will be interesting to see how this worked out.
Before Jesus goes away, he wants to prepare his disciples for what’s coming. He’s going away and they can’t come with him. He won’t be with them anymore. They’ll be on their own, but he still has a mission for them to fulfill. How will they do it without him? Jesus tells them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus told them that they would represent him to the world. This is a start; he tells them how they should represent him, to follow his example by loving each other just like he loved them. Then people would notice.
During the Passover feast, Satan entered Judas. Judas left to betray Jesus to the rulers. This troubled Jesus, but he let Judas go. Jesus knew what was coming and it bothered him, but his plan would be completed soon. Then he told the disciples, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” It was time for Jesus to be glorified. We might think of that as being crowned king or set up as a religious authority for people to go to. But that’s not what it meant. It meant that he was about to die and put an end to his life on earth. What would that accomplish? How would Jesus be glorified? What would that mean for his followers? How would they carry on without him? The disciples were really worried about that.
When Jesus was eating the Passover feast with his disciples, he decided to make a gesture to show them how much he loved them. He washed all of their feet. This seems like an odd gesture to us today. What did this mean? In those days, people wore sandals and were walking on dusty roads, and foot washing was a courtesy provided by a host to his guests to clean their feet. The thing was that foot washing was provided by a servant. Jesus was demonstrating that he was their servant, even though he was their master and teacher, and also the Son of God. Wow!
Then Jesus explained it to them. He said, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. … Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Jesus washed their feet as an example for them. He was telling them that the way he related to them, though he was their master, was to serve them. This was the model he gave them on how to treat one another. They were to emulate Jesus and the sacrificial service he gave them. Jesus was saying that they would be his messengers. He spent a lot of time providing signs and directing people to the truth. He didn’t want that to stop when he died, so he made the disciples his emissaries, to spread the news after he was gone. They would be servants just like he was, and lead people to God.
Posted in Follow God
Tagged faith, guide