“Read More” to pursue answers in the Gospel of John.
Draw me into your holy Presence, that I might know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ in this world, and the world to come. Amen.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
This is one of the few chapters where the first verse seems to captures the whole thing:
First, don’t worry that I’m going away:
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
I guess after following him for three years, it was pretty much assumed they’d follow him anywhere — if they could. Jesus is trying to reassure them that they can, though Thomas (as usual 🙂 has his doubts:
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Intriguingly, Jesus focuses more on who than how:
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?
Kudos to Philip for wanting the right thing, even if he didn’t have the clue to realize he already had it.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
So, if I’m following this, the key to following Jesus is simply to realize that he and the Father in each other, as evidenced by the work that he does. But wait, there’s more:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].
Wow. If we think his works were impressive, imagine what we could do! But, there’s a catch:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Or, is that a promise?
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Y’know, I’ve never really thought much about the Spirit as a source of comfort. Perhaps because I wanted Jesus to solve (or better yet, prevent!) my problems, not comfort me in the midst of them. Hmm.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Comforting words indeed — or at least they would be, if not for the ominous overtones.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Y’know, that’s actually a really good question. I wonder if he asked it out of confusion, or out of humility: why would they be so privileged?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
In the end, it really does come down to what we love — and more importantly, who we love. Fortunately, we don’t have to figure this all out on our own:
These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
And that’s a good thing, despite the heavy price:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Y’know, it is probably impossible for me to imagine just how much they loved him. How must it have felt to meet a man like Jesus for the very first time, under circumstances like that? We at least meet him, usually, in the context of a community of people who already know the whole story, who have enjoyed the fruits of what Jesus has to offer. The hopes and dreams, the joy and excitement following Jesus must’ve brought.
And the terror they must’ve felt to hear that it was all going to end:
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
God, I can barely even aspire to love you as much as the disciples did. Yet, you chided them for not loving you enough, by focusing on their own short-term distress rather than your long-term glory — and their sure hope Father, show me You, through Jesus and his works. Comfort me by your Spirit, that I may dare to dream again. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
About the Title:
Today’s title is a play on “Housesitting”, one of those phenomena that didn’t seem to exist until (in the early ’90s?) someone invented a name for it.