Thursday, July 2, 2020

John 14 - Part 2

Read John 14

If you love me, do what I told you to do.  Jesus had just given them a huge command.  As much as I have loved you so you must love one another.  Love so much that love becomes your identity.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the disciples.  I’ll paraphrase what Jesus put forth to them and maybe their thoughts.

Here’s foot washing as my example of service.  OK, that one got me out of my comfort zone.

One of you is going to betray me.  I’m ready for another miracle or parable or even getting my feet washed again, but not that.  That had to be gut wrenching.

OBTW—Peter, you are going to wimp out here shortly and deny me.  Not Peter.  Peter may not have been the sharpest tool in the shed but he was always gung ho.  If he wimps out, what about the rest of us.

I know that you never really got the hang of loving your neighbor as much as you love yourselves, but now I want you to love each other as much as I have loved you. That’s going from playing Legion Baseball to the Majors.

Just to make things interesting, I’m not going to be with you for a while.  We have followed you for three years.  What will we do?  For the past three years we woke up and wondered where Jesus was leading us today.  None of us even own a day planner.

Jesus told his followers and friends that he was not orphaning them.  They were not to be left without divine care. The challenges might seem insurmountable, but the disciples would overcome the insurmountable and more.

Do you remember when Jesus told Peter that what he was doing would not make sense to him then, but later it would?

What came later?  The Holy Spirit, that’s what.  God’s own Spirit would walk with and beside the disciples and in a short while would dwell within them.

Jesus noted that this was a win-win.  He would finish the work that his Father sent him to do and then be with his Father once more.

Jesus would leave and the Spirit would come.  It would be a great trade.  The Spirit of God himself, who was present at the creation of the world would dwell within those who sought God and worked to fulfill the words that Jesus gave them.

This Spirit that was to come doesn’t fit into one word.  The Greek is pneuma.  That is the breath of God himself.  This is God’s Holy Spirit.
It is the same Spirit that was at the creation of the world or ruach as the Hebrew people would come to call it. 

Jesus used another name, paraklétos.  We might say Advocate, Comforter, or Helper, but in all these names we have God’s Spirit and we are not orphans. 

God is with us.

God is within us.

This is to paraphrase Jesus into the modern vernacular.

OBTW—all that life experience that you have been soaking up but made very little sense to you is about to come into focus.  The Spirit will bring into remembrance what you have been taught, observed, and heard but did not understand.

The Spirit will help you have a right-side up perspective on what lies ahead of you.  It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be evident that you are doing my will.

OBTW—receive my peace.  Mine is way better than what the world is selling.  And I will say this again, do not let your hearts be troubled.  Do not be afraid.

If you were in the previous service, much of this will sound familiar.
Jesus coupled two statements that we should receive together.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and trust in God and also in me.

So then…

Our hearts are not troubled because the right people are going to win the elections.  No.

Our hearts are not troubled because we have a three-year supply of toilet paper.  That's not it.

Our hearts are not troubled because the stock market never really got that bad and the oil and gas industry is slowly making a comeback.  Nope.

Our hearts are not troubled because we might get another stimulus check.  Money for nothing and your chicks for free…  Not at all.

Our hearts are not troubled because we might have a football season this fall.  Close but no cigar.


Our hearts are not troubled because we trust in God.

Our hearts are not troubled because we are anxious for nothing.  Everything gets turned over to God in prayer accompanied with thanksgiving.

Our hearts are not troubled because our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need.  He doesn’t give us a rock when we need bread.  He gives good gifts and my heart will not be troubled.

I’m jumping ahead a couple chapters.  Jesus said that we would have trouble in the world.  He didn’t say it was a possibility.  He said that we would have trouble in the world.

That was not the end of the thought.  He said, take heart that he had overcome the world.  Take courage!  The world is not in charge.

The psalmist counsels us to simply be still.  That’s not just, stop talking.  That’s be still in everything that we are so we can realize that God is real and he is with us and he loves us and he will not forsake us. In our stillness we hear his I Am.

So, do not let your hearts be troubled.  Know that God is for real and he is for us.  Believe in him.  We believe in God through our Master and Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus.

Now we can get into those times when it seems like we are left alone.  Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them.  He wouldn’t tell them this if it wasn’t so.

He told his disciples that they should be happy for him.  Jesus was about to complete his mission and return to his Father. 

But the disciples were not going to be left on their own.  They would not be orphaned.  The Spirit would come.

We are not left on our own.  We are not orphaned.  We may be waiting with excitement and anticipation for Jesus to come again, but he has not left us alone.

The Spirit is with us and within us.  We know the Spirit as Helper, Counselor, and Advocate.

Jesus told his disciples that darkness was coming.  We know that darkness has already come in our time, but we are neither helpless nor hopeless for the Spirit of the living God is with us and within us.

Yes, it’s dark out there, but we have not been orphaned.  We have not been left in the darkness alone.  Yes, I said it.  We are not alone in the dark.  God is with us.

Cast aside self-pity.

Cast aside doubt.

Live as one who is fully owned, fully obedient, and fully ready to respond to the Spirit which lives within us.

We have not been orphaned. Thanks be to God!


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