“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This upper room dialogue has become very disturbing for the disciples. They are hearing in Jesus’ words that things are changing, and perhaps panic is beginning to creep in. As Jesus explains what he is going away to do, he affirms that the disciples have not just walked with Jesus but learned how to continue to walk with him.
- When have you felt your relationship to Jesus changing? Did something happen that instigated this change?
- What questions come to mind for you when you experience or anticipate disruption?
- What practices do you have in place to remind you that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?
Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when circumstances and experiences cause our relationships with you and others to change, and the ways that we relate are not familiar anymore. Help us to remember the ways that you have met us in your faithfulness in the past and trust that you will continue to guide us in the unknown of the future. And today, give us grateful hearts that you can use to love those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 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; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
The disciples seem to want to look past Jesus to see His Father, to somehow circumvent Jesus to find the way, the truth and the life. But Jesus reminds that he and his Father are one and to see Jesus is to see the Father. When we believe that and live into that we will access the same power and authority that Jesus did on earth as he continues to do what we ask.
- What have you come to understand about the unseen God through what you know about Jesus?
- “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?” How does Jesus’ question to Philip make you feel?
- What are you asking Jesus to do in his name?
Lord Jesus, when we know you – your ways, your truth, your life – we know the Father. Help us to have a hunger to know you more so that our lives reflect who you are, and so that we do the work that you have called us to do. In Your name we ask this, Amen.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. “
Jesus invites us to a life of giving and receiving out of what he has done for us and in the power of who he has given us. His spirit within us, helping us to see things the way God sees them and living out the presence of Christ in all we do.
- When you think of keeping the commandments of Christ, what comes to mind?
- How does the Spirit of Christ reflect in your understanding of the world and your interactions with it?
- Where do you want to see the Spirit work in your life today?
Gracious Lord, thank you for your Spirit that empowers us to live into all that you have commanded us. May we love you with our whole hearts and see you for who you really are. Remind us that we are not here for ourselves but for the sake of others, and help us to reflect your loving presence to those around us. In Your name, Amen.
18 “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
What a great promise to the disciples that Jesus will never leave them but will be present to them through his spirit. This brings us great hope as well, as we trust in the promise that he will not abandon us. In keeping his commandment to love, we encounter Christ in new and life-giving ways.
- When have you felt orphaned or alone? How was Jesus a comfort to you?
- Do you know someone who might feel orphaned right now? How can you fulfill the commandment to love on another in a way that will reflect the presence of Christ to them?
- How does your understanding of who God is impact the way you see your neighbors?
Gracious Lord, thank you for your promise to never abandon us. Help us to see you as you reveal yourself to us so that our confidence in your abiding presence will give us the freedom to live out your commandment to our neighbors without fear. In Your name, Amen.
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
There is mystery in God’s revelation to us through the spirit, as Jesus explains to his disciples. As we faithfully keep his words, we will also experience the presence of God – Father, Son through the Spirit – in our lives, quickening our hearts and our minds. We can live and move in the world knowing we are under the watchful, loving gaze of the Trinity.
- How comfortable are you with the mystery of God living with you?
- What does it mean to you to have God at home in you?
- How does God’s presence impact you in what you do each day and how you do it?
Gracious God, it is incredible to grasp that the Creator and Sustainer of the world desires to be present within us and in relationship with us. Help us to trust your words even when we don’t understand and to live as bearers of your presence in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.