25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Jesus understands how overwhelmed his disciples are as they try to absorb all that he has taught them and what he is saying in the present. He assures them in the midst of their dismay and confusion that the Holy Spirit with come and reteach and remind them and to “help them take seriously” (Bruner, The Gospel of John) the command to believe and to love.
- What troubles your heart and causes you fear? How do you respond to these feelings?
- How does it feel to trust that the Holy Spirit is our means of peace even in a time of fragility and chaos?
- How do you reflect the peace of Christ in the midst of uncertainty?
Gracious Lord, thank you for the presence of your spirit in our lives to bring to mind the things you have taught us. Thank you that your desire for us is peace that comes from you and is sure in the midst of uncertainty. Help us to bring our troubled hearts to you and receive your peace for ourselves and the world. In Your name, Amen.
“ 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.”
As Jesus prepares the disciples for his departure, he wants them to see what they cannot see – Jesus returning to his Father for the salvation of the human race. This would require the eyes to see what other don’t. Likewise, while it may look like evil overcomes good in the crucifixion, Spirit-inspired eyes see that Jesus is fulfilling what he came to do.
- What do you see God doing that may not be apparent to others who don’t know Jesus?
- How does the peace of Christ inspire you to live differently in light of what you see?
- How can you live out what you see God doing and be his agent of peace in your context?
Gracious Lord, thank you that you are in the midst of all that is happening. Help us to see things as you do and trust you for good. As we trust you, give us courage to be your agents of peace where we are at, keeping our eyes on you as we follow you into what is sometimes the unknown. In your name, Amen.
31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.
This verse is the liminal space between Jesus’ earthly ministry and his journey to the cross. Doing what the Father commands demonstrates his love to the world, but it also means moving out of the safety of the upper room to the garden where he will be found and killed by his opponents who don’t understand the love of God in Jesus.
- Are you on the threshold of something new? What is Jesus inviting you to as you follow him?
- How does your life reflect the love of God?
- What fears or uncertainties are you invited to lay before God today so that you might serve him wholeheartedly?
Gracious Jesus, thank you for the example that you have set for us of being obedient to God that your love might be evident to the world. As you invite us to rise and follow you into the unknown and sometimes vulnerable next step, give us courage that is seated in our dependence on you. In Your name, Amen.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus reminds the disciples that the fruitfulness of their lives is sourced in him as the vine. He speaks to all the disciples, reminding them that they are united by their connection to Him. In an age where so much can divide us, it is a good reminder of our unity in Christ as the source of what we do and who we are in the world.
- What practices are a part of your life to stay connected to the vine?
- Are there connections to others that you have withdrawn from that need to be restored in Christ?
- What does living in your context, connected to Christ, look like for you?
Gracious God, there are so many reasons for us to be divided during this time. Help us to look to you and listen for your voice, and find our unity in you, so that our lives may reflect a humble dependency on you for our fruitfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
This passage starts off with some unsettling words that can lead us to self-doubt and fear. But in vs. 6 Jesus isn’t addressing his followers. In verse 7, he returns to talking to them and about them, inviting them to let his words and love seep in so that who they are and what they do is a reflection of him and brings glory to God. This relationship is one of generosity, love, and joy, much needed in our communities.
- As one who is abiding in Christ, what are you asking for?
- What does it look like to bear fruit during this time?
- How are you experiencing the joy of Christ? Is it enough for you?
Gracious Jesus, thank you for your assurance to your followers, faulty though they may be, that they can find a place of belonging and guidance in you. Thank you for the hope that your promises give to us as well. Keep us connected to you and look to you for our joy as we follow after you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.