(Inspired by John 14:7-31)
At this Passover meal, instead of joy, hope, and gladness, Jesus’s disciples were completely crushed. Their Master had just told them that this very night Rock would deny three times that he even knew Jesus and that all the rest of them would forsake Him. When Jesus saw the devastating sorrow that this news caused His followers, the Lord’s calm response was, “Don’t worry about it. You only need to trust in the Father and Me.” Essentially Jesus had just confessed their sins for them before they had even committed them, then He indicated that He and the Father had a plan in place to take care of it all.
Knowing that His closest friends were about to turn their backs on Him, Jesus didn’t urge them to ‘be strong and resist temptation’ or coach them how to not commit the sin. Instead the Lord told them that their biggest concern was to trust in God and in Him. He and the Father would handle everything else, including their failure.
In response to the confused looks on their faces, Jesus said, “The reason you don’t understand is because you don’t really know what the Father and I are capable of. If you knew Me, you would know My Father also. What’s about to happen will reveal the Father to you like never before, so from this point on, you do know the Father and have seen Him.”
“Lord,” Philip spoke up, “all we need is for You to show us the Father.”
Several of the others nodded in agreement.
“How can you say that, Philip?” Jesus answered with hurt in His voice, “Don’t you know Me? We’ve been together for such a long time, and you still don’t know Me?
“Listen, all of you. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? All those times you heard Me teach, it wasn’t My words. They were the Father’s that He gave Me to say. You were hearing the Father speaking. And all those times you saw Me do miracles, you were watching the Father work.
“My friends, there’s not much time left. You must believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. But if that’s too much for you to accept right now, then believe because of the miracles you saw Me do. Greater faith will come later.
“I’m telling you the truth—the absolute truth. The person who believes in Me will do the same works that I do. And because I’m going to the Father, my faithful followers will do even greater works.” A few of the disciples began to smile at this news.
“How will we do the great works, Lord?” Matthew asked eagerly.
“Whatever you ask for in My name,* in my nature, as I would ask, I will do for you.”
“You will?” Thomas asked, sharing Matthew’s excitement.
“Yes,” the Lord answered, “of course I will. Asking in My name, in My nature, means you will be seeking My heart, My will, and My desires, then asking for them. I will be excited to grant those requests because the Father will be glorified in the Son. I will do anything you ask for in this way.”
“So you want us to pray for what You want,” Andrew clarified.
“When you seek My will and keep My words,” Jesus answered, “that’s how you show your love for Me.”
“I’m not sure I know how to do that, Lord,” John said honestly.
“Remember that I said you need to trust in Me?” Jesus answered. “Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. When I get to the Father, I’m going to ask Him to send you another Helper, and He will be with you forever.”
“A helper?” Little James** asked. “Who’s that?”
“I’m sending to you the Spirit of truth,” Jesus returned, “but He’s only coming to you. The world can’t receive Him. Their hearts are so full of lies and deceit that they can’t recognize or understand the truth that He is. But you will know Him because He will be in you and will always be with you. You see, I’m not leaving you as orphans. I’m sending My Spirit to you.”
“Lord, this is so confusing,” Thomas said. “Can you tell us what’s going on?”
“I can tell you this,” the Teacher returned. “In just a little while, the world will not see Me anymore. They will think I’m gone for good. But you WILL see Me!” Jesus gave a big smile when He said these last words.
“And when you see Me, remember this—because I live, you will live also! When that day comes, you will no longer doubt. You will know that I am in my Father, you are in Me, and I am in you.
“The person who knows My will and pursues it, making it his will and purpose in life, is the person who loves Me. And the person who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I will also love that person and reveal Myself to him.”
Judas, not the traitor, asked with concern, “Lord, what’s happened? Why are You revealing Yourself to us and not to the world?”
“Anyone who chooses to love Me will keep My word; and the Father and I will love that person enough to come and make Our home with them. We will be intimately close to them forever. But do you remember I said that My words are really the Father’s? The person who doesn’t love Me is not interested in My words. They could care less about the Father or Me. We will only be revealing Ourselves to those who truly love Us.
Jesus could tell by the looks on all of their faces that His followers wanted to ask Him a lot more questions, so He said, “I’ve told you all these things while I’m still with you, and I know there’s a lot you don’t understand, but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, is coming from the Father. The Spirit is like Me, and He will teach you everything you need to know. He will even help you remember all that I said to you. I don’t want you to worry about any of this. And don’t be afraid. I will take care of it all.”
“But why do you have to leave us, Lord?” John asked sadly. “We love You!”
“It will be alright,” the Teacher returned. “I am going away, but I will come back to you.”
Looking around, Jesus could tell that they were not comforted by those words. “If you really loved Me, you would be happy that I’m going to the Father because the Father is greater than I am. The reason I told you all of this ahead of time is so that, when it happens, you will believe. I want your faith to grow.”
“So what else is going to happen?” John asked again.
“The only other thing that I will tell you is that our enemy, the one who rules this evil world, is coming, but he’s of no concern to Me. Everything the Father has told Me to do, I’m going to do, and that is what will show the world that I truly love the Father.”
Looking around the large upper room, Jesus stood up and announced, “Come on. Let’s leave here.”
By Alan W. Harris
(* The Greek word for “name” is onoma and it means “name, the nature of or character of a person.” To pray in Jesus’s name means to pray as He would, to pray what He wants and according to His desires and purposes.)
(* *James the Less.)