As we prepare our hearts for this most incredible weekend for the Christian faith, I can think of no better commentary to prepare us for an incredible Easter service at New Life CityChurch than something Leigh-Ann wrote yesterday.
In John 13 and 14, we read about Jesus and the disciples enjoying the Passover feast and what would become Jesus’ “Last Supper” with his friends. Jesus did some pretty crazy things, including washing their feet, pointing out which friend wasn’t a true friend at all, and telling one of them, while this friend claimed to be his ultimate BFF, that later that night, self-claimed-BFF would deny Jesus as well!
Jesus’ friends are confused, frustrated and hurt. They don’t understand what is happening- at all. They want to be close to Him. They want to understand. They want to remain faithful to Him. So one bravely demands “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied!” Jesus looks at the brave one and says “Seriously? I’ve been with you this whole time and you didn’t see God the Father?!”
How did they miss seeing God?
Now before I adjust my saddle, I need to climb down off my high horse here. I am a disciple of Christ, and how often do I miss seeing God in my life? How often do I see only what my eyes want to see and not what He wants me to see? How often do I doubt Him, His leading, His love, His promises? How often do I look at His plan and say “God, can you just show up here?”
Jesus goes on and gives them guidance, that most likely will be internalized long after He’s gone- “If you love me, obey my commandments, and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, Who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Another one of Jesus’ disciples at this point asks Jesus “Why are you only telling us this? Why just this room? Why not tell the world?” So Jesus gives them more hope (notice He’s giving HOPE while facing an overwhelming devastation to His very life) and tells them “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
That must have been a relief! Have you ever heard news or instructions that you had to remember, but you weren’t quite prepared for them so you didn’t write them all down? I know that especially when something traumatic is happening, as was here (they were losing a loved one), my brain just can’t focus. All details I want to remember blurs under stress. I can imagine the relief, when Jesus lets them know that an Advocate will be with them to remind them of everything Jesus has said to them.
“My representative will remind you of everything I have told you.” Phew! Relief!
Jesus goes on and explains why He told them all these things before any of it happened: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.”
So that you will believe.
So that YOU will believe.
So that you will BELIEVE.
Jesus left them with the best gift- peace of mind and heart like nothing they’d ever experienced! If they just remembered what He said and BELIEVED what Jesus said.
Jesus closes the conversation: “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.”
Notice that one part: “He has NO power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me.” Why? “So that the world will know that I love the Father.”
Beautiful one, that is our calling as well. We don’t obey out of duty but out of LOVE for our Father. We don’t obey, because it’s easy but out of LOVE for our Father.
Rest in that peace that passes all understanding during Good Friday and Passover.