Today's reading is John 14, the beginning of what's commonly called the Upper Room Discourse, chapters 14-17. In these chapters, more than any other place in the Bible, we see the heart of Jesus. He knows within the next hours he will be nailed to the Cross, thus fulfilling God's purpose for his Incarnation. Therefore, he gives his final thoughts and adjurations to his faithful 11 (minus Judas, who has left to betray him by this time). Here are some of his teachings in John 14 that really struck me as I read this chapter this morning:
1. We LET our hearts be troubled. We choose fear and anxiety. The evil one plants these fears in our hearts all day long. Yet we can choose to dwell on them and be fearful or trust in Jesus, trust in God (vs 1). Today, choose faith! Believe that he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). This total trust is what brings the rest of faith against fear.
2. Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare mansions/rooms for us. It's a promise! We have a resurrection body that is perfect. We have a resurrection home that is glorious. If it weren't so, he wouldn't have told us in vss 2,3. He will come to get us, either in death or in the 2nd Coming. This mess here is not our home!
3. In one of the most powerful verses in all the Bible, vs 6, Jesus claims eternal exclusivity. He is THE (not "a"), but the way, truth and life. He is the only way to the Father (vs 6). For me, this exclusive claim is not prideful or arrogant but simply the natural claim of the Cross. Either we go to heaven by our works or grace. Either we can do/earn our salvation or it has to be done/earned for us. Every other world's religion says "do", and gives people a laundry list of what has to be done to earn eternal life. Only Christianity says, "We can't do enough. We have a foul disease within us called sin that keeps us from doing what we should." It's one or the other: grace or works...do or done. It can't be both. I believe by grace thru faith that Jesus died on the Cross for my sin. Only by this death am I allowed entrance into eternity. That's the meaning of vs 6.
4. Vs 12ff: for those who seek Jesus with all their hearts, and because the Holy Spirit lives within them, we'll be able to do "greater things than Jesus." That includes the continued work of miracles he does in and thru us. But it also includes the "greater thing" of salvation, bringing people to eternity that could only happen after the Cross and Resurrection. There are so many things we can "ask in his name," according to his power, and see answers. Our listless prayers are an offense to a holy God.
5. Vs 15: If we love Jesus, we'll obey what he commanded us to do. Love and obedience are inseparable. My love for my wife Marilynn is inextricably connected to my desire to do what she wants and needs me to do as her husband, and vice versa. A disobedient follower of Jesus is an oxymoron.
6. Vs 20: Jesus lives IN us. Think about that for...a decade! Amazing!
7. Jesus gives us peace, "not as the world gives" (vs 27). The world's idea of peace is the absence of conflict. Jesus' peace is an inward peace, an inner gift. It doesn't promise we'll never have conflict. It promises his peace amidst all conflicts! The storms still come to followers of Jesus. But we can sleep in them with him in the back of the boat because we know he is the Lord over all storms.
8. Vs 30: "The prince of this world," as Jesus calls Satan, is readying himself to take Jesus' life. "He has no power over me," Jesus said. We need to remember this. Though the prince of darkness prowls around looking for people to destroy, he cannot destroy us because Jesus lives in us. Yes, he is the prince of this world. But Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords over all eternity. He is worthy of our praise, obedience and lives.
Love Jesus today. Trust him. Obey him. Pray in his name. Glorify him in all you do.
He is worthy of all our praise.