Monday: Believe Also In Me
Read John 14:1, Exodus 14:31, 1 Samuel 12:18, 2 Chronicles 20:20
Before Jesus, God’s people were often challenged not just to believe in God, but to believe in whatever “agent” God was working through at that time. Moses, Samuel, and the prophets all required high trust. If the people were going to follow God, then they would have to honor and follow his chosen leaders. Jesus is the ultimate agent of God. He is God in the flesh. We don’t need any more human agents.
This makes following God very tangible for us. We can’t say that we love God and trust God and at the same time disobey Jesus. The result of trusting Jesus is for our good. Believing in him is a first step to having the troubles of our hearts taken away. Are you troubled in heart? Believe in God by living out your faith in Jesus.
Tuesday: No one comes to the Father except through me
Read John 14:1-6, John 3:16, 4:42, 8:12, 10:16, 17:20-21
Jesus is often depicted in art as having wide-open, welcoming arms. This is absolutely true in some ways. Jesus welcomes all kinds of people. All cultures, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, etc… are welcome in the Kingdom that Jesus initiated. Especially when we consider that he was a first century Jew, his heart of inclusion is remarkable. (Divine!)
At the same time, Jesus is religiously exclusive. There are not many paths to the truth and the Kingdom. In fact, He is the only path. Anyone who comes to his open arms for life, salvation, and hope must abandon their very lives and follow him. There is no other way. How can one person be so inclusive and exclusive at the same time? Well, his arms are wide open, but they are nailed to the cross. He can demand that we give up our lives because he gave up his. And he can welcome every person who comes to him because he died for all.
We can follow his example of being completely inclusive as we invite people to give their lives to Jesus.
Wednesday: Show Us
Read John 14:8-11, Exodus 33-34
Philip’s request to see God is not unlike that of Moses. Moses spent 40 days on the mountain receiving the Law. At the end of his time, he and Joshua heard yelling in the camp below and came down to discover that the people where worshiping a golden calf. Moses goes back up the mountain and begs for God’s presence to remain with him and the people. He knows that without God’s presence, his leadership and the people of Israel are a lost cause. So he demands something spectacular of God, and God delivers! “Show me your glory.” God puts Moses in a safe place and passes by, showing Moses his back or possibly the trail he left behind because no one can see God and live.
Philip and the disciples are in a similar situation. Jesus is saying that he will no longer be present with them. So Philip makes a valid request, in effect saying, “Show us God like how Moses got to see God and that will be enough for us too.” Jesus must have shook his head as he explained that they’ve been looking at God this whole time. This leads Jesus to begin to explain the presence of the Holy Spirit that is coming to take his place.
Seeing God and having the presence of God in our lives is indispensible. Are you making God’s presence a constant in your life?
Thursday: In my name
Read John 14:12-14, Exodus 5:23, Deuteronomy 18:5, 7, 2 Kings 2:24
We often end our prayers “in Jesus’ name.” But do you really know what that means? Well, it’s more than a name! To call on or refer to someone’s name meant to conjure up their essence, their being, the things that they represented and their honor.
It seems like for many, ending prayers by invoking Jesus’ name is either an empty ritual or a superstition. If we don’t say, “in Jesus’ name” does our prayer even count? It’s neither of those things. Praying in Jesus’ name is saying that we want our will to line up with his. If there’s anything we prayed that doesn’t line up, then strike it from the record. It’s like saying, “I just prayed all of these things but the most important thing is that I prayed in Jesus’ name, in line with who he is and with his will. It’s not some magic ritual, it’s for our hearts. Let’s put the heart back into it when we pray and watch God listen to every prayer in Jesus’ name!
Friday: The Helper
Read John 14:15-31
Jesus introduces his disciples to the coming Holy Spirit. He uses the Greek word parakletos. This can be translated a few ways. In the ESV it is helper. It could also mean advocate, almost like a defendant from an accuser (Satan) in a court of law. It can also mean intercessor. This paints a picture of the Spirit as a go-between for us and God. All of these are great descriptions of the indwelling Spirit of God that Jesus promised and fulfilled in his death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost. These are more than just events that we read about surrounding the Easter season. These events, which John is moving us toward, are the way that we got the Holy Spirit. If it took this much effort from God to give us the Spirit, we would do well to engage in the Spirit more!
The next time you need help, feel accused, or feel distant from God, turn to the indwelling parakeltos and you’ll find a helper, and advocate and an intercessor to meet your needs.
Saturday: Rise, let us go from here
Read John 14:31, John 10:22-23, 13:30
John has used brief statements throughout his gospel that are deeper than they seem. As Jesus’ ministry began to come to a close John writes, “It was winter, and Jesus was walking…in the colonnade of Solomon.” This might be a reference to the tough time that John’s churches were facing, just as the Maccabean Jews had faced persecution in the winter. After Judas leaves to betray Jesus, John simply and painfully writes, “And it was night.” It was the beginning of the darkness winning as Jesus would be ushered toward the cross.
Here, the disciples are troubled and asking questions because their hearts are not settled. Jesus answers them perfectly, but they can’t hear him in their distress. Eventually he ends this part of the conversation saying, “Rise, let us go from here.” I believe that they got up and took an after dinner walk through the vineyard at the Mount of Olives, prompting the next part of this discourse which talks about vines and branches and fruit. But I also believe that they needed to move on. Sometimes, we get all the answers but we just don’t like them. Is there something in your life that you’ve been troubled by? Maybe it’s time to rise and go from there to where God wants to lead you next. Maybe it will be a fruitful place. You’ll never know unless you rise and go!