THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12
SCRIPTURE: John 14:1-15
AUTHOR: Jeremy Witt
Have you ever eaten at Texas de Brazil? It is one of my favorite places to eat because they give you a flood of meat options. You can get overwhelmed at all the options there are, and they just keep coming at you. This chapter is this with spiritual meat. There is so much here in chapter 14 and also 15 I do not know if I can cover it adequately in our space, but let’s dig in.
John 14 is a continuation of the conversation from Luke 13:31 after Judas left. It is called by theologians as the “Farewell Discourse.” This is common in Judaism in an attempt to comfort close friends and family. Jesus is trying to prepare them for what it is to come, but it is more than their brains can fathom. Jesus speaks of His death which they could not accept, He speaks of the coming Holy Spirit which is unknown to them, and He speaks of His departure and then His return. It was more than they could take at the moment, but after the Resurrection, those words brought comfort and hope. As we read, the disciples ask questions (some spoken and some unspoken). Peter asked the first question in John 13:36. Thomas asked the second in 14:5, and Philip asked the next one in John 14:8, and Judas (not Iscariot) asked the final question in John 14:22. Needless to say, they had questions about what Jesus was saying.
“Let not your heart be troubled.” That is one of those things that is easier said than done, isn’t it! Jesus’ heart was troubled when Lazarus died in 11:33 and as He faced the cross in 12:27 and even upon Judas’ betrayal in 13:21 we see that Jesus’ heart was troubled. So how did Jesus do this? He focused upon the Father. The Greek here has two meanings included. Imperative which is a command and the indicative as to what you already doing. So we can read this as such. You already believe in God, then believe in God. You already believe in Me so believe or trust in Me. It is both a command but also an encouragement to keep doing what you are doing. The encouragement would be from Jesus by them knowing that His heart has been troubled, but He made it through by trusting in the Father. The command comes in those moments when we doubt or question. “Then just do what I am telling you to do!” I might borrow the phrase from that one shoe company and say, “Just do it even if you have questions.”
14:2-4 is Jesus referring to His ascension back to the Father, but also the preparations for the disciples who believed in Him. Thomas’ question comes at the perfect time to help us to get what Jesus was saying. If the disciples got confused, then surely others will get confused. Jesus makes it simple. If you want to get to God, go through Me. Our world is confused. Man has confused one another. When we throw the lies/temptations/confusion from Satan into the mix, we get this idea of “all ways lead to God.” God who knows all, sees all, made it simple for a people who need simple. One way leads to Him, and that is only through Jesus. The problem is that some of the lies of Satan, the misinterpretations of man and their “religion” that claim to be the only way to make this issue more complex than God intended. God’s design was for humanity to be in the right relationship with Him was through faith and belief in Jesus Christ alone. This simple way should help our hearts not to be troubled.
But our sinful, finite brains cannot comprehend it well. So Jesus further explains and Philip’s question showed that they still were not getting it. Jesus made it simple again. Read verses 9-15. Now in Jeremy’s translation: “Philip, if you have seen Me, you have seen God. Don’t you believe in Me and what you have seen Me do? Just believe in me, Philip and do the things that I have taught you to do. If you do that and if you love me, follow what I have taught you.” Maybe you had a stubborn son or daughter like I have. As a parent, we have to speak slowly at times, sit them down, and make it simple. “Do what I told you. You don’t have to understand it all, just trust me and do what I have told you and showed you.” I hope you only have to do this with your son or daughter once, but since my kids have my DNA, they have tended to need this “simple” talk more than once. Just like the Father has had to do with me multiple times.