Meditation: Do you allow any troubles to rob you of God's gift of peace? As much as we try to avoid it, we inevitably encounter challenges and trials that can shake our confidence and our trust in God. Jesus knew that his disciples would be put to the test when their Master was taken from them during his suffering and passion - his arrest, trial, and rejection by the leaders of his own people, and crucifixion by the Romans. Jesus encouraged his disciples to put their faith and hope in God the Father and also in himself.
When adversity or trouble comes your way, does it make you lose hope or give into fear and despair, or does it press you closer to the Lord Jesus and to the strength and help he offers you? When the people of Israel became discouraged and grew weary during their 40 years in the wilderness, the Lord assured them that he would personally bring them safely into the promised land.
"It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:8).This land of promise was a sign that prefigured and pointed to the true heavenly homeland which God offers to all who accept his gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, through his victory on the cross and his resurrection, has opened the way for each one of us to live in peace and friendship with our heavenly Father.
A place for you in my Father's house
During Jesus' last supper meal with his apostles, he spoke in plain words to them about his approaching departure. He tells them that he is returning to his Father to prepare a place for them in the Father's house. Jesus not only goes to secure for his disciples a place of refuge, peace, and security, he secures for them the best the Father has to offer - intimate communion, friendship, and joy with the Father at his table (Luke 12:37, Matthew 8:11) and place of rest and refreshment.
Jesus promised his disciples - and each one of us - that he would return again to personally bring us to the Father's house. Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he wishes to lead you now and in the future? And do you trust him to bring you safely to your home with the Father in his kingdom? Paul the Apostle reminds us that nothing in this world can compare with the glory of feasting with the Father in his house. "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18). Is your hope securely placed in Jesus and his promise to raise you up in glory with him?
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
The disciples were surprised that Jesus was going to his Father's house and would return to take them with him. And they were even more surprised when Jesus said he expected them to know the way to the Father's house. Jesus' answer to there question, "show us the way", was both a reminder that his disciples should trust their Master and Teacher to show them the way, and a challenge for them to recognize that Jesus had intimate knowledge of God and where God came from. Jesus made a statement that invoked the very name which God had revealed to Moses, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14), and he made three claims which only God could make. He stated unequivocally to his disciples: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6)
Jesus proclaims: I am the Way (John 14:6). He alone knows the way to the Father because he has been with the Father from the beginning - before time and creation ever existed. The Lord Jesus gives us more than a road map and guide book. He personally is the way to the Father's kingdom, and we cannot miss it if we follow him. He accompanies us on our daily journey and watches over us as the good shepherd who leads and sustains us each and every step of the way. Are you in step with the Lord and do you trust in his guiding hand for your life?
Jesus proclaims that he is the Truth (John 14:6). Many can say, "I have taught you the truth." Only Jesus can say, I am the Truth. He posseses in himself the fulness of truth. Jesus claims to be one with the Father and to speak the truth which proceeds from the Father. Jesus promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would learn the truth and the truth would set them free" (John 8:31). The truth which Jesus proclaims has power to set us free from ignorance, deception, and sin. The words which Jesus speaks are true because there is no lie or falsehood in him. Moral truth requires more than mere words or ideas because the person who speaks them must be true - true in thought, speech, deed, example, and action. Jesus embodies the truth in his person.
Jesus proclaims that he is the Life (John 14:6). He not only shows us the path of life (Psalm 16:11); he gives the kind of life which only God can give - abundant life that lasts forever. Is there any trouble, fear, or distracton that keeps you from the perfect peace and joy of a life surrendered to Jesus Christ?
Knowing God personally
One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father, is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God - a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God - a God who loves us completely, unconditionally, and perfectly for our good. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven... give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:9). Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?
Doing the works that Jesus did
Jesus told his disciples that they would do the same works which he had done - and even greater works! While Jesus was physically present to his disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem, he was subject to the physical limitations of time, space, and circumstances. Now as the Risen Savior who is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the Lord Jesus makes his presence and power known to every place on earth through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit who lives and works through all the members of the body of Christ on earth.
Theresa of Avila (1515-1582) wrote: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Wherever we go the Lord Jesus wants us to bring the good news and blessings of his kingdom to as many people as we can. The Lord Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. He wants us to bring the flavor of his goodness and holiness into every area of society we are engaged in. Christ calls us the light of the world. He wants us to make him known and loved by helping people to see the radiance of his love and truth and the beauty of his kingdom. That is why Jesus continues to commission his followers throughout every age to “make disciples of all nations”(John 17:18, Matthew 28:19).
"Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may know and glorify him more fully."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/