John 14:19-20

“Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”-John 14:19-20

So often, our vision is limited. We look upon the world through cataracted eyes, blind to the stunning realities of the Kingdom of God. When we look around, all we see is brokenness, sin, and evil. We think to ourselves, “If only Jesus came back!”

Jesus’s disciples wrestled with the reality of a fallen world too. Jesus had told them that he was going away. When your leader leaves, it can be unsettling. I imagine this would be especially true when you believe your leader is the promised Messiah, the one who had come to set all things right.

Jesus told them, “yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.” I would have had a million questions. “Jesus, when you say the world won’t see you anymore, are you going on vacation? Are you going to die? How will that work? If the world won’t be able to see you, how exactly will I be able to see you?”

But Jesus lived in full awareness of the reality of the Spirit. For Jesus, there was not only a palpable, material world capable of being explored, touched, felt, and sensed, he was aware that there was a much more significant world, the spiritual world. He was telling these men that, like him, they were a part of that world. Christ’s Spirit would be in them, and they would be in him. As Christians, the reality that we are in Christ and Christ is in us is our core identity.

Many of us never give any serious thought to the reality of our union with Christ. Ask yourself, “How would I live differently if I believed that the actual Jesus—all of him, by his Spirit—dwelled in me? How would my interactions change? What does it mean that I am in him?” We live because he does.

Jesus, it is so easy for me to live my day to day life as though the Holy Spirit is not real. I confess the reality of the Spirit with my mouth, but I do not live as though I believe it. Remind me afresh of your indwelling Spirit. Amen.

John 14:10-11

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”-John 14:10-11

This must have been a startling statement for the disciples to hear. Remember, for observant Jews, God was transcendent. He had revealed himself to some: Moses, Daniel, and Isaiah, for example, but even with those chosen few, there was no talk of mutual indwelling. Jesus’s statement was truly astounding. Not only did he say that God was in him, but that he was in God.

What did Jesus’s statement mean for the disciples? What does it mean for you and me? Jesus was implying that because of this mutual indwelling, he spoke with the authority of the Father. His teachings were not merely a man’s words, even if he was the wisest man ever. His claim was that he spoke the very words of God.  

Jesus also talked about being in the Father. Although the Bible never used the word Trinity, it is implied in many places. Jesus told the disciples, and us, that the Father, Son, and Spirit are present within one another. There is an old Greek word—perichoresis—that describes this Trinitarian relationship. It literally means “to dance around” (peri=around; choreo=dance). The image of dancing helps us to grasp the flow of the Father, Son, and Spirit into and around one another in true oneness.

We can trust the words of Jesus because they flow from the Trinity. We can trust the works of the Son because they are the works of God himself.

Jesus, my limited mind cannot grasp the full magnificence and wonder of your words and works. You dwell and dance with the Father and the Spirit, distinct, but completely one. Expand my mind to know your Trinitarian intimacy. Amen. 

John 14:3-4

“And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be. And you know the way to where I am going.”-John 14:3-4

Jesus was leaving, but he was also coming back. His disciples could not clearly see God’s plan for redemption; they had only heard that he was leaving. For those of us who grew up in the West in the last 100 years, we don’t have a great sense of someone going on ahead to prepare a place, but generations past knew. A father would leave his wife and children behind while he went on to establish a job and a home. Although the immediate loss was difficult and painful, the future home offered so much more promise. 

Yet don’t miss one detail here. Jesus did not say to them “I will come again and take you to my home,” even though he was telling them about his Father’s house. Rather, he told them, “I will take you to myself.” Jesus knew that their deepest longing was for him, not stuff.

If we are honest with ourselves, many of us like things—nice cars, large libraries, or beautiful homes—but material possessions do not fulfill our deepest need. We are tempted to chase after second thing blessings, but when we place our hope in those things, we are left wanting more. C.S. Lewis said, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first & we lose both first and second things” (2007, p. 111).

What we all most deeply desire is relationship: First, union with Christ, and second, though no less important, relationship with others, which is why in the Father’s house, the value is not in the stuff, but the people who are there.

Jesus, I am so often out of touch with my deepest desire, which is relationship with you. I chase after many other things, hoping for fulfillment, but stuff never satisfies. You never promised stuff; you promised yourself. Help me to rest in the reality of my union with you. Amen.