What Jesus Said, What Jesus Did.


Simply Trust…

I can only imagine the amount of difficulty that Jesus must have stumbled across with the disciples as He shared the words in John 14:1-14 with them. These words must have confused, been difficult to hear, and even more difficult to comprehend. There is just no way to understand what Jesus was saying.

He says He loves them all. He tells them one will betray, the other will deny. He tells them He has to go somewhere they are not invited to attend. Hard words in the confusion of the moment.

We have the same feelings when the messages we receive get tossed. We think God is a great and gracious God, but that comes sorely to the test when our prayers don’t get answered in the way we expected. If they even get answered. We struggle with the moment when it just doesn’t add up. I get where the disciples must have felt. I have been bedside many times with folks who were sick, and we prayed, but the results seemed less optimistic than we all hoped.

To all of this, Jesus is there to assure, even reassure us since He has already told us that He is with us each and every step of “the Way.” These words form the nickname for the early church, “The Way” which was code for being a follower of Jesus. Obviously, He was the bringer of salvation, the one and only way to find God and have that abundant life Jesus keeps talking about.

This side of heaven, we have a tough time having all the answers to all the questions we might have. I think even if we got those answers, it would force us to get even more questions that would need to be answered. Perhaps in the midst of the uncertainty, the unanswered prayer, the confusion and lack of clarity in any or all of our situations, we can understand this much-Jesus is there with and for us.

We cannot let the issues of any given moment overshadow what Jesus has done for us. He’s not a machine we go to and punch a button and walk away with what we ordered. We need to trust in His Word, His promise, His actions, and His love. Those are the things the disciples were a lot closer to than we are, but they still are the things that define our relationship with Jesus, and in turn, with the Father who is in heaven. We are blessed in Jesus, and we pray the Holy Spirit gives us the grace to face each day in complete confidence.

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?” Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”  “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

Doubt vs Easter

A quick read of any or all of the four Gospels lead us to an understanding that people were having a real go of things once the news of Easter and the Resurrection had surfaced.  All of a sudden, that which everyone felt would have been the normal progression of things, totally changed.
The women that shared that initial revelations with the disciples were called delirious in the original Greek.  Not just enthusiastic, but described as just plain crazy.
All of these stories must have been spinning in the minds of the two who were on the road to Emmaus.  Wow, can you believe all of this?????  It is to that mental mindset that Jesus engages with them as they walk.
There must have been some clarity in the words that they shared as when it was time to go their separate ways, they wanted Jesus to stay with them for the night. There are lots of elements to the story, but the best comes when Jesus breaks bread with them and their eyes are opened.  Later the disciples struggle with all that has happened as well, and so Jesus clears the air.
Perhaps we need to realize that faith is believing in some thing.  Doubt is not exactly the opposite of faith.  It is a mental thing that locks up the believing process and so we have difficulty just believing.  Our doubts block open acceptance.  We struggle because instead of accepting things openly with our heart, we have to run it past our heads where it ultimately slows down!
Jesus makes it plain for all who would believe.  I told you this was going to happen, now it did happen, and I am back as I said I would be.  Now the message needs to go out to the entire world, and it would be up to them to get that task completed.  They would not have to face that task alone, for they are reminded that Jesus would be sending them divine help in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Now those who struggle with doubt can simply have their fears set aside when the Holy Spirit clarifies the message of repentance and salvation.  Doubt has no part now!

We Can All Doubt

It must have been a wild night that first Easter!  I’m sure that by then the disciples were so confused and afraid that the only thing they could do is get to someplace safe and hide, just to let their brains catch up with all that had just happened.
Into this environment Jesus comes and greets them with peace.  Just showing up as He did in the midst of them must have been startling, to be sure.  Imagine all that you would be feeling at the moment.  Your fear, your broken heart from the weekend, your sense of loss, and now as you gather together, Jesus instantly appears.
Now imagine having to tell your experiences to someone who wasn’t there!  That’s where Thomas comes in, simply not believing anything anyone said.  Would you?  I doubt I would.  The disciples gleefully said “we have seen the Lord” and I could only imagine Thomas’ reaction.  Probably shook his head at the disciples and uttered his long famous words, “unless I see…”
Let’s not throw Thomas “under the bus.”  Realize that Jesus came to save the world, and then that being accomplished, He charges the disciples to go and do the same.  They were called to go and practice what we call “The Office of the Keys” where the power to forgive and retain sin is given to those who follow Jesus.  They were to go out, with the power of the Holy Spirit, continuing to share the message of Divine Grace and forgiveness.
Let’s not focus on Thomas’s ability to doubt.  Rather, let’s focus on the impartation of the Holy Spirit into the world, so that those who can believe are able to go out and share the forgiveness Jesus won for all on the cross.  Let’s also not lose sight that the gift  of the Holy Spirit is our gift  as well, and the message of forgiveness to all those who come to hear about Jesus for the first time is more important.
We can all doubt.  Some better at that  than others.  We are called to be bearers of the forgiveness Jesus gave us.  And there is a world in need of hearing that!