Monday, September 3 John 14:1-7
“I am the way, the truth, and the life”
Jesus’ disciples were troubled. They needed to be reassured by Jesus whom they loved, but often could not understand. He had told them that he would be leaving them, going where they could not come. They were gripped by the fearful emotion of separation, and the only remedy for this dread, which is the playground of Satan, is faith in God who is firm and cannot be shaken. His disciples have faith in God; now, says Jesus, “have faith in me” that he will return to take them to be with him always.
When Thomas insists that they don’t know where Jesus is going so how can they know the way to join him there, Jesus declares his great and conclusive “I am.” He is the way because in him the truth of the Father is revealed, not in concepts or ideals, but through coming to know him. Thus, Jesus creates the only avenue to God. To know Jesus is to know his Father, and there is no other way to know this Father. Life eternal comes through this truth, and only through this truth. This life is the only life worth living.
Jesus, you are my way, teaching me your truth, into life with the Father. Amen.
Tuesday, September 4 John 14:8-14
“Show us the Father”
Philip is not satisfied. He asks for some further sign, some mystical appearance that will finally prove they have really seen the Father. We can almost sense a pained disappointment in Jesus’ answer. After all this time and in all the experiences they have shared, does Philip still not know? Everything Jesus has said and done has been shared out of his life in the Father. Philip needs to carefully investigate the works Jesus has done and let that lead him to knowing who Jesus is. Then he will see the Father through the Son.
It is only as these disciples pray in the name of Jesus, in union with him, that glory will come to the Father. And the mighty work begun in Jesus will continue and expand. The test of all Christian prayer is whether it is in the name of Jesus, offered out of our life in him, and gives glory to the Father. Can we be trusted with the name of Jesus as he was with the Father’s name? Everything Jesus did in his Father’s name was for his Father’s glory. Is all that we do in Jesus’ name for the Father’s glory, or are we seeking something for ourselves?
When I ask in prayer, Lord, may it always be according to the Father’s will. Amen.
Wednesday, September 5 John 14:15-21
“He is the Holy Spirit”
As Jesus was sent into the world by the Father, so the Holy Spirit will be sent into the world. He is the promised gift of the Father, sent at the Son’s request. But the Spirit is given only to those who have received the Son. This is the condition which determines his being given. The Spirit is not given to the world which neither sees nor knows him. As it has been blind and deaf to Jesus, so the world will not see or hear the Spirit.
The Spirit will come after a “little while,” after Jesus has passed through the anguish and darkness of the cross and after the disciples have fled in fear, bereft and orphaned. Then in the glory of his resurrected, ascended power Jesus will send the Spirit. In fact, it is necessary that Jesus depart before the Spirit can come. His arrival rests on Jesus’ completed work of salvation, for only those who are saved may be filled by the Spirit. Once he comes, the Spirit will remain forever with the disciples. He will abide with them continuously as he makes his home with them, and he will continue to reveal Jesus to them.
Having left this world, Jesus, you return to us through the Spirit. Amen.
Thursday, September 6 John 14:22-31
“He will teach you everything”
Jesus repeatedly emphasizes that the One who is coming is the “Spirit of truth.” He will enlighten and open up the words and works of Jesus. There are many things Jesus has said and taught during his earthly ministry which the disciples have not grasped. All this will be made plain to them when this “Teacher” comes. He will also bring to mind things Jesus has said which would otherwise be forgotten. The Spirit is always under the authority of Jesus, clarifying, making clear his teaching and ministry. He comes in Jesus’ name to unfold Jesus’ meaning for all people. This is crucial, for there are always those who insist the Spirit is taking us beyond Jesus to “newer and deeper truth.”
Jesus urges the disciples to rejoice at his going, not to cling to him possessively. Real love always releases those we care about! It is a perversion, love turned into selfishness, when we attempt to hold on to those we claim to love. Jesus is returning to his Father who sent him, a heavenly reunion of Father and Son.
Holy Spirit, you bring the words and actions of Jesus to life in me. Amen.
Friday, September 7 John 16:5-11
“Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come”
As the disciples become increasingly aware of the nearness of Jesus’ leaving, that his physical presence will no longer be with them, they are overwhelmed with sorrow. It fills their hearts and takes up all their attention, even to the point of neglecting to ask about Jesus’ going to be with the Father in glory. Once again, the horror of the moment has caused them to lose focus of the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ going. So, Jesus reiterates what he has said earlier: unless he goes back to the Father, the Advocate (that is, the Holy Spirit) will not be sent from the Father.
The sending of the Spirit to indwell Jesus’ followers is necessary if they are to receive the benefit of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through the Spirit in them, they will be united with Jesus in his resurrection and they, too, will be raised from the dead. But the Spirit can only come after Jesus has finished his work on the cross, the atoning work which brings forgiveness and opens up the way for a Holy God to live within a sinful human being.
Dear Jesus, you do your work in and through me by the ministry of the Spirit. Amen.
Saturday, September 8 John 16:12-15
“The Spirit will guide you into all truth”
While Jesus has told his disciples many things about his coming death and resurrection, and the giving of the Holy Spirit after his ascension into heaven, there are other things he cannot say to them now, for they cannot “bear them.” They are spiritually unprepared to handle them. Furthermore, these are truths which can only be grasped and understood after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Then the Spirit will come as the Teacher to illuminate all of Jesus’ teachings, and he will share only the truth he hears from Jesus.
The Spirit comes to each humble and seeking disciple of Christ eager to teach all that is in Christ. What a gift! And as one submits to this Spirit of truth, he or she grows in spiritual wisdom and is increasingly conformed to the image of Christ. It is the Father who takes all things that are the Son’s – wisdom, truth and love for all people – and pours them out through the Holy Spirit that Jesus may be glorified. Here we see the eternal, living intimacy within God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – through the ministry of the Spirit in us.
Holy Spirit, teach me to know Christ, to become like Christ, and to share Christ. Amen.