Two Comforts and Three Questions from John 14
(Read John 14 here.)
In this world, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges: Economic downturns, global spread of viral disease, political and social unrest. In other areas we are also facing increased natural disasters such as increased intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires and even locust swarms. This can be a time of anxiety, uncertainty, hostility and even loneliness.
As followers of Jesus, we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to comfort us in these times. It is worth spending time in the gospel of John reading through and meditating on chapter 14 where Jesus spends time comforting his disciples.
In this passage, as Jesus shares deep truths, three of Jesus’ disciples courageously ask him questions.
· In John 14:5, Thomas asked questions for clarity
· In John 14:8, Phillip asked Jesus for evidence
· In John 14:22, Judas (not Iscariot) asked questions for reasoning
There was no hesitation nor judgment in Jesus’ responses to their questions. He responded in ways that spoke comfort beyond this world and its circumstances. In fact, Jesus began and ended Chapter 14 with these words of comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (14:1 and 14:27b)
It is always worth noting when Jesus repeats something. In between these two cosmic comforts, he supplied reassurance, gently reminded his disciples of who he was and what he had done and then firmly required them to follow his teachings as proof of their devotion.
As followers of Jesus, we can claim these comforts as well.
· We can be reassured that He knows our fears and what we are going through
· We can be reminded of who he is and what he has done
· We have received his instructions for living through his commands and teachings
We have been given these eternal comforts through His Word and indwelling Holy Spirit.
How does realizing that Jesus knows your fears bring comfort to you? How can you share this reassurance with someone else?
In this passage, Jesus made many statements about who he was and what he had done as proof. Once again, he knows that our minds can become filled with doubts, but he does not want that to stop us from being reassured. In 14:11b, he adds the phrase “or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (NIV). He realizes that doubts can creep into our minds along with confusion and questions.
How is this encouragement to you? What questions and doubts can you bring to Jesus?
Jesus gave specific teachings and commands during his earthly ministry and his disciples had intimate access to these instructions. In this passage, he states three times: “If you love me, obey.” (paraphrased). Along with these emphatic requirements of obedience, he gives comforting promises. In 14:15, he promises the Holy Spirit to be with us forever, in 14:21 he promises the love of the Father and in 14:23 he promises an eternal home with the Father.
In what ways are you walking in obedience to the teaching and commands of Jesus? Are there areas where you fall short? Are you willing to ask the Lord to show you these areas?
Rest assured that when we truly turn away from those areas, he completely forgives. (1 John 1:9).