First, we had Jesus showing the true spirit of service and humility by washing his disciples’ feet. Next, he tells them one of them will betray him and that he will be leaving them soon. They are very upset and troubled at this news.
Jesus, too. was troubled, but what did he do? Did he lash out at Judas? Did he tell them to assemble a mob? Nope. Jesus comforts them. He is the one facing certain execution in the most brutal way imaginable; yet he comforts them.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Love and grace make Christianity truly unique. The root of what we believe comes from the love of God through Christ. Jesus loves us all unconditionally, warts and all, and that’s a beautiful thing.
So, he puts his troubled spirit aside and comforts his disciples. He tells them not to be afraid. He tells them that there are many rooms in his Father’s house, (heaven) and he is going to prepare a place for them, (and for us), and that he will come back for them. He tells them that they know the way to that place.
Thomas is confused. I love Thomas. He is a literal guy. He needs facts. We like to remember him as a doubter, but Jesus lets us know that it’s okay to have doubts if we truly seek him. He will quiet our doubting hearts if we ask him. Jesus is not angry with Thomas. Notice the difference between his debates with the religious leaders and his heartfelt discussions with his inner-circle. Jesus didn’t mind honest, respectful questions from his followers.
He tells Thomas that he is the way the truth and the life and that no one can come to the Father except through him. This is also at the heart of Christianity. To get to God, we must believe that Jesus was the son and that he died and rose again. It’s also interesting that the early Christians called their movement “The Way.” Paul often refers to it in his letters. The title came from this conversation.
Philip also has questions and Jesus continues to patiently explain the plan that he knows is too difficult for them to grasp at the moment. He tells Philip if he can’t believe that Jesus and God are one, then at least believe in all of the miracles they have seen. These men have walked with Jesus for around three years at this point. He’s reminding them of the many miracles they have experienced with him. He tells them if they have true faith, they will continue to do what he has been doing. (a call to discipleship)
Then he tells them about the Holy Spirit that will be coming to help them. The Holy Spirit will remind them of everything Jesus has told them. Then he tells them he will give them peace, not as the world gives, which means not a wish for peace or a hope for peace, but true peace. Then he tells them a second time, do not be troubled or afraid.
He wants them to know what’s coming before it happens, so they will look back and know that he was in control all along and their faith will be strengthened. That’s where he leaves it.
I find the intimacy and love in this conversation staggering. Jesus is so close to the cross at this point, but he is so loving and patient and concerned for his friends. How can we even begin to fathom this kind of love, the kind that Christ has for us? It’s truly beyond words.
What did you think about today’s reading? I’d love to hear from you.
Have an awesome day!