The disciples are not really even aware of what they are troubled about other than they have just been told by Jesus that this night is going to be a difficult one and that their devotion to Christ will fail…miserably.

3-crosses-at-left-2READ JOHN 14:1-14

What brings us comfort and encouragement in the midst of troubling times? Something of a picture of what is to come, the better preferred future that encourages perseverance of the present trials. In this passage the disciples are not really even aware of what they are troubled about other than they have just been told by Jesus that this night is going to be a difficult one and that their devotion to Christ will fail…miserably. Yet the gracious Lord offers them comfort in powerful ways, offering pictures of the future to come that could ignite their trust in Him.

The Ultimate Future: An eternal reunion. Jesus describes the setup of eternity for He and His disciple. In my opinion, the focus of this passage in traditional Christianity over the decades has been on the individual acquisition of eternal real estate, the “mansion just over the hilltop”, my place, my property. This is an unfortunate projection of Western ideologies into the eternal. The dominant feature of this passage is not property but Person, not where we will live but Who we will live with. Look at the dominant action verbs of Christ: I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come back. I will take you to be with me! Why? So that where He is, we will be with Him also and always. The encouragement: no matter what is about to happen, it is a small interruption in contrast to the true and everlasting reality of our co-dwelling with Christ in His Father’s Kingdom, not in this one.

The Road to that Future: The Supreme and Exclusive Christ. Jesus will not merely show us the way, or tell us the truth, or give us the life. He is all these things. Our entrance into the new kingdom is Christ, not a secret password, nor some esoteric disclosure, nor monumental personal achievements. What is more, Jesus teaches that He is not only the way to the eternal future but the way to the reality of God. He is not merely the “representative” of God but the “representation” of God and an exact representation at that (Heb. 1:3). It’s obvious the disciples didn’t see this, partially due to the immediate distractions of pressing circumstances. Unfortunately, I find myself in their seat much of the time, hearing the same words,

“Jonathan, how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me?”

In this eternal future we will experience Christ as God and God as Christ. The perfect union and harmony of Father and Son. In the immediate future, Jesus clarifies, that trusting One is to trust the other. There is no distinction between the character of the Son from the character of the Father. This can be a great source of encouragement.

The Immediate Future: Demonstrate the Presence and Power of Christ. For the disciples the day would come when Jesus’ presence would be recognized through them and the miracles they would do in His name. Jesus’ desire is for the Father to be glorified. This is the ultimate purpose of prayer and the end to which we must pray if we are to be in harmony with Christ. But the divine expectation is that our lives would harness and release greater miracles through the indwelling Christ than by the incarnate Christ on earth. In this sense, Jesus is truly not gone, but with us in a way that He could not be in His physical form. We have one who is passionate about us and passionate about His Father. He is the best Mediator to stand in for us before the God who is also passionate about us. His prayers for us will never get answered in the negative for He will never pray for us apart from what the Father wants for us. What an encouragement to pursue Christ and persevere for Christ as He labors for and through His own!

The bottom line is that our hope and trust is to be lifted from our efforts in encountering with our circumstances and placed firmly and finally in the Christ who is in perfect with the Father, who has promised us eternity with Him and the means of living in stunning victory here as we live with faith in Christ alone.