Jesus and God the Father Our Roommates? John Chapter 14

When I teach my ESL students the difference between the words house and home, I explain that a house is a building where people live, but home is the feeling of where one belongs. Home is being with those who we love and who love us. Home is part of our identity.

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One of the wonderful promises from Jesus is the sole focus of today’s post. It is found in John 14:22 to 24. The passage starts out with Judas, not Iscariot the betrayer, asking Jesus why he intends to show himself to them and not the world.

Jesus’s answer is where we find that wonderful promise.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”

Jesus let him know that anyone, yes anyone, who loves Jesus will obey his teaching. The Father will love them and Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their home with us. This promise is for anyone who will receive Jesus. No one will be excluded who receives Jesus.

They will make their home with us. Our sense of belonging will be with them. The love and acceptance of Jesus and the Father will always be with us.

We can literally walk into our house, apartment, trailer, jail cell, room in a treatment facility, bunk house, cabin, whatever and say hi to Jesus and the Father who are at home with us.

Home- we belong to Jesus. Home- we belong to God the Father. Home-our identity is with them. Home- in the here and now with Jesus and God the Father.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wonderful Promises of Jesus- John Chapter 14

When we make promises, do we keep them? We can be well intentioned and still fail to follow through. Things can happen that are beyond our control. Jesus has all power and his character never changes, so if Jesus promises something, we can rest assured that it will happen. Nothing can thwart the promises of Jesus.

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There are wonderful promises to unpack in just seven verses in John chapter 14. They are John 14:15 to 21. They read:

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Notice the conditional aspect of the promises. If you keep my commands. What is Jesus talking about when he refers to commands. If helps to look at other verse in John to understand.

In John 6 after Jesus had fed the thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, they followed him around and asked what they needed to do to do the works God requires. Jesus’s answer was:

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

To receive the promises, we need to believe in Jesus.

Jesus gave a new command in John 13:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

To experience the promises in fullness, we need to love one another.

1st promise- The Holy Spirit

We can overlook the fact that for these men and others The Father sent The Holy Spirit a little over 40 days from the time Jesus was speaking to them in this passage. We learn four things about The Holy Spirit from these verses; 1- he is the Spirit of truth, 2- he will be with us, 3-he will be in us. 4- he is an advocate for us.

2nd promise- Jesus will never leave us.

Jesus promised not to leave us as orphans. I have visited orphanages in various countries. Some are in very sad conditions. Orphans have no hope unless someone comes to help them. They are defenseless. Jesus promised to come to us and not leave us helpless.

3rd promise- We will see Jesus.

For the disciples, they would see Jesus after his resurrection. Jesus only appeared to those who believed in him after his resurrection. For the disciples, this would all transpire in a matter of days from the time of this conversation. For us, we know we will see Jesus face to face one day when we go to heaven.

4th promise- The Father’s love.

If we love Jesus, believe in him, The Father loves us. The love of God the Father is beyond our comprehension. He does not see or hold our sin against us. He sees Jesus when he looks at us.

5th promise- Jesus will show himself to us.

So many ways Jesus shows himself to us. Have you ever suddenly had a verse from the bible come to mind? Have you ever had a song about Jesus in your spirit? Have you ever needed something and without expecting it, a friend is there? Jesus shows himself in many ways while we are in this life. One day he will show himself to us when we go to heaven.

Remember as you read John 14 that what Jesus was talking about was in the near future for the disciples. What a wonder it would have been to see Jesus after his resurrection and then to be in the room when The Father sent The Holy Spirit.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Will Come Back for Us- John Chapter 14

Last week we looked at Jesus Saying Goodbye For Now in John 13. John 14 is a continuation of the same conversation in John 13; Actually John chapters 13 to 16 are all one conversation between Jesus and his disciples before his arrest, torture and crucifixion. In John 13 we saw that Jesus broke some troubling news to them; his time to die for us had come, one of them would betray him, one of the them would deny him, and that he was leaving. It is with this backdrop that Jesus says:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me

This was not an empty reassurance. Jesus knew he would defeat death for us and he knew that one day he would return for us. He also knew all who come to faith in him would be with him in heaven. So when he said, Do not let your hearts be troubled, his reassurance was eternally solid.

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Then the glorious promise. God the Father has a place for us. There is no need to worry about heaven running out of room.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

In that culture, when a man was engaged to be married, he would work on adding a room to his father’s house. When the room was ready, the groom would return for the bride. The disciples would have understood the cultural analogy intended when Jesus said.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am

Jesus then makes a statement the confuses them. He told them.

You know the way to the place where I am going.

They didn’t even have GPS or google maps. So Thomas spoke up as any of us might have done.

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

When children go on a trip with parents, they have no clue on how or the way to get there. But they trust the parent to know the how and the way, so they get into the car without thinking about it. They might say things like. “Are we there yet?” They don’t know the way, but they know their parent and that is enough.

Jesus shared 3 profound truths in response to Thomas.

I am the way

We only need to know Jesus. He will take care of the rest just as the parent does for a trip.

I am the truth

Jesus is truth. We can always depend on him to tell us the truth and never mislead us.

I am the life

Jesus is the creator, source of life, and provider of eternal life.

Jesus includes with this a strong statement.

No one comes to the Father except through me

Jesus is the only way to God the Father. He is the narrow road.

The question is are we ready for him to come back for us?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Saying Goodbye for Now- John Chapter 13

I have been at the bedside of people who were dying. In each instance, the person wanted to express what was pressing for them to share with loved ones and friends.

I have also observed how families of team members on ministry trips I have been on become emotional saying goodbye at the airport.

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In Jesus’s final hours before his arrest, he wanted to spend time with his disciples to share with them encouragements and truths about himself. God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. In a way it was similar to those on their deathbed saying parting words.

In John 13 he tells the disciples the time for his death has come.

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

He let them know they were staying behind.

My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”

Notice the term of endearment- My children. That is how Jesus feels about all who believe in him.

Jesus gave a new command. A command that if followed will let others know we follow Jesus.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Peter wanted to know where Jesus was going. Jesus let them know not now but later they would follow him to where he is.

 “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

It is because of the promise of Jesus returning for us that for me it is more like saying goodbye at the airport. Yes, Jesus knew he was going to die on the cross. He also knew he would defeat death through his resurrection a few days later. He will return. There is no such thing as parted forever for those who believe in Jesus. There is only see you again. Yes the parting has sorrow at the time, but the reunion in heaven will be so sweet..

Jesus will return one day. Nothing can prevent that. The only question is- are we ready?

We become ready by placing our faith in Jesus as our Savior. If you want to trust Jesus and ask his forgiveness, tell him. If you are not sure about Jesus and if he is for real. you can tell him that and ask him to show you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Flawed Participants at the First Lord’s Supper- John Chapter 13

Coming to communion to remember the death of Jesus on our behalf is special and serious observance. We are instructed in 1 Corinthians 11 to examine ourselves before partaking of the bread and wine or grape juice.

 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup

In 2 Corinthians 13 Paul again instructs to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.

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This can lead to us feeling we need to come to communion having been nearly perfect before we can partake of the elements. However, when I reflect on who was at the first Lord’s Supper, it sheds some light on who can come into his presence during communion.

There was a former tax collector, rugged fishermen, and among them was one who would betray Jesus and one who would deny Jesus.

Judas was there. We read in John 13:

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus

Judas would go on to betray Jesus with a kiss as Judas led the soldiers and religious leaders to the garden where Jesus was arrested.

Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him.

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 

Jesus also knew that Peter would deny him three times and told Peter it would happen.

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

So what is the difference between Judas and Peter? They were both sinful and flawed. One betrayed Jesus and the other denied Jesus out of fear. The difference was in how the two responded after they sinned.

Judas only felt remorse and hanged himself but his remorse did not lead to repentance.

In contrast, Peter felt regret and guilt when the rooster crowed. His regret led to repentance. He came into the presence of Jesus after his resurrection even though it meant at least one awkward moment when Jesus asked Peter three times in front of the other disciples if Peter loved him.

King David expressed something in Psalm 51.

My sacrifice, O God, is  a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

and in Psalm 34

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Peter was broken in his spirit. He knew his need for Jesus’s forgiveness and grace. He came to Jesus seeking that. Judas never did.

We are all flawed. No one is perfect. No one comes into the presence of Jesus, whether in prayer, reading the bible, or during communion, with a spotless record.

When I partake of communion, before partaking of the elements, I come to Jesus in prayer. He knows all about me, so there is nothing to hide. He knows all about us and loves us even though we have sin in our lives. What he is looking for is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Humility of Jesus in Action- John Chapter 13

Years ago I had a Theology class and had an assignment. It was before the days of Power Point or other presentation tools. Our assignment was to discuss and write about serving in the church. For my presentation I propped two books against the dry erase board regarding spiritual gifts. One book was by a man who believed all spiritual gifts were valid for today and the other was by man who did not. I critiqued their main arguments showing the problems with them.

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I had drawn two stick figure boxers on the board and scored the rounds as I critiqued their arguments. At the end, my conclusion was they had fought to a tie. Then I quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

and then from Philippians 2

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

My point was that no matter what capacity we serve in that the most important thing is we do so out of love and humility.

Jesus set an example for us in John 13 when he washed the feet of the disciples. Jesus knew the hour, the time, had come for his suffering. He was with his disciples to spend some final hours with them to teach them and share what was utmost on his mind.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus got up, got a basin of water and a towel, and proceeded to wash the feet of his disciples. After washing their feet, he taught them.

Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus the creator, the Savior, the one who left heaven to come to earth, in humility washed their feet. Their feet were probably dirty and smelly after walking in sandals all day yet he washed their feet. He did so to set an example of serving in humility for the disciples and us.

The point is not for us to go around washing the feet of other people all of the time. The point is to serve in humility, seek what is best for others. and to do so in love.

By the way, being humble of heart is also the reason Jesus gave for coming to him in Matthew 11.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus do not just say he is humble of heart. He showed in not only on the occasion of washing the feet of the disciples. He showed by leaving his throne in heaven to be born as a baby. He showed it by allowing himself to be crucified so he could die on our behalf. He showed it by living on earth at a time devoid of all the modern conveniences we have.

Is Jesus someone you want to come to?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Mixed Responses to Jesus Even with all of His Miracles- John 12

Have you ever shared about something Jesus has done in your life that was amazing and you knew it was only because of Jesus, only to have the person try to explain it away?

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Imagine being there when Jesus was on earth performing miracles. He healed the blind, deaf, invalid, and brought Lazarus back from the dead after four days. It seems only logical that all at that time in Israel would have believed in Jesus because of his miracles.

But the response was a mixed bag.

Some would not believe.

Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 

This part is scary. that is from Isaiah 6 written over 700 years before Jesus came.

He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
    nor understand with their hearts,
    nor turn—and I would heal them.”

God hardened their hearts? For some their faith would come later. Some would never believe. They rejected Jesus and continually did so, so they lost out on the opportunity.

Some believed but in secret because they feared the consequences imposed by men and placed more value on what men thought than on what God thought.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;  for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Jesus spelled out for them the nature of his relationship with God the Father and their respective roles.

Jesus came to be a light and show them God the Father.

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Jesus did not come to judge but to save. God the Father judges those who reject Jesus.

If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 

God the Father’s command provides eternal life.

“I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John recorded the command Jesus shared in John 3:16 which is in a chapter that also deals with the issues of Jesus coming to save not judge but there is a judgement. The command of John 3:16 is:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

What is our response to Jesus?

Do we value the opinions of other men and women more than God’s?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Spoke Publicly He Was There to Die- John 12

Jesus knew why he had ridden into Jerusalem. He knew he was there to die for us to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus knew the plan all along and long before he rode into Jerusalem. Jesus speaking of the time has not come or the hour has not come is a theme thread in John. After Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he proclaimed.

The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified

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We explored that last week in- What Do We Choose Regarding Jesus?

Jesus did not relish going to the cross, the torture he would endure. In Hebrews 12 we see how Jesus felt.

Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus went to the cross because of his immense love for us, but he despised the shame and did not look forward to the pain and torture. It is so understandable that he would look to God the Father which we see in John 12.

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”

Then something happened that got the attention of everyone there. God the Father spoke.

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

The reaction of those around?

Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

The purpose of the voice from heaven was to confirm who Jesus is which Jesus spoke to.

This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake

Jesus spoke of two results of his crucifixion. Satan would be judged and stripped of authority in this world and Jesus would draw people to himself.

 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am  lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

The people needed no explanation for what lifted up meant. They had seen people crucified and left on crosses. It was a practice of the Romans to intimidate people by leaving bodies on crosses to cause fear. The people were confused. They thought perhaps Jesus was the Messiah and there is a promise about the Messiah being on David’s throne forever. But they did not consider Isaiah 53 and the suffering servant.

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;

In response to the people openly wondering about why Jesus would say he would be lifted up, Jesus exhorted them

You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may

He was calling them to make a choice. We also need to make a choice regarding Jesus. Will we believe in him, ask him for forgiveness and follow him or will we reject him?

What does it mean to you that even though Jesus despised the shame of the cross, he went there because the joy set before him was anyone who believes in him having eternal life?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What Do We Choose Regarding Jesus? John Chapter 12

Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing he was riding in to be crucified, to die, for us, so we could be forgiven and and eternal receive relationship with God. He knew it was his time. This is something I wrote about in Jesus Knew His Mission All Along.

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After riding into Jerusalem, some Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. They approached Philip who in turn talked to Andrew. The two disciples, followers of Jesus, talked to Jesus. Jesus’ response did not address the request. Jesus replied by speaking of his impending death. Jesus spoke of it days before he died for us. His reply began with:

“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”

Jesus shared the analogy of a seed. Seeds have one purpose to contain what is needed for a plant to grow and produce more seeds.

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain”. 

By Jesus dying for us, countless numbers of people over the centuries since have come to know Jesus. There is a choice to make. Do we want to follow Jesus or reject Jesus. If we choose to follow Jesus, God the Father will bless us with eternal life. If we reject Jesus, we lose the opportunity for eternal life.

:“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”

Each person on earth today has that choice to make. Do we choose to believe in Jesus as our Savior and follow him or de we reject Jesus.?

What will you choose?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Went Into Jerusalem Knowing All That Would Happen- John Chapter 12

In many churches on Palms Sunday, little children walk in waving palm branches either real or made of paper. It makes for an adorable moment especially for the parents and grandparents. The reality behind the first Palms Sunday was quite different.

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The background of the first Palms Sunday was the religious leaders looking to arrest Jesus and kill him and Jesus knew it.

They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?”  But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Not only did they have murderous intentions for Jesus, they had them for Lazarus because of the miracle of Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead that we explored in Jesus Shows He Has Power Over Death

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,  for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him..

Jesus knew what he was riding into that first Palms Sunday but he went into Jerusalem anyway because of his love for us.

 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

John is the one of the four gospels that records Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead and the excitement that built up in many of the people, so the reaction of the crowds is something one would expect.

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The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[

“Blessed is the king of Israel!

When Jesus rode in, he fulfilled a centuries old prophecy in Zechariah 9:9

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”

Jesus rode in to a crowd expecting him to become the Messiah, but they did not understand he had to be the suffering servant first. Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing it was time for him to suffer and die for us, so we can be forgiven and have relationship with God. Jesus knew what awaited him and he went in anyway because of his love for us.

Jesus knew why he was riding into Jerusalem but no one else did. The disciples did not understand it at the time.

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

The crowd that saw him bring Lazarus back from the dead were excited but did not understand it all.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.  Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 

And the Pharisees? the religious leaders who viewed Jesus as a threat? The first Palms Sunday was like adding gas to a fire. It only inflamed their anger, jealousy, and murderous intent.

So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

Even in our day and age, there are religious leaders in some countries that would seek to harm or kill those who follow Jesus just as the Pharisees wanted to do to Jesus and Lazarus.

Do we want to follow a harsh religion or have a relationship with Jesus?

What does it mean to you that Jesus knew all that was going to happen to him and rode into Jerusalem anway?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.