The fate of their faith – Friday, 4th Week in Easter – Acts 13:26-33/John 14:1-6
Jesus has spoken of betrayal and death (13:21-30), and has been himself “troubled in spirit” (13:21.). Judas is, even now, in the midst of betrayal (13:30). The disciples can imagine danger lurking in the shadows, not only for Jesus, but for themselves. Jesus knows Peter will fail him and at once we need to understand that it does not shock Jesus that we fail. Human as we are, we want to die for the Lord but often we can’t live through a day for him and we fail him. The Lord surely is disappointed but he does not deny us.
Obviously, the mood in the room has changed. Twice already, Peter has been mildly chastised but chastised all the same; he did not want Jesus to wash his feet and now again when he is told he will deny the Lord. The room must have been filled with despair. If the de-facto leader of the apostles was to fail the Lord what would be the fate of their faith?
Jesus steps in, as he always does, to comfort the troubled hearts of the apostles and to comfort us; “do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe in me also.” It is very easy for our hearts to be troubled. We would like to live each day with a song on our lips but life always has a way of throwing us some lemons. Thinking positively, and making lemon juice with the limes thrown at us is a choice we could make but that is certainly not enough. We must train our hearts towards trusting in God and this is why Jesus gently admonishes the elven, “do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Jesus calls the disciples to believe, not because of the situation but in spite of it; to be assured of things hoped for, to be convicted of things not seen. Jesus does not say there won’t be troubles he simply says when that happens do no trouble you heart for you need to trust. That trust must be placed in God and in Jesus.
Interestingly, Jesus assures them of a place in his father’s house. Even though we know that the apostles failed Jesus and he knew at the last supper that they would have failings; he still assured them of a ‘dwelling place’. This is a dwelling place filled with grace for those who loved him but yet had failings. This is not just any dwelling place, it is ‘the’ dwelling place of The Holy Trinity. There is no scarcity of space in this dwelling place for we are assured that there are many dwelling places for all and they have been prepared for us by Jesus himself.
Thomas is bewildered by all this conversation of this dwelling place. This very logical thinking man who has sadly been burdened by the title ‘doubting’ is actually seeking clarity. Perhaps while all the rest chose not to ask the obvious question, Thomas could not control himself. ‘We do not know where you are going so how will we know the way?’ Here is honest Thomas for you!
Think about it; it is the ‘questioning’ and ‘seeking’ Thomas whose question prompts Jesus to pronounce one of the most widely quoted words of salvation. “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except though me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus didn’t say that He would show us a way; He said that ‘He is the way’. If we ask for the directions and someone tells us to turn left here and to turn right there, we are likely to get lost. However, if the person leads us to the destination, we are assured of getting there. That person becomes, for us, the way. Jesus does not simply point us to the Father, but is himself the pathway.
Jesus didn’t promise to teach us a truth; He said that ‘He is the truth’. The truth sets us free (8:32). Jesus is the truth in the flesh, and will leave us in the hands of the Spirit of truth (14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Jesus is the opposite of the devil, about whom he says, “there is no truth in him” (8:44).
Jesus didn’t offer us the secrets to life; He said that ‘He is the life.’ For the Jewish people, the Torah was the book of life. It instructed people in life-giving faith and practice. Now Jesus becomes the life-giver. He says, “I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (10:10).
Jesus’ solution to perplexity is not a recipe; it is a relationship with him….abide in me