April 25th – John 14:1-14
What’s next? That’s a question that our graduating high school seniors may be asking. What will college be like? What will my career be like? Did I make the right choice?
What’s next? That’s a question that we, as a congregation, may be asking. Who will eventually be our new pastor? What new directions will we embark in? Will this still feel like home?
What’s next? That’s a question that someone going through a personal crisis may be asking? How will I find my way out of this? Who will help me? How do I rebuild my life when I’ve lost everything?
What’s next? Certainly all of us have asked that question at one time or another when the future seemed unclear and uncertain. What’s next?
Jesus gathers the disciples to prepare them for his leaving. When his disciples express their anxiety, an exasperated Jesus asks, “Have you been with me so long and still you don’t know me?” He then makes an astounding claim for himself: he and the Father are one, so much are they one that “the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Jesus is able to do that which only God can do.
But then there is more. Jesus prepares his followers by empowering them, reassuring them that “you are going to do greater things than I have done.” How can that be? It almost sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it?
And yet Jesus boldly predicts: “you will do even greater marvels than I have done,” implying that these disciples, so filled with dread and anxiety, are also being filled with a miraculous power because of their relationship with Jesus. Even as Jesus has glorified the Father through his powerful works, so will we glorify the Father, through Jesus, by the works that we shall do.
As Jesus leaves his disciples he promises that he will be with them. In the ascension Jesus did not withdraw his presence he transformed it so that he would be with us always through the Spirit. Whatever happens next he will never leave us.
Lord Jesus, though you ascended to your Father, reigning there as God, with God, you did not desert us. Rather you are with us in a whole new way. You’ve empowered us, even us, with your Holy Spirit. You’ve commissioned us, even us, to do the work of your kingdom. You’ve sent us, even us, as your hands and feet, your heart for the world. Give us the courage to see your power at work in us, even us. Help us to believe in ourselves as much as you believe in us. Amen.
Yours in Christ,