Believe Me: Untroubling Your Heart

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2)

We’re going to listen in on a very personal and tense conversation this week between Jesus and his disciples. It takes place on the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, and it had been a rough evening.

believeme_350They’d had their big Passover holiday meal at a secret location because the Jewish religious leaders were looking for a chance to arrest and kill Jesus. Then he announced that one of them would betray him, and each wondered if he was the guy. Finally, Jesus told Peter he would deny even knowing Jesus before the night is over. Of course, Peter argued.

Now, Jesus changes tone and looks to comfort them for a moment. He tells them to trust God and to trust him as a way to control their anxiety. Yes, he’s leaving, but he’s planning on being with them later in a special place he’ll prepare for them. He asks us to calm ourselves with those messages, also.

Think: How does trusting God help you to control your anxiety? Can you feel worried and trust God at the same time? Does it help you to think about the day when you’ll be in the place God has prepared for you in heaven forever?

Pray: Thank God for letting us “hear” the conversation between Jesus and his disciples on the night before he was killed. Ask him to give you a deeper understanding of who Jesus is this week.

Do: Think about the kinds of things people say to each other when they are saying goodbye before parting for a long time. What do they focus on?

Believe Me: Goodbye Song

“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. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)

Have you noticed the way people talk to each other when they’re saying goodbye? People who really care for each other and feel sad or uneasy about being separated focus on one thing: When will we be together again?

believeme_350When he was young, my son would sometimes get sad or nervous when I left to go somewhere. It helped him to hear me say when I’d be back and what we would do together then. Jesus is offering that kind of comfort to his disciples shortly before his arrest, trials, and crucifixion.

His message: I will be leaving, but I’ll be thinking about you while I’m gone. I will come back for you. And, besides, you know the way to get to me. God speaks very similar messages to us about our future together with him.

Think: Do you look forward to being together with God forever in heaven? Do you ever feel like you “miss” him, in a way?

Pray: Thank God for the comfort Jesus showed to his disciples before they were separated. Ask him to help you both to be eager to be with him and to be comforted knowing that day is coming.

Do: Read Colossians 3:1-4.

Believe Me: I Don’t Get It!

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ ” (John 14:5)

Do you think Jesus enjoyed baffling his disciples? Either way, it’s one of his most familiar teaching strategies. He often said things completely beyond them and waited for them to ask what he was talking about.

believeme_350You can almost see the confused expression on their faces. Jesus just got done comforting the team about his departure by saying, “You know the way to the place I’m going.”

Um, wait, what? Thomas gets the prize for being the first to ask what everyone else was thinking: “Not only do we not know the way, we don’t even know where you’re headed!” How closely do you think he and the others were listening for what Jesus would say next? Brilliant.

Think: How do you handle it when you don’t know what the Bible is talking about? Do you see it as a failure on your part, a reason to give up, or a chance to learn something new?

Pray: Ask God to help you learn more about him by finding more things you don’t know about him and his Word. Then ask him to give you a willingness to go looking for the answers.

Do: As you read the Bible this week, look for statements or actions that surprise or confuse you—and celebrate the chance to learn something new.

Believe Me: The Way

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14:6)

So what was Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ very logical question? Thomas asked: “What are you talking about? How could we possibly know the way to where you’re going when we still don’t know where you’re going?”

believeme_350Jesus said, “You know the way because you know me. I’m going home to be with my Father, and I’m the only path to get there.”

The secret to all of life and history comes down to this verse, this answer. People spend decades hoping to find the key to happiness, to knowing God, to their idea of heaven.

They’re looking for the right path to get them there, the right set of circumstances, the right combination of choices. But the path is a person, and he’s an exclusive entrance to eternity. He’s the only door, the only hope, the only way that’s not a dead end.

Think: Why do you think the absolutism of Jesus’ statement in this verse bothers so many people? Does it bother you? Does it seem unfair that God would not allow any other path to himself—or does it seem generous that He would offer any path to himself, at all?

Pray: Take a few minutes today to really express to God your gratitude for offering a home with him as your Father through Jesus. Thank him for sending his Son to be the way, the truth, and the life.

Do: If you’ve never done so—or just need a refresher—spend some time memorizing this verse this week.

Believe Me: See Me See Him

“Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ ” (John 14:8-9)

Philip wanted to see God. In person. With his own eyes. He’d just heard Jesus say, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Okay, then, Philip said, let’s see him. That’s all we need.

believeme_350Philip was hoping the time had finally come. He’d been following Jesus for three years, believing his master was the Messiah who would bring peace and greatness back to Israel soon. Was it time, now, please? Can we see God? Can we see his power?

Jesus went around the same tree again: You have seen him, Philip. You’re looking at him. You still don’t get it. You know me = you know him. I’ve been right here with you the whole time. You can stop looking for the Father; you’ve found him.

Think: Even some who call themselves Christians still miss the point that Jesus is God, that the Father is in the Son, that the Son is a perfect revelation of God the Father. Why do you think it’s so hard to understand and believe?

Pray: Thank God the Father for allowing you to “see” him through getting to know Jesus in the Bible.

Do: Spend five minutes sometime today just thinking about what Jesus means when he says that seeing him is seeing God the Father.

Believe Me: Walk Like Him Talk Like Him

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10)

Was Jesus using a little gentle sarcasm to help his disciples figure out the truth about who he was? He kept asking, “Don’t you believe this?” Of course, he knew what they believed in their hearts.

believeme_350He gave three reasons they should have figured out by now that he was in the Father and the Father was in him. We read the first yesterday: They knew him. They’d spent years with him. Had they ever seen him sin? Had he ever told a lie? In all the time they’d known him, hadn’t he, in fact, been like God in his character?

Second, in today’s passage, he pointed out that he has always talked with God’s own words. He said what God said, because he was God. Hadn’t all the people commented on his authoritative teaching? Hadn’t they noticed he wasn’t like other rabbis?

We’ll see His third piece of evidence tomorrow.

Think: If you spent three years with Jesus not knowing he was the Son of God, do you think you would have figured it out from his character and his words?

Pray: Thank God for revealing himself on earth through Jesus. Ask him to help you to not miss anything you can know about him through getting to know Jesus.

Do: Write down one big thing we know about God because we have seen it in the stories or words of Jesus.

Believe Me: The Evidence of Miracles

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:11)

Yesterday, we saw that Jesus pointed to two evidences that should have given him away as the Son of God to the 12 guys who knew him best. Evidence 1: He lived with God’s character. Evidence 2: He spoke with God’s words.

believeme_350Evidence 3: He displayed God’s power. The disciples had seen all those miracles with their own eyes. They’d gathered up all that leftover food after Jesus fed thousands from a sack lunch. Twice. They’d freaked out when he came walking toward them on top of the water. They’d smelled the stench of death as dead-four-days Lazarus hopped out of his own tomb.

How could they NOT know the Father was in Jesus? How could they, of all people, have missed the big idea that he was God made man?

Think: Do you think it would have been easier or harder for you to believe that Jesus is God if you had seen all his miracles? Don’t answer too fast. Why did some who saw the miracles still not believe he was the Son of God?

Pray: God didn’t owe us any miracles as evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. Thank him for being so generous as to demonstrate his power on earth to those eyewitnesses and the rest of us who believed their reports.

Do: Spend five minutes imaging yourself as one of the disciples on the scene when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. How would you have felt about him after that?