Reflection for St. Michael Garston – by Reverend Bill Sanders
Reading- John 14:1-14
How comforting to know that Jesus has already prepared a place for us and that he will come back to gather his own to himself at his second coming. This is the anchor, the firm hope which Saint Paul talked about. This gives us our direction towards the ultimate goal of being with Christ in eternity, and, very importantly, of reigning with Him. In Revelation 5:10, in the song which was sung in Heaven after Jesus, the Lamb of God, had taken the scroll of redemption from the hand of God, we see the words; “… and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the Earth.” This is God’s plan for us and the reason Jesus died at the Cross to redeem us back to God. This is about our restored inheritance.
However, what we need to concentrate on in the here and now is the process by which we will receive our restored inheritance. That begins with our recognising who Jesus is and by committing our lives to him in obedience and faith. This is what discipleship is, and this is what Jesus was teaching the disciples about in John 14-1-14. He begins the Chapter by telling them the way to be with him where he will be after he has completed his sacrificial work at the Cross, been raised from the dead and ascended back to Heaven.
When Thomas says to Jesus we don’t know where we’re going so how can we know the way?”, Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life”. This was the 6thof the seven ‘I Am’ sayings in the order in which they occurred in John’s gospel, they are:
The Bread of Life; The Light of the World; The Gate; The Good Shepherd; The Resurrection and the Life; The Way and the Truth and the Life; The True Vine.
In putting “I Am” before each of the above sayings Jesus was declaring his deity i.e. that he is God. “I Am” was the name by which God introduced himself to Moses in Exodus 3-14, “God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. This is what you want to say to the Israelites; I Am has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.
This is the reason the Jews tried to stone Jesus in John 8: 57-59- “you are not yet 50 years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I Am! At this they picked up stones to stone him”. This was because they realised that Jesus was proclaiming he was God and they saw it as blasphemy for which death was the penalty.
So we, as well as Jesus’ disciples, need to understand who Jesus is and to whom we are committing ourselves. The rest of the passage of John 14:1-14 further establishes Jesus’s identity and clearly shows that he is one with the Father. As the father was in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was in him too, as we saw at his baptism, so Jesus was able to perform his ministry with power and authority. That established, Jesus makes an absolutely astounding statement; “ Very truly I tell you whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Father may be glorified in the son. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it”.
And this is not just for the disciples. It is for us too, in our generation. Jesus makes that clear in John 17:20 when he prays for all believers. Let me share with you about a lady called Jackie Pullinger who works in a notoriously bad area abroad. She writes, “with my friends I began to learn about the gifts of the Spirit, and we experienced a remarkable few years of ministry. Scores of gangsters and well-to-do people, students and churchman, were converted and all received a new language to pray in private, and other gifts to use when meeting together. We opened several homes to house heroin addicts, and all were delivered from drugs painlessly because of the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This is the promise of Jesus for all of us. For you, whoever you are. When we commit to Jesus, he comes to live with us, together with the Father and the Spirit. He gives us the teaching on the Vine and the branches in John 15. We in him and he in us. As the Father was doing his work in and through Jesus in his ministry, so God will do his work in and through us. Do you see that? God is doing it not us. We need simply to trust and believe what Jesus promised. Step out in faith. In this we will begin to grow in our true identity in Christ. Don’t worry about the things of the past and don’t let anything from your past trouble you. Remember this; “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.
Your brother in Christ