Through the New Testament in a Year

Today's Reading – John 13:31-14:14 – Do not let your hearts be troubled

Read in English Bible Passage English   Read in New Testament Greek Bible Passage Greek   Greek Notes Greek Notes on Reading for Today

Jesus has been telling the disciples of his imminent betrayal and death. As if this were not enough to trouble them, he has also told Peter that before the night is out he will deny all knowledge of Jesus – three times! How could they be anything but troubled as they heard these things?

Jesus says that they need not fear. They can trust him, even in the face of such horrors. He assures them that all will be well. He is returning to the Father and will prepare a place for them in his Father’s house. He will ensure that they are brought safely home so that where he is, they may be also.

As so often, the disciples are puzzled at Jesus’ words. They don’t understand where Jesus is going and so don’t understand how they can follow him there. Jesus responds by saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He is the way to the Father’s house; he will not only prepare a place for his disciples, he will also lead them safely home. Those who trust in him are safe in his keeping now and for eternity. They can rest secure in his promises for he is the truth; he is the real thing. Trusting in him they will have life – life that will last.

The disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ can face life without fear – their hearts need not be troubled. The apostle Paul learnt this lesson in the face of hard experience. He writes, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

But the Christian life is not a passive waiting for glory. Jesus has also entrusted us with the task of making him known. Jesus had come from the Father and everything he did was through the Father’s presence and power at work in him (14:10). In the same way, Jesus is now sending out his disciples to witness in his name. And he sends them out with the remarkable promise, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (14:12). This becomes a reality as Jesus lives in them and continues his work through them – and us!

Jesus calls us not simply to believe in him, or to be known by his name, but to learn from him as disciples from a master. The master artists of the past would often have their pupils work with them on their paintings. It is not always easy to tell where the work of the master ends and that of the pupil begins – so well might the pupil have gained the skills and learnt the style of their teacher. The disciple is to reflect the character of the master. The signature of the Christian is the character of Jesus stamped upon them.

One of the most powerful ways in which we bear witness to Christ and make him known is through our love for one another; “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (14:35). How well are we learning Christ?

Lord Jesus, still my fears and fill me with the assurance that you are able to bring me safely to the Father’s house. May this confidence fill me with joy and peace in believing and empower me to live and work as your disciple. Help me to learn of you; may your character be more fully formed in me. And may your love, made visible in me, draw others to come to you and learn of you.

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Peter Misselbrook