Published on May 15th, 2019 | by Stephen Barrington0
Jesus and the Father, John 14:1-14. May 1, 2019
Atamarie e hoa ma, good morning friends. Today our gospel text is John 14:1-14. This is a wonderful section of John where Jesus says some amazing things about his relationship to God, his father, and what this can mean for those who will trust and follow him.
We are living now in the glow and realization that after his suffering and death there is resurrection and new life. These words were said be Jesus during his last night alive at the foot washing and last supper. They were written by John as we now have them a long time after this event. So we can approach them from a different place than John and co when they first heard them in ‘real time’.
‘Do not be afraid’ our text begins. But, we are very afraid think the disciples…….”I am going ahead of you”…..”I am the way…..I am the truth and life” ……..”if you have seen me you have seen God”………”whoever believes in me will perform the same works as me”…..”whatever you ask in my name”…… – all these things Jesus says in the context of the last supper to give his disciples hope in their hour of distress and their life ahead.
We now live in a very pluralistic society where many religions and philosophies ‘compete’ or are on offer for our allegiance. There is debate about how can Jesus claim to be the ‘only way to the Father’ , isn’t this exclusive and elitist??! It is and can be; but as Smithy and all good theologians will teach us we must not cherry pick proof texts to prove contentious points and miss the wider context those texts sit in.
“Whoever believes in me will perform the same works as me” says Jesus in our text today. Loving, serving, healing, welcoming, forgiving, showing mercy, peacemaking, speaking up for the poor would be examples of that from the wider gospel accounts.
Sociologist Rodney Stark in his book ‘The Rise of Christianity’ details how over 300 years the christian church grew from 3,000 on the day of Pentecost to becoming a group so large that the Roman empire gave up fighting us and embraced our faith. This slow transformation of 5% growth per year; year after year, he puts down to the loving service of our neighbours through times of plague and persecution. People performing the works of Jesus faithfully, despite opposition and no official recognition.
So it seems that walking in the way of Jesus is how we best prove the reality of his Kingship in our lives and the world. Crusading and arguing with words is proven to not win over many so let’s leave that behind as we follow the Jesus way, ever onwards to the washing bowl, the margin and where ever Jesus leads us on the road.
Jesus did claim to be God, and still does – a reality that can be experienced when it is met in people living as He did. May we be found hopefully and faithfully following in his footsteps, regardless of the accolades or praise, to reveal the reality that Jesus and his Kingdom are alive and well.
Buckshot – GSCMC Wellington, New Zealand