Who

You know how it is. Someone begins a conversation with you by saying, “Now…. I don’t want you to worry.” I’m sorry, but they are only half way through the sentence and I am already worrying. They haven’t even gotten to the content, the topic, or any information and I am already asking “why, what, when, how, who.” I know they don’t want me to worry, but, sorry, that train has already left the station.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Seriously? It was only six verses ago, just prior to the opening of today’s gospel when Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer…where I go you cannot come.” (John 13:33) The disciples’ hearts are troubled and Jesus’ words of comfort are not hitting their intended mark. Continue reading

Being thoughtful

Traditionally Mother’s Day is the time when children want to give something thoughtful to their mothers for all that moms do for us. If you enter the search “thoughtful Mother’s Day gifts,” apparently, there are almost 1.4 million ideas out there, according to a Google search. Who knew? Most are Web sites that are essentially brokers for products that you can purchase online. One Web site was promoting that their list was superior because they had surveyed men. Hmmmm? Of course, the first line of the Web page was announcing the date of Mother’s Day this year. After all, the date varies from year to year, right? True, but I wonder if they knew it is always the second Sunday in May. The second line was a “panic button” for a “specially selected gift for the man who needs overnight delivery.” Hmmmm? Continue reading

Dwelling place: the Father

7 If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. 12 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. Continue reading

Dwelling place: the way

 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Continue reading

Dwelling place: coming back

2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. 4

Jesus’ coming back (v.3) has been variously interpreted:

  • his coming to the disciples following his resurrection (cf. 20:19–29);
  • his coming in the person of the Holy Spirit (cf. 14:15–21);
  • his second coming at the end of this age (cf. 14:28; 21:22–23; parousia); and
  • his ‘coming’ to take his disciples to be with him when they die. (This suggestion, comforting though it is to think of Christ ‘coming’ for us when we die, is not something that receives any support in this passage.)

Continue reading

Dwelling place: many rooms

2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be

Verse 2 also has some translation options: “In my Father’s house [oikia] there are many dwelling places [monai].  Should oikia be translated “house,” i.e., a physical structure (as in 11:31 & 12:3);”household,” i.e., a community of people (as in 4:53 & 8:35)?; or even “family” – all of which are valid translations [EDNT 2:495].  Often people immediately think of the King James’ translation: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” – which immediately moves one thoughts and reference to heaven.  Is this the intention of this passage? Continue reading

Dwelling place: believing into

The opening words of the gospel are straight forward: “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (14:1). These same words will be repeated in v.27 when Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will accompany them after Jesus returns to the Father.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Though deeply troubled by the prospect of his own betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus concerned himself with his disciples’ distress. He said to them, Do not let your hearts be troubled [tarassō]. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. Their faith in God, and in particular their faith in Jesus, would enable them to calm their hearts as they faced what lay ahead. There are some scholars who argue that the expression in the Greek is in the imperative, something we would more naturally translate as “Stop being troubled.” It seems that in either case Jesus is not talking to trouble-free people and telling them not to begin to worry. Jesus knows he is talking to people whose hearts are far from serene. Continue reading

Dwelling place: context

John 14:1–12  1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. 4 Where (I) am going you know the way.” Continue reading

An abundant life

I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” So, what do you make of the verse? What generally stands out in the hearing and imagination is “the abundant life.” What does it look like? If we don’t have an idea of what it looks like, how will we know when we have it?

Once upon a time in Kenya, an Englishman visiting the central highlands, discovered a beautiful river. Not too far downstream he came upon the chief of the Kikuyu people enjoying a moment of fishing. The chief had a great spot in the shade, the fishing line was tied around his big toe, and the chief seemed like he was napping more than fishing. Continue reading

The voice: some thoughts

A Theological Summary  Verses 17-18 form the conclusion to the discourse. In these verses, the shepherd meta­phor is abandoned completely and Jesus speaks directly about his death and relationship with God. These verses focus on three theological themes that are essential to understanding the death of Jesus in John.

First, these verses place Jesus’ death fully in the context of his relationship with God. Verse 17 contains the first linkage of “love” (agapaō) with Jesus’ death in the Fourth Gospel. God’s love for the world (3:16) and for Jesus (3:35) are already known to the reader, and this verse adds a new dimension to that love. God loves Jesus because Jesus lives out God’s commandment fully (v.18). In the Fourth Gospel, the core commandment that Jesus gives his disciples is that they love one another just as he has loved them (13:34). The sign of Jesus’ love for them is that he is willing to lay down his life for them (cf. 13:1; 15:13). Jesus thus obeys the same commandment from God that he passes on to his disciples, to live fully in love. It is wrong to read the these verses as saying that Jesus wins the Father’s love through his death; rather, his death is the ultimate expression of the love relationship that already exists and defines who he is and how he enacts God’s will for the world. Continue reading