By Nicole Logan
FUMC Winter Garden/Certified Clergy Candidate
First, read John 14:1-6
One of the themes in Scripture that smacks me upside the head every time I come across it is this idea that we should not fear. It is this theme that I think of when I read Jesus’ words: “Don’t be troubled.”
Don’t be troubled? Jesus has just shared the Passover meal with his disciples in which he washes their feet and instructs them that they are to serve others in the same way; he confides that one of them will betray him; he announces that he will be leaving them soon; and tells one of his most faithful friends that he will be denied by him three times before morning.
Don’t be troubled?
His next words: “Trust in God. Trust also in me.” Jesus is reminding his disciples that many generations have believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who they have never seen, and it is this faith, that will help them to stay close to Jesus after he leaves them. He promises to come back for them, even as he assures them that they know where he is going.
Don’t be troubled?
Then Thomas, that dear disciple who gets a bad rap for the doubt that rises up in all of us from time to time, asks the question on all of their hearts. “How can we know the way?”
Jesus’ reply is both oh so simple and yet deep with meaning: “I am the way.”
That foot-washing ceremony was only the last of many examples that Jesus gave his disciples during his three year ministry with them. All along, he has been showing them how not to be afraid to serve: to take up their towel, get their hands dirty, touch the lepers, feed the hungry, comfort the widow, weep with friends, include the children, search for one lost sheep or one lost coin. Not to be afraid to be least or to be last or to be love. He has been showing them the way. When we follow Jesus, we find God. Jesus, our Emmanuel - God with us.
Following Jesus is not the easy way, not by a long shot. It is much easier to talk about than to carry out. There are many temptations to pull us off the path that Jesus set before us over 2000 years ago because we live in the tension between this world and the kingdom of God, in the now and not yet. But we know that Jesus has gone before us to prepare the way, and we know the way because we know Jesus.
So, don’t be troubled.
Prayer: Jesus, as we relive your last days on earth through Scripture during this Lenten season, help us to truly understand and realize anew that you were really here and lived among us. Give us hearts to grasp that truth as we recommit our ways to your way, which is the only one that leads to the Father. Amen
1. What are some examples of how you follow Jesus’ ways?
2. When do you find it hardest to follow Jesus? What helps you to keep following him?
3. How can we help others to realize that following Jesus is the way to the Father?