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Monday, April 11, 2016

Today’s Reading | John 14:1–17                

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you." (NRSV)

Those closest to me know that I’m a bit of a skeptic. Some might say I’m cynical. I prefer “discerning.” Like many people of faith, I believe yet I also have doubts. In this passage, Jesus says some outlandish things. I will do whatever you ask in my name. Really? I am in the Father and the Father is in me. What does that even mean? It’s hard to believe—hard to understand. How can I believe if I don’t even understand?

Like Philip and Thomas, my skepticism and my desire for certainty are two sides of the same coin. I like to be certain before I do anything, but waiting around for certainty can be paralyzing.

“If only I knew for sure,” “If only I had a sign,” if only, if only, if only.

Jesus’ disciples struggle to trust him, but in a way they also doubt themselves. How often do we fail to believe that our experience of God is enough? I know I always want more. I want proof from something or someone else to reassure me. My own experience of God couldn’t possibly be trustworthy, right?

But Jesus doesn’t let that fly with his disciples. “Come on,” Jesus says, “don’t sell yourself short. You already know me. You have been with me all this time and seen me at work. Trust what you have witnessed. Trust it so you can stop worrying and go do works as I have done. Don’t get bogged down in waiting for proof. Take ownership of what you already know and do something about it.”

God, we thank you for the guidance of the Spirit of truth as we seek to follow you. Help us to trust in our experience and perception, so that we might trust in the ways you make yourself known to us, and—without waiting around for the perfect proof—do your work in response. Amen.

Written by Jeremy Pfaff, Editorial Assistant

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