Friday, June 5, 2009

Jesus' Last Words

We are doing a series in Sunday School about things Jesus said the night before he died. I don't think it will be exhaustive or the last word on last words. I hope it gives the kids a picture of the great promises and encouragements that Jesus gave his disciples and his church.

So far we have spent time thinking about...

"Your lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other." 

"I am going to prepare a place for you, and I will come and get you." 

 As I read through John 14-17 I keep coming up with so much hope for what is to come. Despite Jesus knowing the anguish that lay ahead of him he was able to teach and comfort his friends. Of course there was also a sense of urgency about his teaching, because he knew what was about to happen. Yet he was able to be so clear-sighted in what he said to them, despite their inability to understand what he was pointing out. It would be easy to say how slow they are to 'get it', except that I know how often I don't understand what is happening around me until it has well and truly occurred. I am able to read Jesus' words in the light of the next few days, (and years), which put John 14-17 into perspective.

Jesus' promise to prepare a place for me, has made me wonder what life would be like without the hope that I will one day be in heaven with Jesus. What if the life of 'quiet desperation' most people lead was all we had? D. H Lawrence said that heaven was just a carrot to get poor people to put up with their poverty here in this life. The promise that Jesus is talking about and the glimpses of heaven we get in the bible are much more than that, though.

One day I will live in a place where everything goes right, where there is no danger, where I am perfectly understood and where I perfectly understand - no more confusion, loss, half-heartedness, mind-changing or disappointment. I will never have to watch the news with disgust or horror souring my mouth again. I won't have to wonder about the safety of someone I see in the street or at work. I won't have to feel helpless watching people's lives that seem so difficult to change. 

I love the beautiful pictures of a city, with a river flowing through it, with God in the midst of it, life and love abounding. The city is peaceful, yet filled with people and praise. I have my place in it, as do each of God's people. Thinking about that future helps me put this world in its right place. It cannot defeat me and, more importantly, it cannot overshadow God and his plans.

This Sunday,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

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