Emily Teterud – Marketing Coordinator
This past week, I was reading John 14:5-14. Jesus doesn’t mince words when He’s talking with his disciples, and there is something refreshing about that. He calls them out when they are missing the point. And He may just be calling us out too.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will knowmy Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you askin my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:5-14
I imagine Jesus’ tone being a tad bit scolding to His disciples in verse 11. There they were, trying to make sense out of how they could possibly know the Father, God, since they hadn’t even seen Him, and they were missing the truth Jesus was trying to tell them (v. 9-10).
On a side note, it always comforts me when I see Jesus’ closest disciples getting it wrong. Not that that is our goal by any means, but it does relieve some pressure, right? There is grace! But Jesus wants to teach us something important here.
I walked away with two key reminders after reading this passage:
1. I often focus so closely on my specific prayers that I miss what God actually wants to do through me.
You might be wondering what prayer life has to do with this passage. But if you read it, you’ll see Thomas opening up with an amazing question (v.5). In context, we know Thomas is questioning a confusing quote from Jesus about leaving, preparing a place, and the disciples knowing the way. So I don’t blame him for asking clarity on where Jesus is going. I’m guessing I’d be doing the smile-and-nod technique if I were him.
I can relate to this kind of confusion in the context of the prayers I pray. When I’m praying for clarity on a decision, or if I’m focused on a specific outcome or request, all my energy and focus is going toward that outcome. In turn, I base the “success” of the prayer on whether or not that outcome happens.
After reading Jesus’ response to Thomas’ question, it made me think there are many times when the answer to my prayer is for me to become more like Jesus, regardless of the outcome of the specific request (v. 6a). When I think of Jesus’ response (which may have seemed unhelpful at the time as Thomas is probably wanting a literal address to plug into his GPS), my focus begins to adjust from the narrow-minded request I am asking to the bigger picture of how Jesus is shaping and molding me.
Ok, let’s be real—at first, that sounds a bit cliché and not helpful. But think of the truth in it. If Jesus limited His interaction with us to the specifics of our prayers, how much amazing growth would we miss out on because we can’t even grasp how far beyond us He is?
So keep praying, pray for specific things, pray for the things you are passionate about. But, don’t hold on to them so tight that you miss God working in your life beyond what you’re even asking. (I think of Ephesians 3:20, which reminds us God is able to do immeasurably more than what we ask or even imagine!)
2. Jesus literally offers us the power of God to work in us and to do the things He did while on earth.
Mic drop to that! (vv. 12-13). How amazing that we serve a God who wants to empower us to be like Him—so much so that He lives in us and gives us His strength to accomplish this. If that doesn’t blow your mind, read this passage again because I don’t know what’s more incredible than that.
In order to make this true in our lives, I can think of one item that needs to be on our to-do list: Get to know Jesus well (v. 9). The more we get to know Jesus, the more we’re moving in the right direction.
As we get to know Jesus, I think our expectations will grow in the best way. Do you have God-level expectations for yourself, for your life and what you’ll accomplish? You should if Jesus is living inside of you!
Sometimes, I get nervous to ask too much of God. I don’t want to be disappointed if it falls short, I guess. But I love this quote I recently read in a devotional called “At His Feet,” by Tie Green:
“Ask God to satisfy this truth in you, and do not rest until He does. His promises are not false advertising; they are there to be fulfilled.”
We’ve been shown the way. Jesus has told us and shown us in tangible evidence. Now we just need to believe and act on it!Click here for the photo credit on this post