Before Jesus offered Himself to be a sacrifice, He spent time emphasizing with his last teachings what He really wanted us to remember. Anyone who has experienced what it is like to hand responsibility to others, especially children, knows that the last thing you say is the thing you really want them to remember. Since we are Jesus’ beloved, we should hang onto every word He says both in this moment that Jesus is giving us His ‘last will and testament’ and how that connects to the rest of what He has said.
Jesus began his discourse addressing Thomas, the Apostle who would later not believe what Jesus said about having to die and resurrect, did not believe that the other apostles saw Jesus alive, and who made the profession of faith, “My Lord and my God!” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.” If you know me… this is the struggle that all of us face. Phillip, like us, can go through a good chunk of life missing the point or realizing that Jesus is trying to gently prepare us for the trial of life ahead of us. He asks Jesus to show the Father to them and then they will be satisfied. But this is what Jesus was asking of them to pray in the prayer, Our Father… We have to know Jesus, what He desires for us, for our neighbor, our enemy, and for our world in order to pray well “let your kingdom come, your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”
This is the point of faith that we find that having knowledge of the mysteries of heaven means nothing if I do not know what my Father desires. In other words, if I do not see the end goal of what heaven looks like on earth, but I can articulate the mystery of the Eucharist or the Trinity, I have nothing. Jesus goes on to promise that we will do the same works as Jesus “and even greater ones than these”. What that looks like requires the maturing of our minds and souls as we grow to know what heaven looks like and how our Father desires to make that a greater reality.
I am not living in some fantasy. I see the sins in our culture. I see the disorder, hatred, lust, and self justification that happens. I see the sin in our world… and in our Church. I have seen my own sin and desire to justify myself or go to confession to make myself feel better. I have experienced what it feels like to have prayed in the name of Jesus and felt God’s restraint. I have felt the effects of that, and it hurts. I can still say that I believe that I am not abandoned, and neither are you. Pentecost is coming. Even when we experience what Jesus experienced and can cry out from the heart, “my God, my God! Why have you abandoned me?” Resurrection power is just around the corner. Even when it seems like God is crushing us, He will revive us with greater understanding and strength.
May Jesus roll away the stone of our hearts, and pour into us His resurrection power that we may see and know His face, the face of our Father who loves us through the ugly tears and into new life.
Featured Image Credit: Gantas Vaiciulenas, https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-people-walking-on-road-between-trees-3708444/
Arthur Richardson is married to his wonderful wife, Gabby Richardson. Most of his work experience is in ministry. He was a retreat missionary in Wisconsin for two years and a youth minister for three years. He is now the Web Project Manager here at Diocesan, and loves it!