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I have told you before it happens

I have told you before it happens

“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).

Maundy Thursday

I imagine that the disciples on Maundy Thursday’s Passover meal had no idea what Jesus was talking about. You can almost see them all huddled around him, listening closely, eyes intent, faces rapt in concentration… the concentration of those who are absolutely confused, but sure that something really important has just been said.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Peace. Yes, that is a nice thing. You can see the smiles on their faces, the slight relaxing of the shoulders as their rabbi, their master, their friend, who has shown divine power and wisdom time and again says, “I give you peace.” But maybe there’s a slight lift of an eyebrow. Why would their hearts be troubled? Why would they be afraid?

I am going to the Father

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).

“But wait,” you can almost hear them say, “Jesus, we do love you. We’re just really not sure why we should be glad that you’re going away, and we aren’t even really sure what all this means. We know you said something about dying and rising again, and we kinda figured that was supposed to be symbolic of something. But, Jesus… what exactly are you saying?”

So you will believe

“I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:29).

I’m sure the disciples still didn’t get it at that point. But I wonder how many times they thought back to this conversation after Jesus rose. After all the fear and trouble that would have gone through their hearts at seeing him die, in their joy at seeing him alive again, how many times did they think, “Ah, that’s what he meant! I see now! And I believe.”

Impossible to deny

That’s the effect of the resurrection. When we come to grips with the fact that the crucified and dead Jesus suddenly appeared alive – and not just alive, but whole and hale – we cannot honestly deny anything he has to say. We can only stand in awe and wonder. And peace.

Jesus told his disciples what would happen so that they would be able to testify, “This is what he said would happen, and now we believe.” Jesus appeared to his disciples so that they would be able to testify, “I saw him die, and then I saw him alive again.” 

He gave us their testimony so that, with them, we would believe. Believe that Jesus did truly rise from death. Believe that everything he said is true. Believe that he is who he says he is. Believe that what he has promised about our eternal future will come true.

“Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).


Source: Bread for Beggars