I’m always amazed how kind and gentle Jesus is to his friends on this particular morning — the same friends who fell asleep, cowered, ran away, denied him in his darkest hour. These men, like me, were weak and unworthy disciples.
But Jesus doesn’t scold them, guilt them, or abandon them, although their sins and failures were fresh. Instead, he speaks words of peace, works a miracle, makes them breakfast, and gives them the chance to profess their love for him again. He’s calm, loving, and forgiving in response to their weakness — a beautiful picture of how Jesus deals with us each and every day.
Then he said, “Follow me.”
This is the kind of Friend I want to follow always. This is Jesus, to whom I sing: “O make me thine forever, and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to thee.”
“Do not disbelieve, but believe.” The words that the risen Christ spoke to Thomas so often speak to me — the simplicity, the truth, the conviction, the encouragement.
Yesterday was a day when everything I did seemed to be born from disbelief, a lack of faith. Jesus’ words helped me to confess and seek reconciliation with the God I love and yet so often refuse to BELIEVE in the midst of stress and worry.
Again: “Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
In response, Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” This is my answer, too. I can’t make up for yesterday; I can only turn to my Lord and my God to forgive, cleanse, restore.
It’s always painful to read the story of Pilate, who knows and publicly proclaims Christ’s innocence, and still approves of him being flogged and crucified. Yet this is exactly what we believe as Christians: that he who knew no sin was punished on our behalf. Pilate’s motives were evil and cowardly; but “God the just” knew exactly what he was doing in providing this perfect sacrifice so that we can have eternal fellowship with God and his saints forever. We can only ponder and praise his mysterious ways.
I’ve often identified with Peter, who denied the very man he said he would die for. I know the pain of being unfaithful to my dearest friend. I know the feeling of going from devotee to deserter, sometimes within minutes. It’s a strange sort of comfort, this solidarity with Peter. The failure itself doesn’t comfort me; it’s knowing the next part of the story. There’s joy in the end, because Christ doesn’t abandon Peter.
Of course, we have to skip ahead to know that, for Peter had no time to make peace with Jesus before his crucifixion. When Christ died, hope was lost for Peter, left alone with his guilt, not knowing the end, not knowing there would be a chance to reconcile with his truest friend.
Knowing the end is the only way to find joy in the story of Peter’s denial. Knowing that not even death — not even Christ’s death — could keep Peter from the love of God, who stands ready and willing to forgive.
Praise God, his heart is the same toward us today.
In this passage, I’m in awe of how Scripture is revealed to us, straight from the Spirit, to give a full account of these words that Jesus spoke to the Father. Only God himself could give us access to this moment in history. He didn’t have to, but he did. And to know that Jesus, just hours away from death, took time to pray for me — that’s incredibly humbling and profoundly encouraging. I’m grateful that God pulled back the curtain here to give a glimpse into the prayer life of the Mediator himself. He prayed for me then, and I can rest assured that he prays for me now. What a glorious thought!
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (v. 33)
I love how forthright Christ is when he promises trouble. Ease will be the exception. Peace, an anomaly. But then, there’s a glorious juxtaposition: he has overcome it. In fact, Jesus experienced it firsthand, as God in the flesh, which is why we can trust his claim that he has truly conquered it.
I remember taking comfort in this verse following my “coming out” online, when unbelievers unleashed their opinions on my faith and my commitment to honor God by remaining single. During that time, I could imagine — almost hear — Jesus speaking these words to me. And many, many times since.
Yes, the world has trouble, and it can feel unpredictable and chaotic. But at least Jesus told us up front, and gave us hope for those moments when we feel it most.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (v. 9)
Wow! This has got to be one of the most shocking verses in the Bible. One of those things you wouldn’t believe if it weren’t right there in front of you. But Jesus said it and he cannot lie: he loves his disciples as the Father loves him.
I can’t begin to understand or imagine the depth of that love. But I know it’s not a surface, fickle love — the kind that can be tossed aside when I sin or stumble or wander off. The Father’s love for the Son is constant, eternal, unchanging, immovable, unshakable. It’s the kind of love God can have for fallen men ONLY when they’re hidden in Christ, clothed in his righteousness, cleansed by his blood. We’re invited into this vine and we’re mere branches, grafted in: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” I believe it.
Lord, may I ever abide in your love.
This passage is packed with truths about the Trinity — a glimpse into the relationship and roles of Father, Son, and Spirit, each intimately involved in our lives.
I so often focus on Jesus, the man among the Godhead. That’s one reason the Son took on flesh — to be an approachable mediator who can sympathize with my weakness, who lived the entire human experience from birth to death, but without sin. As “God with us,” it’s natural to gravitate toward him.
But the Father and Spirit love me, too. In John 14, Jesus assures his friends that in his physical absence the entire Godhead would be with them to comfort, teach, and uphold them. They wouldn’t be left as orphans, because the FATHER would send the SPIRIT to remind them of what the SON taught them. They wouldn’t see Jesus, hear his voice or lean against his bosom or walk with him in the way they had before, but they’re left with a promise that God would still be with them “forever.”
I need this assurance, too, as I fret about the future, the state of this world, the flux and flow of my sanctification. “Let not your heart be troubled.” God — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — is with me.