Fifth Sunday of Easter
John 14:1-14: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Summary – More than any other Gospel, St. John’s blessed Gospel reveals the emotions of Jesus through his dialogue with other men at the heart level. Like a modern novelist, John advances the Story of Jesus through the dialogue in Upper Room at the occasion of the Last Supper (John 13-17). While the disciples are to listen to the heart of Jesus, His explanation of the coming of the the Spirit, His departure, and the future. Jesus is both pastoral and critical to Thomas and Phillip. He has at once a sinking heart and a commanding voice calling forth faith. “How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 14:10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 14:11 ‘Believe Me that I am in the Father.’” Jesus was about to preview the fulness of the new creation, but He was interrupted just as He was telling of the dwellings (a term that means temporary lodging: e.g., a hotel room) in the house of the Father. Jesus would have explained more perhaps, but then the fears, doubts and disbeliefs of the disciples interrupted Him. Because of their doubts, Jesus then shifted into a new conversation of the matters which quieted their hearts, though not for long.
Insight – The words of assurance in v12 are challenging: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” There are two ways to view this: individualist miracle workers (by faith) or corporate Church work through history. Unfortunately in the last few decades many have claimed to individually do works of power greater than Jesus. But I do not believe that Jesus is not saying any person who really believes will do each work that Jesus did: water into wine, healing from blindness, lameness and such, resurrections, taxes from fish mouths, and even Greater Miraculous restorations. Rather, He is saying the works that flow from abiding in the Body (i.e., the Church), will be even greater than what He did in His earthly ministry. This is why He will empower the Church with the Spirit, so that we (collectively) will do these kinds of works and even greater works (collectively) than Jesus’s works. While there may be miracles included in this, our ordinary gifts and callings are used of God to contribute to the healing of a fallen world by faith in Jesus and following Him.
Child’s Catechism – Who is Jesus? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
Discussion – What gifts has God given you that could be part of the “greater works” God has called the Church to do?
Prayer – Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.