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READING John 14:27-31
Message version: John 14:27-31
“I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
“You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.
“I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry—he has nothing on me, no claim on me. But so the world might know how thoroughly I love the Father, I am carrying out my Father’s instructions right down to the last detail. “Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.”
This scene in John 14 reminds me of the ones in war films. Set in a railway station with the soldier on the train talking through the window in the door. He is talking to the girl or mother standing on the platform and they are saying goodbye. The soldier on the train assures her that he will be fine. He is coming back in three months after this tour of duty. She shouldn’t worry. It is usually a tearful scene and we are all thinking, I wonder if he will come back? Will he be killed on the battle field, will she be receiving a telegram to tell her the worst? Will there be a happy ending?”
In the passage today it is Jesus who is leaving the disciples. He is similarly reassuring. But this is the conversation before the scene on the train station. Jesus is telling them what is going to happen later. He is going to go away but he is definitely coming back. He gives them a gift. He gives them Peace. “Peace I leave with you” was a common thing to say when leaving. More than a goodbye, it was blessing. And in this case a very special blessing from Jesus, the Son of God, to them. They must have shown how alarmed they were that their leader to be leaving. They knew how dangerous it was to be a disciple of Jesus. How could they cope without him?
So Jesus explains that this is the master plan! God has a goal for him and they have a part to play. He tells them early so that they know how it is going to work. And when the plan comes to fruition it will be proof so that they can carry on spreading the Good News without Jesus.
We of course know how this works out. Jesus will die but he will rise again and come back to them at Pentecost. And this is the message for us too. When we have those doubts that Satan tempts us with that Jesus would leave us and not come back, this passage says, “Just hold a minute, Satan, Jesus told us that there is a plan.” He had to die for our sins and doubts, the times when we loose track of our walk with him, but he rose again to get us back on the straight and narrow path. We may not be able to actually see him walking in front of us, but he has left us his promised Holy Spirit to be with us every day.
V 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (AV)
Jesus told us his master plan, stick with it!
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen