FUNERAL POTATOES: The first part of chapter 14 is one of the most requested passages to read at funerals because in these short passages, Jesus tells of several key Christian doctrines:
There's life beyond life on earth (Jesus is going to prepare a place for us)
Jesus will come back to take each of us there
Jesus is the only way to gain life and access to the Father
If you know Jesus, you know the Father
Thank God for these massively comforting truths that bring us peace in our darkest moments.
REMEMBER THE CONTEXT: These next four chapters, which are mostly direct quotations from Jesus, all occur either in the Upper Room or as they're walking out to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will pray (chapter 17) while His disciples sleep. At tells of heaven, His Father and the Holy Spirit in today's chapter, imagine how high emotions were running in that room as it had become clear to all that the end was imminent for Jesus.
WE NEED MORE THOMASES: Thomas is quoted three times in the gospels, all by John. The first time was back in chap. 11:16, when after Jesus has decided to go back to Jerusalem he says, "Let's also go, so that we may die with him." His most famous quotation comes at the end of the gospel where he refuses to believe in the resurrection until he can see and touch the risen Christ, and so earns the nickname the 'Doubter.' Thomas comes across as a wet blanket, sort of the yin to Peter's ever exuberant yang. But Thomas' question in today's chapter (v5) shows why we need more people like him: he gives voice to what everyone else is thinking but are too timid to actually say. I'm so thankful that Thomas asked his question, because if he hadn't, we'd never read Jesus' famous response in v6:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Next time you're wondering about something, be like Thomas. Go ahead and ask the question out loud. Chances are lots of others are thinking the exact same question.
WHO YOU GONNA SEND? Jesus makes a massive promise in v26: that although He would be leaving soon, He's going to send another in His name. But we struggle to properly translate the Greek word John uses here to describe the Holy Spirit. Here's how one of my dictionaries describes it:
The principal difficulty encountered in rendering 'parakletos' is the fact that this term covers potentially such a wide area of meaning. The traditional rendering of ‘Comforter’ is especially misleading because it suggests only one very limited aspect of what the Holy Spirit does. A term such as ‘Helper’ is overly generic, but a rendering based upon the concept of legal advocate seems in most instances to be too restrictive as well.
The reason the word parakletos is so hard to translate is because the Holy Spirit is all of those things: a comforter, helper and advocate.
BE SURE TO READ TODAY'S ADVENT DEVOTIONAL
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who we are invited to come back home to through Jesus (v1-3)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you experience Christ's other-worldly peace (v27)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: You may ask for anything in Christ's name, and He will do it (v14)