Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Place Called...

"You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14:4

Jesus did a lot during his time of public ministry.  He preached.  He taught.  He told stories.  He healed.  He made people happy.  He made people mad.  He spent time with "sinners", He dialogued with religious leaders, He talked to women, He blessed children, and He spent a lot of time with a particular group of disciples: twelve men He called to follow Him, learn from Him, and work with Him.

In the end, before He returned to Heaven in front of their very eyes, He gave them instructions to do the same.  To go and make disciples, teaching them to obey His commands, and immersing them in all that God is, just as He had done.  But He didn't leave them on their own.  He had two things to offer them.  His authority in Heaven and on Earth; and His presence.  "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples...and I am with you always, until the end of time."


I was reading in John 14 this week, and it begins gloriously.  "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in Me."  He goes on to talk about this 'place' He is going to.  It's a place He will prepare for them.  To go ahead of them to get everything ready, and then to return and take them to this place so they can be where He is.

"You know the place where I am going," He says.  But they don't agree.  They don't seem to have any clue what He is talking about.  Is Jesus speaking in error then?  Do they really not know, or do they just think they don't know?  Since Jesus calls Himself the Truth a few verses later, I'm betting on the second one.  They knew, they simply didn't realize that they knew.

He responds to their confusion by saying. "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  He said the same thing at other times too.  "I am the gate for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd.  I am the living water.  I am the bread of life."  'I am, I am, I am...all that you need.'

When we read the Bible, we see a lot of commands.  God's instructions for right and successful living abound.  He hasn't left us in the dark about what is good and what is bad.  He tells us plainly, and we have a choice: to listen and believe, or to go our own way.  But He doesn't stop there.  He also gives the reader a reason to believe.  He does more than spout commands.  He also teaches about who He is.  He is holy.  He is just.  He is love.  He is mercy.  He is our Father.

He is about goodness, but He is also about something else: relationship.

"You know the way to the place where I am going (to prepare a place for you to be with me)...I am the way."

What is He talking about?  A place of fellowship with Him.  A place called joy.  A place called peace.  A place called hope.  A place called healing.  A place called safety.  A place called...

What does fellowship with Jesus mean to you?

We get no hard and fast description of this 'place' Jesus wants to take us, other than this: He is there.  And the key to finding this place is to know Him.  Allow me to paraphrase: 'You know the way...I am the way!  Don't you know Me after all this time?  Don't you know the Father?  You have seen us both.  Wake up!'   I think Jesus is talking about the same place, a place of fellowship with Him, when he uses the words 'eternal life'.  "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)  Do you see it?  He refers to His presence once again.  That's what it's all about: being with Him, walking with Him hand in hand, resting in Him.

It's a place called...You fill in the blank.  How well do you know God?  What have you allowed Jesus to be to you?  What have you allowed Him to do for you?  What are you eager to do with Him?  What more do you need to believe?  He makes fellowship with Him possible because of who He is.  Because this is what He wants more than anything.  He invites, teaches, leads, and He is there.  I simply follow, listen, trust, and enjoy.

I pray you will do the same.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11