Monday’s Reading – John 14:15-31
Devotion by Jan Latshaw
It feels like I return to this passage so often throughout a year. Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit. It is a passage at the bedrock of what it means to be a Christian – that when we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, that He died for our sins on the cross, that He rose again and is seated with God in heaven preparing a place for us – He then seals His promise with the Holy Spirit upon us! But what I’ve never processed the numerous times I’ve returned to this passage of promise is the WHEN Jesus said it.
These are the final moments before His arrest. The final moments before His betrayal and brutal torture. In His shoes, I suspect I would be focused on steeling myself for the coming ordeal. Think of the athlete who is preparing for the big game – they have their rituals and routines to get their mind in the right place. Think of the mother about to give birth – she is nesting her home and getting all the details ready to receive her newborn child and care for it. Think of the family preparing for vacation – they spend their final days at home packing and prepping to enjoy themselves. It’s not hard to imagine getting oneself ready for the next thing… we do it all the time. But here, Jesus, as He looks toward the cross in mere hours, takes the time to get US ready for His coming ordeal.
He knows the disciples are going to feel shocked when things start to happen. No matter how many times He’s warned them, they still don’t get it. So Jesus, during these final moments, once again explains that He has to go away and that it is for their benefit He goes. For our benefit. If Jesus doesn’t go, our sins will not be forgiven. If Jesus doesn’t go, the Holy Spirit will not come. In His final earthly moments of freedom, Jesus is focused on US and OUR NEEDS… not His own. He speaks to His disciples and to us of the Helper He will send, of His love for us, of the peace He is leaving with us and giving us. Jesus is ALWAYS thinking of us!
Which makes me wonder – how often do I think about Jesus? Oh, for sure, it’s quite a bit this week with all these devotionals we’re reading and the Easter preparations we’re all making. But on a normal, ordinary day, how often do you think about Jesus? About His love for you, about His peace He’s given you, about the Helper He has sent you? Jesus is always thinking of you! Even in the face of His greatest trial, He was focused on our peace and our comfort. What if we were to reciprocate His heart for us with our heart for Him? What would life look like if Jesus was at the center of our every thought, word, and deed? Well, you might say, that would be difficult… we would need a helper to keep us on the right track. And that’s exactly what Jesus has given us!
As we approach the cross on Friday and the empty tomb on Sunday, what if we were to fully embrace the Help Jesus promised us and sought to reciprocate His heart?
Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Living God – would you open our ears to hear, our eyes to see, and our hearts to love ALL that You are setting before us this day. May You be the center of our hearts, our every thought, our very being!