During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
There is so much in this chapter, but let’s focus on what we see about who God is.
There is a beautiful insight into the relationships between Father, Son and Spirit - one God but a community of three Persons. That statement in itself is awe inspiring or ridiculous, depending on point of view. Those who do not believe and know Him cannot make sense of this. Those of us who believe and know Him cannot understand this either! But we somehow know it is true when we know Him.
How can we know God? It is the key question that troubles all people, even if many cover over the troubled feeling by keeping busy or finding pleasure in various ways. Sometimes it is the death of a loved one that prompts the question. For the disciples it was the fear of losing Jesus. “Where are you going? Why can’t we come with you?”
Jesus does not do what all religions try to do, point a way to God. He says “I AM the way.” We cannot earn our path towards God, we can simply come to Him by surrendering all to Jesus. He is “in the Father” and He says “the Father is in me” and what He has been doing, the miracles, demonstrate that (verse 11).
When we know Jesus we know the Father. How do we know Jesus? Reading the gospels and other explanations in the New Testament, and by reading parts of the Old Testament in the light of the New, we gain insights into who He is. But by putting our trust in Him and surrendering all rights to run our own lives we come into relationship with Him.
And we can only do it because of the work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives. In verse 21 Jesus promises that if we love Him He will manifest or show Himself to us!
How does He show Himself to us who do not see Him with physical eyes? By asking Father to send the Holy Spirit, who is “another Comforter/Helper/Advocate” like Jesus the man when on earth with His disciples.
Jesus had to go through death and resurrection. He is now in glory in the heavenly realm or dimension (scripture speaks of heaven not so much as a geographical place as the spiritual dimension: we struggle to explain spiritual things in human words, though!). But the Spirit will come to be with us - and Jesus is not just talking about dramatic experiences like Pentecost but a daily infilling and presence.
All three Persons are so closely intertwined that some of the early Church fathers talked about a “heavenly dance” to describe the interdependence of the one God in three Persons. What is even more amazing is that we can be “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” (see verse 20 for example). We do not become God but we can be in close union with Him. We can become like Him if we surrender all to Him!
3. Pray and act
The more we know You, Father, the more we want to surrender all we are to You … and to worship You through Jesus and in the Spirit.