Context: As we go deeper into Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper we find some major themes in Chapter 14: peace for troubled hearts, the way to the Father, the Holy Spirit as our Helper and, of course, love. First, for the geographical context of the Last Supper gathering in the upper room, see the map below. Many scholars believe it was actually the home of John Mark (the author of the gospel of Mark) and his family, where they had often gathered before. We also see a consistency here with the relational proximity of John to Jesus. It is John to whom he commended the care of his mother while on the cross, and it is John who provides us the richest and deepest insights into the Last Supper teachings. As you read chapter 14 (really 13-17), try to think of why Jesus said what he did, especially since he knew his arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial were imminent.
Observations: John’s original narrative would not have had chapter and verse notations … so consider that the very next statement Jesus makes after describing Peter’s denial is this: ‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ Is that not encouraging?! Thomas asks how they could know the way to the Father, and Jesus gives one of the most clear, powerful and direct comments about salvation in Him alone in v. 7: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life; and no one comes to the Father but through me.’ The Greek work for Helper is paracletos; literally, one called alongside to help. How does that either change or reinforce your view and, potentially, experience of the Holy Spirit? There is a disciple named Judas (not Iscariot) who asks Jesus how he would manifest himself to them, but not the world. Note his reply and how significantly it reinforces the truth that Jesus (and God) do not force themselves on people. They have the freedom to reject or ignore Him. This Judas is also called Thaddeus, and he was one of the Twelve. As a bonus, can you find any other gospel account where he is shown to have any interaction with Jesus or others by name?
Application: If something or some situation is deeply troubling you, then let your heart NOT be troubled and ‘cast all your anxiety’ on Jesus. I Peter 5. How else can you enter into and experience that peace? How does the Holy Spirit come alongside and help us in uncertain times? How can we ‘tap into’ and ‘experience’ his help in greater ways during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Prayer: Pray that you have a deeper, more complete work of the Holy Spirit in your life … to the point you DON’T experience a ‘troubled heart.’ Pray that you are honest about the condition of your heart and ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to reveal those thoughts, ideas and attitudes that must change. Jesus showed me an area in my life recently where I was being overly reactive and excessively competitive. I asked the Holy Spirit to help renew my mind and do a transforming work. How refreshing!!