MAY 4. EASTER. Wk. 5. Tue. Jn. 14. 27-31
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me, you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk with you any longer,
because the prince of this world is on his way.
He has no power over me,
but the world must be brought to know
that I love the Father
and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’
Jesus is here preparing his disciples for his imminent departure from them, and what a beautiful parting gift he offers them; - Peace of mind! When you think about it this is probably one of the most illusive experiences we can have in this world, where there is so much sufferings, stress and anxiety; - concerns that cannot be relieved by material things, but only by spiritual gifts.
And we have to remember, at no point does Christ tell his disciples he will remove their sufferings; - quiet the contrary; - he tells them they will have to suffer much; - in the same way, and in imitation of; - his own sufferings, which are an integral component of a Christian’s life; - but the peace he offers is something his disciples will be able to experience despite their sufferings and hardship.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid,” indicates Christ was only too well aware of all the sufferings those who follow his teachings will experience; - but then he reminds them that while he is leaving them, he will return; - and this his where he wants them to place their Faith and Trust; - rather than in earthly life; - which is insignificant when considered in the light of Eternity.
And it is eternity that Christ is alluding to when he says, “if you loved me, you would be glad to know I am going to the Father,” as when you love somebody, it is only natural you wish what is in their best interests. Christ had been consistent in teaching his Kingdom was “not of this world,” so now he was pointing out the time had come for him to return to his Kingdom; - and the company of the Father.
The explanations given in this reading, ahead of time, were important as they would be remembered after he had left, and; - just like the crucifixion; - his statements in advance of the events were signs of his divinity that are just as powerful as his miracles. “I have told you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe!”
And the final point Christ makes in this reading is equally important, and that is when he said; - “I love the Father and I am doing exactly what the Father told me.”
It can be argued this is the central teaching of Christ’s life; - namely the need; - in the name of Love; for his disciples to renounce their wishes and desires; - in order to do the will of God the Father?