Good Morning – on a rainy, stormy morning!
25 ‘I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.* 28I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’
29 His disciples said, ‘Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.’ 31Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? 32The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’
Jesus continues to explain – This first paragraph belongs with the passage we read yesterday; it is a continuation. Because they have loved Jesus and believed that he came from God, they will also have relationship with the Father. When they (we) pray in Jesus’ name, we are not asking Jesus to ask the Father on our behalf, to intervene or intercede for us, but they / we are speaking directly to the Father. We don’t need an intercessor, because Jesus has made it possible for us to speak to God.
To give an example: if my son or daughter or one of my grandchildren came to visit here, you would welcome them because I love them, and you would love them with me. But you would talk with them directly, take time to get to know them better. You would have loved them first for my sake, but you would over time, develop a relationship for their own sake. Jesus introduces us to the love and mercy of the Father; and then we can get to know him better ourselves, over time!
Now, at last, the disciples understand! They say Jesus is speaking plainly. The believe he came from God. But Jesus responds, “Do you really understand?” He tells them the hour is coming – indeed, it has already come – when they will be scattered. They will leave him alone, and they will run and hide. Yet, he will not be alone, for the Father will be with him. After that they will be persecuted in the world, but they can find peace in Jesus. He has conquered the world!
It must have been hard for them, his disciples, to hold onto these words as Jesus was arrested and crucified – as they ran away and hid themselves, fearful that they were next. It may be that the community to whom John is writing are also persecuted – and having difficulty understanding that they may be persecuted, even though Jesus has conquered! But Jesus would conquer not just the world but death itself – he would go to the cross, but he would also rise from the grave. The disciples will not understand that until it happens, and they try to make sense of it. But they can find peace in Jesus’ words – he has conquered.
Another way to say this is in the saying, “The worst thing is never the last thing.” In Jesus’ death, life seemed to come to an end for those first followers, but then – there followed the resurrection. As believers, there is always a resurrection, something good is coming!