These things have happened. We can believe everything else that he said is going to happen. We're going to go home to the Father.
-An Easter reflection by Fr. Randy Messick
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
Love and Father God, Jesus Christ, peace and forgiveness, Holy Spirit, main two commandments, greatest commandment, forgiveness as an act of the will, nature of this world, God has overcome the world, love and obedience, do not let your heart be troubled, Corrie Ten Boom and forgiveness
Last time I spoke a couple of weeks ago, I kind of wrapped it up by mentioning that in obeying Jesus, that that's kind of how we show him that we love him. That's how important it is to obey Him, because that is how we show him that we love him. And in verse 21, of the gospel this morning, that's what what Jesus tells us. He says, They who have my commandments, and keep them are those who love me. And those who love Me will be loved by the Father.
So we can ask ourselves right off the bat, okay, well, what are your commandments, because I want to keep them so because I love you. And I think that's a good place to start with that are the two commandments, the main two commandments that we read every Sunday when we come to church, and that are that you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. So if I love Jesus, I'm going to obey that.
And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. That one's not as easy, but it's right up there. Number two, so. So if I'm going to love Jesus, I need to obey the commandment. So if we think, Okay, well, the same thing applies to Father God, if I love Father, God, I'm going to obey Father God. And Jesus helps us keeps keeps that real simple for us. When in John six, he teaches us that, okay, this is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom he has sent. Okay, so that'd be Jesus. So, if I'm going to love Father God, I'm going to believe in the one whom he sent Jesus, and I'm not going to believe in Him, I'm going to believe him. Because that's what's that's out of that is how I'm going to obey the commandments that Jesus goes on to give us throughout his ministry. So he says, and those who love Me will be loved by my Father. So the Father gives us to Jesus, by His grace and His goodwill.
He loves us and He makes His love known to us. That's the start of how we love is that God loves us first, and gives us this gift of grace that we can know and love him. So to believe in Jesus is to listen to him, to trust in Him to do what he says.
Now our nature, our fallen nature, the nature of this world, does not particularly want to do that.
Does not want to listen to him.
Does not want to believe him.
Does not want to believe in Him.
And Jesus knows that and he points that out in Matthew, He says, you know, you need to enter through the narrow gate that I'm teaching you For the gate is wide and the road is easy. The leads to destruction. And there are many who take it. That's because that's our nature. That's my fallen nature that comes to me naturally. Going through the wide gate, I do my thing. I do my will. It's just like falling off a log. I'm born with it. I just how I go about my day, that wide gate. Whatever I want to do, that's what I do.
But he says, no, no, no, no, because that leads to destruction. So for the gate that is narrow. And the road is hard, that leads to life. And few find it. The narrow gate, faith in Jesus. Few find it. The road is hard. Why is it hard? It's hard because it's contrary to my fallen nature. I have to die to self. I have to pick up my cross. That painful death of dying to self. Right? That's difficult. He says, at one point he says, you know not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. And what is the will of the Father in heaven? It is to believe in Jesus, the one whom He has sent. And in believing in Jesus, we believe him and then we obey him. And then He reveals himself to us. So he says to the group gathered there, he says, Those who love Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them. And that is what Judas not Iscariot or St. Jude, as he's called, in Scripture responds to when he asks him the question that starts us off on this morning's verse 23 says, I will love them and reveal myself to them. He's going to reveal who he is to those who love him. Who he is,not what we think he is, not what we think he should be. But who he is. He's going to reveal that to us.
And Judas not Iscariot said to him, Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world? And I think maybe probably what he's thinking there is, aren't you going to be a king? You know, with the kingdom here on earth, how are we going to know that you're the king and we're gonna reveal that to us, but you're not gonna but the world's not gonna know? And Jesus answered them, those who love me keep my word and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with him. It's a different type of Kingdom. It's not a throne here on Earth, and I'm gonna mount and all, you know. It's the throne that is going to happen in each of our hearts. That's where he sets up his throne. That's where he becomes the king, he becomes the king of me, who I am to obey and follow. And indeed, if we love Him, we will obey Him. We will surrender our will to his.
So in some ways, love is the root, right? And obedience is the fruit. Some other smart guy said that. I didn't come up with that. Love is the root and obedience is the fruit. But you know, also sometimes obedience is the root. And love is the fruit. And let me use an example there of what I mean by that.
You guys ever heard of Corrie Ten Boom? Yeah, she was a gal from Holland, her and her sister, they hid Jews during World War II from the Nazis. The Nazis found out about it and took Corrie and her sister Betsy to a concentration camp where Betsy was eventually died. Corrie got out just by a miraculous mistake in some paperwork. And her sister was all about forgiveness, right? And so when, when the war was over, Corrie thought, you know, I gotta be about forgiveness, too. And I gotta go preach forgiveness and how important it is.
And so she goes to Germany, and she begins to do these rounds of talks to people and where she tries to convince them that you know, If we confess our sins, God will will cast them into the deepest ocean. So they'll be gone forever, you'll be forgiven. And most of the people were staring at her, you know, huh? And she was done. It was all silent. Everybody got up and just walked out of the room during this one talk she gave. But that's when she saw him, she says, and I'm just gonna read her own words here.
"He was working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat, the next a blue uniform and a visor cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush, the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, that pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor. A shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsy, how thin you were. Now he was in front of me, his hand thrust out, 'A fine message, Fraulein. How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea.' And I who had spoken (this is her talking about herself), and I had spoken so glibly of forgiveness fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take the hand. He would not remember me, of course, how can you remember one prisoner among those 1000s of women, but I remembered him and the leather crops swinging from his belt.
"I was face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. 'You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,' he was saying, 'I was a guard there.' No, he did not remember me. 'But since that time,' he went on, 'I become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there. But I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein.' Again, the hand came out. 'Will you forgive me?' And I stood there, I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven and could not forgive. Betsy had died in that place. Could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? It could not have been many seconds. men their trespasses. Jesus says neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses, forgive your trespasses. I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were also able to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives. No matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids, it was as simple. It was as simple and as terrible as that. And still, I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.
"But forgiveness is not an emotion, I knew that forgiveness is an act of will. And the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. 'Help,' I prayed silently. I can lift my hand I can do that much. You supply the feeling. And so woodenly mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one out stretch to me. And as I did and incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder race down my arm sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. I forgive you, brother, I cried with all my heart. For a long moment, we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."
So obedience, love of Christ, and obedience to Him is for our good. You know, we struggle with it sometimes because we think, no, this can't be right what he's telling me to do. I kind of have to override him here. He doesn't fully understand that situation. So we think, "Well, this time I'm going to consider his commandment as a suggestion."
Then the next time something comes up, and we go, "Well, that's just too difficult. Therefore, no, it's just too difficult. You're asking me to do something that's impossible to do." Well, we're to do it. Because why? He's our king. He told us to do it. It's a commandment. It's not a suggestion. And that's what it means to be a Christian.
Say, how will he come to me? How will he come and make his home with me, he and the Father? Well, we know it by the Spirit that Christ abides in us. In First John says, "The one who keeps God's commands lives in him and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us. We know it by the Spirit that He gives us.
It's the work of the Holy Spirit. That's why he sent the Holy Spirit. To convert us and consecrate our hearts. And he comes to us personally, to each of us in a distinguishing way. He comes to us to do that, to set up his throne in our hearts. He goes on to, "Okay, so let me put it another way." He who does not love me does not keep my words. What are his words, all that stuff in Scripture that he that is written there, that's his word. Okay? And the word that you hear is not mine, but it's from the Father who sent me. So I guess I just have to look at it this way, you know, no matter what I may think, or say or pretend. I can't love Jesus if I don't believe what he says is true--and seek to obey Him.
I've shared my story about saying words you're not supposed to say before. Now, I found out the hard way. Oh, no, he really means it. It is for my good. He wants me to be free in his love. He wants me to be able to share that freedom and that love with others. I can't do it if I continue to do things my way, and I don't obey Him. And He says, you know, these words are from the Father who sent Me. The Father gives us Jesus and Jesus turns us back to the Father. Jesus reveals the Father. The Father sent me to teach you these truths. These are truth. It's the Father's word. It's the Father's will. So I don't know what he's thinking, you know, I don't know. Are you worried whether or not you can trust what I'm saying? Let me say to you, it's comes from God, the Father, what I'm saying. And I in my obedience to the Father, am sharing the truth. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. He says "these things." I love that. "I've said these things." These things. The truth of all reality. The truth of salvation in Christ, these things. Yeah, it's mind blowing these things that he told us. That he came, and was sent by the Father to tell us. He says I've said these things while I'm still with you. But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.
Thank goodness, I am not leaving you as orphans. Okay. I was thinking as I was reading, like somebody came in and said, ok, Randy, I want you to fly this airplane from Bakersfield to Las Vegas. And here's how you do it. Can you get in there? Push this button over here is, you rev the RPMs to a certain speed here, you're gonna get your paddles and your hands going like this. And you're gonna watch this skill and make sure that thing goes up over here. Make sure your temperature gauge over here, you're gonna watch that cuz like, gets things going on here. blabbity blabbity blah, and this goes on for you know, 30 minutes.
Then he goes, "Okay. See ya."
"The only way you're gonna...?"
"Yeah, things are gonna work out."
Yeah, I can't do it. Could you write it down? Like I could at least refer to it from time to time? Can we make this a process? Like, we slowly learned to learn how to do this? And could I ask you questions once in a while if I don't quite understand things? Yes. That's what the Holy Spirit did a) when he wrote it down for us in Scripture. Thanks be to God. I don't have to remember it. I just have to remember where it is. And go read it. And, you know, so and then he explains it to me as I go.
I read it. What does that mean? The Holy Spirit comes along and He guides me in the truth. "I have said these things to you while I'm still with you but the advocate the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have sent to you." Everything we need to know is taught to us by Jesus. Everything that we need to know, we will learn everything we need to know for ourselves, everything we need to know to try to help other people teach other people is given to us. For us to know it. Because that's the key, right? I need to know it.
Now he could give me that book on how to fly the airplane. And I could decide not to read it, and hop in that plane. I gotta know, I got to learn what it is. All I have said to you. And he will be there to remind us. It's just our conditioning. You know, we forget. Each day his mercies are new. Am I right? Yeah, it's yeah, I need to get up and go, Oh, what is his mercy? What am I to do? And that's how we live our lives. One day at a time, serving God, trying to know God. It's not something that we're going to be able to, you know, don't worry about getting overwhelmed with what all this says we're just one day at a time. He's gonna guide us in the truth. We just have to keep suiting up and showing up kind of like Corrie Ten Boom, did. She stood up, she showed up to proclaim the gospel of Christ's forgiveness. She didn't think in advance what if some guy comes--no, it just happened. And in that moment, the Holy Spirit was there to remind her, this is what you do, you reach your hand out.
Start there. Okay. Just start there. I'll make sure it works. Then, as he then he's preparing to leave. Of course, I think I've talked about this recently, too. He lets them know, you know, this is the gift I'm leaving, my peace I leave with you. The Holy Spirit, the Word of God in Scripture, that's his piece. That's where I can go to know when I become discomforted or uncomfortable or worried I can go to his word. That's his peace. My Peace I leave with you My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Let me remind you that my kingdom is not of this world. My kingdom is in your heart.
See in this world, how do I get my peace? I think I get my peace. It's a mistake. And it feels right. But it doesn't work, is I think I get my peace from getting my way. Right? I'm all in a snafu about something that's going on at work. And I have to get my way and I'm, you know, upset. And so sometimes I'm nice. Sometimes. I mean, I'm just working it. I wake up in the middle of the night, I know what I'll do, I'll say this, then they'll say that, then this will happen. That'll happen, then I'll have peace. That's gotta happen in order for me to have peace. Because we'll be you know, the old thing I always talk about to you know, if I just buy this one thing, then I'll have peace. Then I'll be happy. Well, what happens is that I love that thing. And the best two days of boat ownership: the day you buy it, and the day you sell it. I love it, though. Well, that's true. There are Earth, it's temporary. This peace we try to give ourselves is fleeting and temporary, then it goes away. And we have to keep searching for it over and over and over again. It's not till we find our rest in God, that we find the peace that passes all understanding. And that's the peace that Jesus is giving us. Because it's not about that it's not about getting your way. It's about being made free in the truth of Christ's love. And that doesn't have to do with me getting my way in the world back me getting where the world gets in my way of Christ's love for me and for others.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid. I love that line. There's a commandment I like. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.
Don't be afraid of anything in the past. Anything that's presently going on. Anything in the future that you're worried about. Don't be afraid. I have overcome the world. If you put all your faith and trust in me, love me, obey me, I have overcome the world. That's the answer you need, not to try to suit the world to fit the world to suit yourself. But to realize that I, this world is messed up, but I have overcome the world. It's in me that you will find your peace.
I love what Paul says, this is a great suggestion for us all. He says, "Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, keep your minds on the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father." See what if I'm laying there in bed one night, and these troubled problems pop into my head. And I'm trying to figure out how to solve them and how to get my way. Yada, yada, yada. And then this word comes to me, I go wait a minute. I'm supposed to have my mind raised to Christ, raised above where Christ is. Supposed to keep my mind on those things, you know what happens? I fall asleep. I go back to sleep. Because Oh, yeah, that's right. Christ is my king, my Savior, he's overcome the world. I do not have to let my heart be troubled by anything. Plus to this business of trying to find our peace by managing things here in this world is just about this world. We know this is going to end. But God's peace goes on and on and on forever. Because why? Because we go to be with Him forever. I'm going away says and I'm coming to you. I'm gonna leave I'm gonna come to you, just remember that. I'm not leaving you. I'm gonna send you the Holy Spirit. But I'm not leaving. Of course He comes to them right after the after the resurrection. He appears to them right? Then he leaves again. It is the ascension, goes up to heaven, says, don't worry, I will come back. I'll be with you to the end of the age. And then he's going to come back.
Well we have the same peace in us. You know, we say to each other, like on that last day. We're going to take our last breath here on mortal Earth. I'm going away. But I'm coming to you. That's the truth. Going to sing that song today about going home, see my mother. That is good, too. So the gospel. Christ is overcome the grave. In Him, we overcome the grave. There is our peace that passes all understanding. If all I have is this world, I'm in trouble. And I'm going to be fretful and fitful. But that's not I have a place in heaven, prepared by Jesus, for me to go to. He says, "Look, if you love me, you will rejoice that I'm going to the Father because the Father is greater than I." It's sort of like the call, like I think we read to the Father is great. Because you get to understand, so I'm here with you and with, you know, it's great. But you're still going to have trouble. But take heart, I've overcome the world but, but I'm going to the Father, which is greater than this thing that's happening here. There is no sin. There is no conflict. There is only love in the presence of God the Father. That's where I'm going and rejoice. Because I'm bringing you there with me. You should rejoice that I'm going to the Father. He says in another spot, you know, I gotta go to the Father so I can have the Holy Spirit sent to you, to be with you.
So all this, he told them before it occurred so that when it does occur, you may believe. Well, all those things happened. He resurrected, He came to them. He ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to them and to us. These things have happened. We can believe everything else that he said is going to happen. We're going to go home to the Father. We're going to see all our beloved there who died in Christ. No more tears. And it's all in the counsel of God. It's all done. I told you this so you may believe. There's no change of plans. This is the plan, this is what's going to happen.
Just believe that. Okay, sink all your trust and faith in me. Do the work that the Father has given you to do. Believe in me and obey. And you will find peace and happiness. Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank You again for the gift of your word, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you've had your words set down for us, that we can always return to and look at and grow in and listen to. We pray, Father, God, that you would your Holy Spirit would continue to open our hearts and our minds to it and guide us to it so that we would desire to know and that we would want to know what he what your word is teaching us. And then of course, we pray we would you would, through your power of your Spirit, help us as we put it into action in our lives, and put it into action as we try to show others the glory of Your love and salvation. So Father, thank you again for this morning we can come together to worship you and to listen to your word, and help us Father God as we go out from here to put it to work in our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.