Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.
Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11.
26 In that day you will ask in my name. I’m not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. 28 I left the Father and came into the world. I tell you again: I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “See! Now you speak plainly; you aren’t using figures of speech. 30 Now we know that you know everything and you don’t need anyone to ask you. Because of this we believe you have come from God.”
31 Jesus replied, “Now you believe? 32 Look! A time is coming—and is here!—when each of you will be scattered to your own homes and you will leave me alone. I’m not really alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”
Today’s passage is part of Jesus’ “farewell discourse” (John 14-16), teaching his disciples on the night before his crucifixion. Jesus knew what was coming, so the timing is worth noting in the same way that we might pay special attention to the last sermon of a pastor who was terminally ill. The disciples often struggled to understand Jesus’ teaching (see verse 29), but they were starting to understand two important points he was teaching them: access and hope.
Lord Jesus, thank you for promising to be with me always, especially in the hard times. Thank you for the awareness I can have that you have conquered the world. Help me to live in this truth. Amen.
Recently, I had to explain to my four-year-old grandson, Kiah, that his “papa” died. Papa was a thoughtful and compassionate man with a very gentle heart, especially when he had a cute, curly-headed, precocious little boy sitting on his lap. Papa lived well, serving his community, caring for his family, and undoubtedly leaving this world far better off because of the ways he lived out his faith during his 80-some years here on Earth.
I dreaded having to break this news to Kiah, as this was his first experience processing the death of someone he loved, and he loved his papa. Just thinking about it brought me to tears knowing he is a little too young to fully comprehend death and dying (and then there was my own grief to process–I loved Papa too).
While I can lean on my faith and stand confidently in the words Jesus shares in today’s scripture, Kiah hasn’t matured into this faith yet for himself. I talked to some pastor friends and did some reading about developmentally appropriate ways to talk about death with a preschool-aged child as I prepared for this important conversation.
Sitting down with him, my heart was heavy as I explained that Papa died, and we wouldn’t be seeing him anymore. It felt like an incomplete conversation to not talk about the path Jesus prepared before us, but that concept is a bit over his head right now. I was reminded when reading verse 29 that it’s not just the littlest ones who need plain words to really get it. Jesus cutting right to the point was what finally helped his disciples understand the Jesus had come from God.
I could watch his brain trying to process this new concept. His eyes searched the room seeming to look for a different narrative than what I had to offer. Ultimately, as the conversation continued, it was far less sad than I anticipated it would be. While Kiah didn’t like this new reality, he did seem to understand it as reality, a part of life that we all will eventually go through.
I think, in these moments, whether with the littlest ones or with the ones with the littlest faith, it’s our own faith that becomes the evidence others need to finally believe. I pray that my faith models for this little boy a life confident in the peace that Jesus brings and the truth that we are never alone, even in death’s unwelcome presence.
* From The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.