This Sunday, we focus on a portion of what is known as Jesus’ “farewell address” to his disciples. This farewell encompasses a jam-packed two chapters in John’s Gospel, beginning with Chapter 14. It is here that we find the last of Jesus’ “I AM” sayings: “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower.”
Not long before, Jesus and his disciples gather to celebrate the Passover meal in Jerusalem … where Jesus foretells his betrayal, washes his disciples’ feet, and mandates a new commandment: “Love one another.” The meal has ended. And Jesus and his disciples leave the “last supper” table to wend their way through the city, with Jesus teaching all the way.
It’s easy to imagine Jesus on the move, with the disciples trying to keep up – craning their ears to catch every word – puzzled and saddened by what they hear. Jesus wants to be sure they (we) understand that, even as he must leave, we are not alone. He wants to be sure they (we) hear that God is providing a companion guide in the Holy Spirit. He wants to be sure they (we) know and remember and act upon what’s most important.
We begin Chapter 14 with Jesus telling the disciples to set aside their fear, for he is going to the Father to prepare place for those who follow him. We’ve heard these comforting words of promise at many a funeral. But there’s more to be heard …
You see, immediately after Jesus promises that his followers will have a place in the eternal Kingdom, we arrive at our Father’s Day scripture. “Keep my commandments,” Jesus says. “You aren’t alone – you’ll never be alone.”… “Because I live, you also will live.”…“I promise.”
Interesting, isn’t it, how many of our favorite hymns derive from these 6 jam-packed verses?
God’s Peace …. Pastor Laura