‘Union’: John 14.15–24 (23 March 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.

Pray

Pray

Lord, have mercy. Cleanse me. Still my mind. Help me to listen as you speak.

Read

Read

Regulations for the Sabbath

1Moses called together the whole community of the people of Israel and said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded you to do: 2You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is to be sacred, a solemn day of rest dedicated to me, the LORD. Anyone who does any work on that day is to be put to death. 3Do not even light a fire in your homes on the Sabbath.”

Offerings for the Sacred Tent

4Moses said to all the people of Israel, “This is what the LORD has commanded: 5Make an offering to the LORD. Everyone who wishes to do so is to bring an offering of gold, silver, or bronze; 6fine linen; blue, purple, and red wool; cloth made of goats' hair; 7rams' skin dyed red; fine leather; acacia wood; 8oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense; 9carnelians and other jewels to be set in the High Priest's ephod and in his breastpiece.

Articles for the Tent of the LORD's Presence

10“All the skilled workers among you are to come and make everything that the LORD commanded: 11the Tent, its covering and its outer covering, its hooks and its frames, its crossbars, its posts, and its bases; 12the Covenant Box, its poles, its lid, and the curtain to screen it off; 13the table, its poles, and all its equipment; the bread offered to God; 14the lampstand for the light and its equipment; the lamps with their oil; 15the altar for burning incense and its poles; the anointing oil; the sweet-smelling incense; the curtain for the entrance of the Tent; 16the altar on which to burn offerings, with its bronze grating attached, its poles, and all its equipment; the washbasin and its base; 17the curtains for the enclosure, its posts and bases; the curtain for the entrance of the enclosure; 18the pegs and ropes for the Tent and the enclosure; 19and the magnificent garments the priests are to wear when they serve in the Holy Place — the sacred clothes for Aaron the priest and for his sons.”

The People Bring their Offerings

20All the people of Israel left, 21and everyone who wished to do so brought an offering to the LORD for making the Tent of the LORD's presence. They brought everything needed for use in worship and for making the priestly garments. 22All who wanted to, both men and women, brought decorative pins, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewellery and dedicated them to the LORD. 23Everyone who had fine linen; blue, purple, or red wool; cloth of goats' hair; rams' skin dyed red; or fine leather, brought it. 24All who were able to contribute silver or bronze brought their offering for the LORD, and all who had acacia wood which could be used for any of the work brought it. 25All the skilled women brought fine linen thread and thread of blue, purple, and red wool, which they had made. 26They also made thread of goats' hair. 27The leaders brought carnelians and other jewels to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece 28and spices and oil for the lamps, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet-smelling incense. 29All the people of Israel who wanted to brought their offering to the LORD for the work which he had commanded Moses to do.

Workers to Make the Tent of the LORD's Presence

30Moses said to the Israelites, “The LORD has chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah. 31God has filled him with his power and given him skill, ability, and understanding for every kind of artistic work, 32for planning skilful designs and working them in gold, silver and bronze; 33for cutting jewels to be set; for carving wood; and for every other kind of artistic work. 34The LORD has given to him and to Oholiab son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their crafts to others. 35He has given them skill in all kinds of work done by engravers, designers, and weavers of fine linen; blue, purple, and red wool; and other cloth. They are able to do all kinds of work and are skilful designers.

Jesus the Way to the Father

1“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. 2There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. 3And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. 4You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.”

5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?”

6Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. 7Now that you have known me,” he said to them, “you will know my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him.”

8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.”

9Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. 12I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do — yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. 14If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you for ever. 17He is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you.

18“When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. 20When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you.

21“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”

22Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, how can it be that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

23Jesus answered him, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.

25“I have told you this while I am still with you. 26The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.

27“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am leaving, but I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father; for he is greater than I. 29I have told you this now before it all happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. 30I cannot talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, 31but the world must know that I love the Father; that is why I do everything as he commands me.

“Come, let us go from this place.

1The LORD hates people who use dishonest scales. He is happy with honest weights.

2People who are proud will soon be disgraced. It is wiser to be modest.

3If you are good, you are guided by honesty. People who can't be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.

4Riches will do you no good on the day you face death, but honesty can save your life.

5Honesty makes a good person's life easier, but the wicked will cause their own downfall.

6Righteousness rescues those who are honest, but those who can't be trusted are trapped by their own greed.

7When the wicked die, their hope dies with them. Confidence placed in riches comes to nothing.

8The righteous are protected from trouble; it comes to the wicked instead.

9You can be ruined by the talk of godless people, but the wisdom of the righteous can save you.

10A city is happy when honest people have good fortune, and there are joyful shouts when the wicked die.

11A city becomes great when the righteous give it their blessing; but a city is brought to ruin by the words of the wicked.

12It is foolish to speak scornfully of others. If you are sensible, you will keep quiet.

13No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who is trustworthy.

14A nation will fall if it has no guidance. Many advisers mean security.

15If you promise to pay a stranger's debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don't get involved.

16A gracious woman is respected, but a woman without virtue is a disgrace.

Lazy people will never have money, but aggressive people will get rich.

17You do yourself a favour when you are kind. If you are cruel, you only hurt yourself.

18Wicked people do not really gain anything, but if you do what is right, you are certain to be rewarded.

19Anyone who is determined to do right will live, but anyone who insists on doing wrong will die.

20The LORD hates evil-minded people, but loves those who do right.

21You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the righteous will escape.

22Beauty in a woman without good judgement is like a gold ring in a pig's snout.

23What good people want always results in good; when the wicked get what they want, everyone is angry.

24Some people spend their money freely and still grow richer. Others are cautious, and yet grow poorer.

25Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped.

26People curse someone who hoards grain, waiting for a higher price, but they praise the one who puts it up for sale.

27If your goals are good, you will be respected, but if you are looking for trouble, that is what you will get.

28Those who depend on their wealth will fall like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer.

29Those who bring trouble on their families will have nothing at the end.

Foolish people will always be servants to the wise.

30Righteousness gives life, but violence takes it away.

31Those who are good are rewarded here on earth, so you can be sure that wicked and sinful people will be punished.

The Unity of the Body

1I urge you, then — I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6there is one God and Father of all, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.

7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8As the scripture says:

“When he went up to the very heights,

he took many captives with him;

he gave gifts to people.”

9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. 14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.

The New Life in Christ

17In the Lord's name, then, I warn you: do not continue to live like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless 18and whose minds are in the dark. They have no part in the life that God gives, for they are completely ignorant and stubborn. 19They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint.

20That was not what you learnt about Christ! 21You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. 22So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

25No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to one another, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27Don't give the Devil a chance. 28Those who used to rob must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for themselves and to be able to help the poor. 29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: John 14

Philip and Thomas have burning questions (John 14.5 and 8): where is Jesus headed? How can they know the way? What is God like? It is the questions, not the illusion of having the answers, that bring the disciples closer to Christ.

And it is the theme of closeness and intimacy to which Jesus keeps coming back: ‘I will take you to myself’ (verse 3); ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (verse 10); ‘the Spirit of truth will be in you’ (verse 17). Jesus gives us the breathtaking invitation to enter the realm of the triune God and join the mystical union: ‘You will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you’ (verse 20).

Jesus’ language reminds me of the human experience of being fully immersed in something or someone – those precious moments when the boundaries between us and the other begin to blur, when our focus on the task we’re immersed in, or the person we love or admire, is so strong that it makes us forget about ourselves.

Unsurprisingly, Jesus links the mystical union with love: ‘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’ (verse 23).

Pray

Pray

Lord, help me to love you, by desiring you and by doing your will.

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