Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Connect Group – 15- Who does Jesus say He is? Part 4

Text: John 14: 1-7

Icebreaker: Have you ever got lost on a journey? What was it like? How did you find your way in the end? How did it feel when you finally got to your destination?

Today’s group is the last one in a series about who Jesus says He is. We’ve talked about how He is the Shepherd, the Bread of life and the Living Water, and today we are going to hear something that puts all of this together and that gives us the big picture about who Jesus says He is. Jesus was talking to His disciples just after he had told them that He would be going to the cross, and that He would be returning to heaven, this is what He said to them……

So what can we understand for our lives in what Jesus said here?

1)    We are going home
Imagine you have been on a long journey. Imagine that it has taken you 60, 70, 80 or even more years than that, to get from where you have been, to being home. Imagine how amazing it would be to walk through the front door, to kick your shoes off, to be comfortable and to know that even though the journey was difficult and there were many challenges as well as many happy times, now you have reached your destination – a place of total joy and complete rest.

Actually, what I have just described is life. None of us know how many years we will have for this journey, but we do know where we are going if we follow Jesus – we are going home. Recently, I heard the story of a note that the inspirational teacher and preacher, Ravi Zacharias, left in his Bible by this passage that we read today. It was found after he died and it simply said “I am home”.

Here Jesus says that heaven is like a home – a place of many rooms and a place of welcome, a place that is prepared and made ready so that after our long journey in a broken world, we can know what it is to be complete and whole with God in a place of peace and joy. We will spend our time in this home lost in wonder and praise in a way that we see little glimpses of when God breaks through into our lives now.

What good things do you see in your life now that gives you a glimpse of being at home with God?


2)    There is no Plan B
A little boy once was concerned for his Aunty because he knew that she was going to drive home in a snowstorm, he repeated the advice that he had heard from someone else but that seemed the most sensible thing to say in the circumstances – “Go straight home”. His Aunty took his advice, went the quickest way home and arrived there safely.

But going straight home when we are talking about heaven can seem a lot less straightforward. When Jesus was talking to His disciples, one of them, Thomas, had the courage to show that he was not seeing the way to go. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus’s answer says – you don’t have to know the path, you just have to follow me – I am the Way and I will take you there. He says “I am the Way, not a way, or one way, but the way.

We can say that what Jesus says here is that there is ‘No Plan B.’ If we want to go home, to the place that God has prepared for us, then the amazing truth is that Jesus came so that we could follow Him to it.  

3)    There is life before life
When we get home, to the place God has prepared – it will be more amazing than we can describe. But God has not put up a big stop sign that says we have to sit here and wait for the time that we can go home, doing nothing, being miserable with what we have now, because it isn’t anything compared to what we will have then.

Jesus said “I am the way”, but he also said “I am the truth and the life”. In Jesus we have the answer for any lie that we can tell ourselves or let other people tell us about who we are and we have a clear mirror that shows us the potential we have in our lives for transformation and renewal when the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Jesus came so that we could choose salvation; but he also came so that we could have an abundant life – a life where he flows through us and out into the world, a life where we can know joy and peace even in the middle of the chaos and the difficulties. Jesus came to give us life now, and life in eternity – what an amazing and precious gift that is. Through the Holy Spirit God makes a home in us now, until the time that he chooses, when we will be at home with Him.

Just take a moment to think about what it means to you that Jesus is the truth and the life of your life. Take a moment to think what that would mean for the people who you see struggling and lost in your family, or amongst your friends.
Conclusion:
It is without doubt that there are many things in this life that will cause us pain, that will make life difficult, that will challenge and test us, sometimes to the point that we don’t know how to take another step on this journey towards ‘home’. But what Jesus says here is for all of us “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

This isn’t because we are going to pretend that life is easy, it isn’t because we are going to sail through all the difficulties that might come – but it is that we trust what Jesus said:
 “I am the way – I am the Good Shepherd”
 “I am the Truth – I am the Bread of Life”
 “I am the Life – I am the Living Water”
We can never be lost once we know Jesus and we are following Him along the path to home.
Let’s pray.

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Connect Group 22 – Be careful with what is inside!

Text: James 3.10-12.   Icebreaker: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12.34). What do you think about this phrase? ...