SUNDAY, JULY 9 | JOHN 13:31-14:31
Have you ever felt uncomfortable when trying something new? Maybe you were uncomfortable starting BOS this summer. Maybe it was when someone handed you a microphone and you suddenly couldn’t speak. Jesus has spent a lot of time with His disciples preparing them for when He would go back to Heaven with God the Father. Their worry is real. But, we’ll learn today how God’s plan is perfect for their lives and that God wants us to be stretched in our faith and actions every day so that His faithfulness can be reflected in all that we do.
Read John 13:31-38
Jesus gives a new command: to love one another. Moses in the Old Testament had been given the 10 commandments where one of them was to love your neighbor as yourself. Here, Jesus tells them to love one another as He has loved them. How are these two different? Which form of love do you think God expects of us? Jesus provided an example of love for His disciples. His love was sacrificial and selfless, not simply focused on others.
Also, in this section, we learn of another fold in the story that will lead to Jesus’ death: Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus at three different times. As you continue reading, try to imagine the next chapter as a movie in your mind. The images and actions described should be vivid in your mind as it will help you understand the depth of the struggle that Jesus’ disciples went through as they anticipated Jesus’ death.
Read John 14:1-4
Jesus just got done telling the disciples that they could not follow Him where He is going. And yet, He reveals two major aspects of Heaven and God’s plan: a home for everyone who believes and the promise of Jesus’ return.
Read John 14:5-21
The idea of the trinity, the three-in-one unity of God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is shown here. The disciples knew Jesus as a human; a human that was the Messiah, provided by God to save the world from their sins. Yet, the idea that He was a part of God, and further that the Holy Spirit would live within them, was a hard concept to understand because, after all, Jesus was standing, in the flesh, right in front of them. How would you describe the importance of God being three-in-one? God the Father, the almighty creator of the Earth and comforter in our time of need. God the Son, the Savior and Redeemer from our sin when we did nothing to deserve it. And God the Holy Spirit, who lives within us and guides us in following the will of God.
Read John 14:22-31
Jesus ends this passage by telling Judas not to worry. Jesus has explained that He will have to go to be with the Father but He will return. What would you have asked if Jesus, the person who has completed transformed your life, is now telling you that He will leave you, you cannot come, but He will return in time and you shouldn’t be worried? How would you have reacted?
As Jesus prepared to go be with God the Father, He spends time reminding His disciples that they are ready. He pushes them to do what they have been prepared to do: love others as Jesus has loved them. Perhaps this summer, you have, at times, felt unprepared, inadequate, or unskilled. Maybe you’ve been pushed out of your comfort zone. But, as one group, one family in BOS, you’ve always had support. If you haven’t left your comfort zone, perhaps you’ve been focusing on being prepared. Perhaps you’ve avoided leaving your comfort zone because you’re not sure that you will be successful. Look for opportunities to continue to stretch yourself today. Maybe it will require you to lead a game, serve someone, spend time with a specific person, or maybe take a step back and learn how to encourage others to be stretched. Spend some time in prayer that God would reveal an opportunity to show His faithfulness through your “stretching” today.