Part 1: LEAVING PASSIVITY
Jesus is always challenging the status quo. He knows we desperately need to be challenged because we are prone to settle into ease. We’re inclined to find our niche based more on comfort than on candor, on affect rather than effect. Even our passions tend to take on a repetitive air eventually; what may have begun with zeal gradually wanes into routine—“There is nothing new under the sun…”
I want to be looking for a few days at Jesus’ interaction with his disciples on his last evening with them before his crucifixion. There’s a lot of red font as my Bible recounts it—a plethora of final instructions before the Teacher leaves His students. Jesus’ discourse in John 14:8-25 reveals some fantastic claims regarding the emergent era of prayer His leaving would precipitate. As apprentices of prayer the riches are worth exploring.
Today, I just want to crack open the window; I want to let in a sliver of light and a breath of the fresh breeze of Jesus’ teaching; next time we’ll step through the door and move out into the bright sunlight and tall dewy grasses of His thoughts on prayer.
Today, I just want to look at an interaction between Jesus and his friend and disciple, Philip. Jesus has been reiterating the unity between Himself and His Father, God. Philip, good traditional Jew that he is, reveals his predilection for the One-God concept.
“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us,” he asserts.
Jesus sees the status quo in Philip’s comment. Philip wants to revert to Judaism’s deep-rooted simple monotheism: it’s right, it’s true, it’s comfortable. Philip wants ease. He wants passivity. He wants to be shown the Father, that’s all.
But Jesus wants to take him (and us) a step further. Yes, there is only One God. But I’ve been with you for three years now, Philip, reminds Jesus. Haven’t you figured out that I am One with the Father in a way that no mere human could be? I am going to reveal to you something else, Jesus continues. This may explode your comfortable thoughts about the Father you want to see. There is a third expression of the Godhead even: a Counselor, a Spirit of truth that will turn you upside-down. No more passivity. This life I’m calling you to is more active than your wildest imagining. I’m leaving in the physical sense, explains Jesus, but you are going to be embarking on the journey of a lifetime in readiness to meet me. Toss out ease. Jettison complacency. This will take faith because this will move you into the strangest realm in which you’ve ever moved. Are you ready?