I’m Still With You
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Bailey Steffen, Kids Programming Coordinator
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 22Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,31but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.”
Here we have one of the most bittersweet goodbyes recorded in history. The clock is ticking, and Jesus is soon to be slain. Unlike the disciples hearing this for the first time, we modern Christians have the privilege of knowing the end of the story—praise be to God, Easter is coming!
But even knowing that Christ won’t stay dead, this is still a goodbye. Sooner than even they realize, the disciples will lose the physical presence of their best friend, teacher and Lord. What must the disciples have felt? Abandonment? Uncertainty? Fear of the powers of evil without Jesus standing next to them? Perhaps you have felt the same.
And yet, Jesus assures both us and them a little later in this same goodbye, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.” (John 16:7) How could this be so? His answer is simple. When Jesus goes back to his Father, he will send the Holy Spirit to those who belong to him.
It’s difficult to fathom, but our capacity for intimacy with Jesus is far greater now than what anyone experienced while he was still walking the earth. For we are no longer merely accompanied—we are invaded.
Walking the paths of Jerusalem only allowed Jesus’ disciples to experience him externally; now we experience him internally. The disciples were only able to hear Jesus’ words while listening to his teachings; now these teachings continuously echo through the halls of our heart and convict us towards what is right. This is all by the power of the Holy Spirit – sealing us, empowering us, and lighting us up like fireflies in the midst of a dark, dark world.
It’s easy to go about life somber and sorry for ourselves about being born on this end of history—I know, I’ve been there before. Sometimes we feel like rejected, broken, plain jars of clay with little importance to the kingdom of God. We feel like we could never be like Peter or Paul—they were alive when Jesus was here, after all!
But oh how much better we’d feel if we could daily peek inside to see the treasure God has placed within us. Through those cracks, we might just be able to sense gleams and glitters shining through that testify, “I’m still with you, Dear One! I’ve given you all you need and more!”
We are in such an in-between time—we still yearn for a face-to-face meeting with Jesus, despite the Spirit being here. But there are rustlings of a new world coming where we will no longer have to substitute one for the other. In the place he is preparing, we’ll have eternal enrichment of the Spirit alongside eternal companionship with Jesus in the flesh, able to finally touch his nail-pierced hands to our own. Oh, how wonderful that new place will be!
Jesus, it’s sometimes hard to not have you here with me in person, but I thank you that you’ve given the Holy Spirit to those who trust in you. Make me more aware of his presence, and allow me to listen to his voice more and more. I ask that he would be a comforter, advocate, wise counselor and friend to my soul. I love you so much, and I’m so excited to meet you face to face one day. Amen.
- What stuck out to you in this passage? Why do you think it grabbed your attention?
- What are some things you noticed about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in this passage? How are they the same? How are they different?
- Have you received the Holy Spirit by accepting Christ before? If not, what’s stopping you?
- Have you ever felt abandoned or unseen by God? How can an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life combat that feeling?
Supplies Needed: string, Bible
Create a string maze for your child(ren). When setting up this maze, have one shorter string that leads to a Bible hidden out of sight. Have one longer string wind around the room including around the furniture but end up back at the beginning. When your kid(s) begin, it should look like there are three strings to choose from.
Have your kid(s) begin winding up the string as they make their way through the maze. Eventually they will figure out one string leads to a Bible, while the other begins and ends at the start.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
- Where did the strings lead?
- One string led to the Bible and other led back to the start. We have many choices in life, just like which string to follow, but God has a specific way for us to live our lives. By following his way of living, as described in the Bible, we are following his path.
- God created us and wants to have a relationship with us! However, we have all sinned and are not perfect. Since Jesus is perfect and didn’t sin, we can come to know God through Jesus. God gave us his only son, Jesus, to die on our behalf so that we can be in a personal relationship with God.
Thank you for sending us Jesus. Thank you for giving us a way to know you and be in relationship with you. Help us to remember to choose your way of living. We love you. Amen.