I love revisiting chapters 14-16 in the book of John. Jesus is chillin’ out nice and relaxin’ all cool with his closest buddies of the past few years, laying out some super relevant information they’re going to need soon once he is betrayed and making the treacherous journey to the cross, death, and ultimately an earth-shattering resurrection from the grave.
But it all pretty much goes over their heads. Jesus is practically composing his own obituary, and they still don’t understand that JESUS IS ABOUT TO DIE. It’s a powerful story moment in which the audience knows something the characters don’t. The crew is over there munching on ciabatta like “Who is this other comforter Jesus is talking about? We don’t need comforting – we’re living the life! We’ve got successful new careers and God in the flesh right here dining with us!” And we’re over here like “Yo, y’all don’t even know!” They’re over there sipping cab like “Jesus, why are you saying all this depressing stuff about leaving us? We’ll get through all this persecution! After all, you’re Jesus – you can’t die!” And we’re over here like “Yo, y’all don’t even know!”
What’s happening here? The disciples have been living life with Jesus for a while – he’s their closest friend, their wise teacher, the faithful leader of their totally new lives. They’ve already left everything behind for him, and they’re doing it! They’re doing the thing! They’re doing life with Jesus! And they expected life with Jesus to just keep going along like this.
They hadn’t yet seen the cross or the resurrection and those events’ implications for the world.
They couldn’t even conceive of the Holy Spirit indwelling – they could not imagine a relationship with God more intimate than having Jesus physically next to them – they hadn’t even thought of having God Himself live inside them.
They didn’t know there was more of God to have.
They thought they had received the fullness of God’s love for them in Jesus’ physical presence and that was it.
A book about revival I started reading once (key word: started) pointed out this amazing tidbit from 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (ESV)
Some other translations use the phrase “from glory to glory.” What a picture of the Christian life! We are invited to spend our lives moving from glory to glory! (Not from disappointment to disappointment!) This is huge.
God made this clear to me recently when I confronted a certain incongruence in my life: I felt a slave to anxiety, yet the Bible teaches that I have been totally set free from such things in Christ. “So then why, after 9 years of dining with you, God, am I STILL not free from anxiety?” I think I expected silence on the other end so I could continue with my self-pity. Instead I immediately got “Because you have yet to experience the fullness of My love for you.”
Whoa. Okay. Game changer. You mean it’s not because I’m not trying hard enough? It’s not because I don’t appreciate God’s love for me enough? It’s not because I’m not disciplined enough in doing all the things “good Christians” do?
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have already experienced a great measure of God’s love for you. You are already a new creation – transformed! If you are still experiencing difficulty in this life, still falling into sin and fear, it is not because God just gave you that first life changing measure and told you to make do from here on out. It is because, just like that first day, He is still knocking, asking you yet again to open the door and let Him lavish even more of His endless love on you.
There is hope. There is more. More grace for you. More transformative love for you. There is always more from the Father, just for you. You have yet to experience the fullness. Simply open the door.
I’ll see you in the next glory.