Jesus’ comforting words meet us in the shattering of holy week.
Reading today’s observations on some of Jesus’ words to his disciples during holy week is like reading my own journals from the past few years. As I read, the name I gave that season sprang to my mind quickly, unforgettable: the shattering.
The term describes the same season that the disciples experienced here in John 14 — the way I thought things would go in India didn’t go that way at all. Sure, I finished my term, and I loved that place with my whole heart, but so much shattered around me: my calling, the identity I knew tied to being there, being a missionary.
The disciples too had a very fixed idea of how following Jesus would go. Conquering hero. Not suffering servant, as they were getting glimpses of as holy week continues.
That’s why Philip speaks up here. The foundations of the world he imagined with Jesus are cracking under him. And so he asks these questions:
What way will we take?
Will you show us the father?
It is all too easy to read Jesus’ responses to him as crass, uncaring. But really he is just reminding them that there’s been another foundation beneath them & their steps this whole time: himself.
Let’s take a deep breath and repeat that for ourselves–
There’s been another foundation under us the whole time: himself.
When the foundations of how the disciples thought this would go are shaking, Jesus is offering his hand.
This is true for us today, when we experience that drop, with no indication of a parachute or reason.
Where the glass is cracking, he is present.— Erin H Moon
He is the way, the truth, even the very life that defines our own lives. The words he speaks are Father God’s. To see Jesus is to see the Father.
And that is exactly what the disciples (and us) need to know.
For a long time, I wanted different answers and different explanations for my own shattering. I wanted to know why; I wanted to see things coming out of the pieces around me, not look beneath them to find something else there, constant. I wanted new expectations to numb the disappointment I felt. I wanted the pieces to define the chaos.
Jesus doesn’t always offer those things.
In my own shattering, I needed a foundation to help me see the peace newly defined beneath the pieces scattered around me. I needed a foundation to build upon, instead of a new glass house–fragile enough to shatter again–to build my life in.
Holy week is shattering expectations for the disciples. This isn’t always what we want, but it is certainly what we need. Jesus’ words offer comfort to them:
“I’m what you are looking for. Expectations will let you down; I will not. Holy Week is a shattering experience, breaking down your own stories for the foundation of all great stories: direction, truth, and life–true life–itself. Here’s my hand. Let’s walk this together.”