While Jesus Is Gone
We were greatly blessed when raising our children by the fact that we lived so close to grandparents. Of course, that used to be the way that everyone raised their kids, but the world has gotten bigger and now most people live far away from extended family. But we had reliable and (usually) willing babysitters that allowed us to get away by ourselves and concentrate on being a husband and wife without being a Mommy and Daddy. The first time we left Tressa with my parents to out to dinner wasn't very pleasant… for anyone. We left a couple of bottles with new nipples that we had forgotten to poke holes through. So Mom was trying to feed an increasingly angry baby with a bottle that wasn't helping at all. That evening out didn't last even close to a whole evening!
Fortunately, babies and grandmothers have short memories, and it was a blessing to us all to have two sets of grandparents so close. Anytime we left the girls, whether for a night or for a longer time, we always gave the same two-part speech--
- We told them “We’ll be back soon.” Sometimes there was separation anxiety, especially when the girls were little. We didn't want them to think we were abandoning them so we assured them that we'd be right back and that everything would be OK. They did not have to be afraid because “We’ll be back soon.”
- We also told them “Be good while we’re gone.” We wanted the time to be pleasant for both their grandparents and for them (because we wan’t to keep this free babysitter deal). We didn't want the fact that we were gone to let them think that all our expectations would also be gone as well. So we insisted that they “be good while we’re away.”
In our reading today from John 14, Jesus gives the same parental speech to his apostles. He was preparing them for his coming departure, and he wants to reassure them. He begins with, “Everything is going to be OK.”
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And 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. You know the way to the place where I am going. (John 14:1–4)
The crucifixion would be a traumatic event, but Jesus wants them to understand that they don’t need to be afraid because he was coming back. But Jesus gives them the second part of the parental speech—they were to behave while he was gone.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. ” (John 14:10–13, NIV)
They were to continue to do the things they did while Jesus was with them. Just because Jesus was gone didn’t mean that His expectations of them would be gone as well. They were to continue to do what Jesus had been doing.
Jesus gives us the same speech—we don’t have to be afraid because He is coming back. But do have to behave; we must continue to do the things that he has left for us to do. Why? Because he is coming back!