“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” (John 14:1-14 NRSV)
Aren’t the words of Jesus so comforting, so inspiring, and so touching, especially as we know what is ahead for him? I have included the whole passage for your reflection on this Palm Sunday. This is not the typical passage we would read today, but Jesus’ question is very appropriate. “Have I been with you all this time… and you still do not know me?”
As the people gathered to praise Jesus during his seemingly triumphant entry into Jerusalem, they were praising him as the One who would be their Savior, their Messiah who had come to save them from Roman oppression. They had no way of knowing who he really was… the way he really had come to save them. So, as their praises rang out, as their palm branches waved, Jesus could have asked them as well: “Have I been with you all this time… and you still do not know me?”
Today his question is for us. How do we “still not know” Jesus?
Let’s consider the ways our friendships deepen. What begins as a brief encounter or introduction evolves into friendship as we learn more about each other. We grow to know and understand each other in a deeper way from sharing more of life together. Eventually we enjoy a mutual give-and-take in our relationship that blesses us both. But the closest friends- the ones we know and love deeply- are the ones in whom we can be fully transparent, the ones with whom we have shared challenges as well as victories, the ones we trust to share our inner insecurities and anxieties, and the ones we count on to provide insight, guidance and perspective- all with unwavering love.
Could it be that we will come to know Jesus better by “allowing” him to know us better? With Jesus, do we attempt to put on a first impression instead of an honest and deep sharing of our souls? Will our friendship and love for Jesus deepen as we become more truthful and open with him- even about our failures, insecurities, and anxieties? Will our trust increase as we learn to entrust him with everything?
The truth is, Jesus already knows us completely. But as we increasingly open ourselves to him, Jesus will increasingly be able to reveal himself to us.
Jesus knows God because God dwells in him. Their relationship is that close. “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” We can know Jesus because his Spirit dwells in us. Our relationship can be that close. But we must do the necessary work of real relationships.
This week, we have an invitation to deepen our relationship with Jesus. We will walk with Jesus through this Holy Week, to the table, to Gethsemane, to the cross, to the tomb. We will listen to his words, experience his trials, share our hearts, and follow his path of love. Along the way, let’s open ourselves to him in honesty, confession, trust, humility, joy, and love. As we journey together, may we all come to know him better and to love him more completely.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Have I been with you all this time… and you still do not know me?”
How will you make this Holy Week a time to know Jesus more completely? To know yourself more completely? How will you make this Holy Week a time to love Jesus more deeply? To love yourself more deeply?
Have I been with you all this time… and you still do not know me?