As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m not big on decisions, but I’ve made one, I’m preaching John 14 this week. Now that that’s out of the way, it is time to begin praying about and pondering where I should enter the text this week. And boy, what a text it is: only seven verses long, it is packed with depth. The whole thing is so chock-full of rhetorical value, the folks over at Sermon Brainwave have suggested that this might be a week in which a preacher focuses just on a single verse, or even a few words, in order to craft a sermon. As I read the pericope, here are my initial thoughts.
- John 14:23-24 “Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.”
- The opening phrase of the assigned lesson, the preacher could spend considerable time dissecting what Jesus means by “my word” and what a life lived in pursuit of keeping the word of Jesus (i.e. the word of the Father cf. v. 24) might look like.
- John 14:25-26 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
- As Easter winds down and we begin to transition into Pentecost and ordinary time, a sneak preview of what it means to live with the Paraclete: Advocate, Intercessor, Helper, Companion, Friend. This promise (which begins before this pericope begins) will be fulfilled, in John’s Gospel, on Easter Day as Jesus appears in the upper room and breathes the Spirit into 10 of the 11 remaining Apostles.
- John 14:27a “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
- JKT has moved temporarily into the office next door to me, which is bad news for my productivity (and his, I’m afraid), but good news for readers of this blog because JKT enjoys word studies. He wondered about the word translated leave, as it carries connotations of a full removal. How does Jesus fully leave behind this peace to his disciples? Additionally, you could look at what it means to have the peace of Christ.
- John 14:27b-29 “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
- I don’t even know where to begin with this section of the text. There’s Jesus’ admonition, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” which is a repeat of John 14.1. You could preach on the relationship between Jesus and his Father. Or, you could look at verse 29 and compare it to John’s mission statement in 20:30-31.
Lots of good stuff to preach this week. Now, to narrow it down so I don’t ramble for 30 minutes about nothing in particular come Sunday morning.