5th Sunday of Easter

Rev Deborah celebrates the Eucharist, with a Reflection by our ALM Carol.

You can read Carol’s reflection again here:

Have you ever seen a tightrope walker at a circus?  If you have you know he walks across a wire that is stretched high in the air with just a pole to balance him.  Well, there was once a tightrope walker that decided to go across Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow to balance him. As he put his wire across the falls, a crowd gathered.  They waited breathlessly as he walked slowly across the wire pushing the wheelbarrow.  When he reached the other side, the crowd cheered. He then turned to the crowd and asked, “Do you think I can make it back across?”  They shouted, “Yes!”  He asked again, “Do you really believe I can?”  They answered, “We just saw you cross it, of course you can!” The tightrope walker replied, “Then come get into the wheelbarrow and go with me.”

Our Gospel story today is about trust.  Can we trust Jesus enough with our lives to “get into the wheelbarrow” and go with Him?

It was the final night of Jesus’ life. He and His disciples were in the upper room taking part in the Passover meal.  It was the night that He would be betrayed and arrested.  He was giving last minute instructions to His disciples before going to the cross.  He was trying to prepare them for what was coming.  He was telling them not to be afraid and to trust Him no matter what happened.  Even when it doesn’t seem like it, Jesus is in control!  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Jesus was telling the disciples not to be afraid, they trusted in God and now they were to trust Jesus too.  These disciples had just spent the past three years living, working, and traveling with Jesus. Now, He would be taken from them.  He was going to die a cruel death.  What would happen to the disciples now?  Jesus wanted to remind them not look at their circumstances but focus on Him. 

We can also trust Jesus with every part of our lives both now and in the future.  Sometimes things may happen in our lives that we don’t fully understand or that frighten us.  But like Jesus’ disciples, we can put our eyes on Jesus and not on the problems.  When we do, we will find that our problems are not nearly as big and powerful as our mighty God!  When you feel afraid, just trust in Jesus.    

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?”

“In my Father’s house” refers to heaven.  Even when we die, Jesus will be with us.  He is preparing a place made especially for each of us where we will spend eternity with Him.  Jesus really cares about us. Sometimes when we go through difficult times it is good to think about eternity, to think about our heavenly home and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.  It helps us to see the “big picture.”  Even though this life may at times be tough or difficult, God is working something much greater in our lives and preparing a bright future and eternity with Him.   

Doesn’t it feel good to know that we can trust Jesus?  He told His disciples that if any of these things He was sharing with them weren’t true, He would have told them.  We know that whatever Jesus tells us is true.  Every promise found in His word will come to pass no matter what, because God always stands behind His word.  Jesus is now preparing a place for you and for me.  We will not be alone, we are never alone, that has to be the best news we have ever heard. 

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.”

Jesus is making a promise to us here.  Since Jesus is preparing a special place for us in His Father’s house, He will come back to get us and personally take us there so that we can live with Him forever. Sometimes, when things seem to be going wrong, or we feel lost and confused, it’s good to remember that this world is only temporary; Jesus is preparing an eternal home that will make this world seem like a memory. Jesus wants us to believe and trust that we will be with Him forever.  

So, I ask what should we be doing right now?  Yes, we are to be watching and waiting for Jesus’ return.  We repeat and believe this each week at Communion “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” It could be very soon.  We need to live our lives in such a way that we would be found pleasing when He returns. 

“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.” 

While on this earth we must share the gospel of Jesus with our family, friends and neighbours. In this, our Year of Service, we must pray for God to use us as instruments in his service to reach the world. Pray to speak in ways that reflect Jesus today. Let us be ready to do those works depending on the plan that God has made for us. 

And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus was referring to heaven when He said, “where I am going” and He said “you know way,” because He had been teaching the disciples this throughout the 3 years of His ministry. But like so many things Jesus taught the disciples, they didn’t fully understand.  This sparked a question from Thomas who said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Thomas was asking an honest question.  He was saying that he didn’t understand where Jesus was going or how to get there.  He didn’t comprehend that Jesus was going to die on the cross for our sins, so that we could go to heaven. He needed to know, just as Jesus needs to know that we can trust Him with our lives, with our feelings, with our problems, with anything.  Nothing is too small or too big.  Even when we lose our direction, He is willing to show us the way, the right path to follow.  All we have to do is ask.  

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is telling us very clearly that He is the only way to God the Father, to heaven and eternal life.  He is the truth of the gospel.  He is the Messiah, the Promised One.  To go to heaven, we have to believe and put our trust in Jesus.  It is not enough just to say we believe in Jesus, like the crowd said they believed the tightrope walker could go back across the falls. We have to make a decision to put our trust in Jesus and put ourselves in His hands, in the wheelbarrow, just like the tightrope walker challenged the people to do.  We need to trust Jesus with our lives, not just our lips.  We need to follow Jesus’ way, the only way!  

He is the only way to heaven, to the Father’s home.  There is no other way.  We need to place our full trust in Jesus and then we will receive eternal life. Know Jesus; believe in Jesus; follow Jesus; obey Jesus; love Jesus. Jesus is the way because, if you know Jesus, then you know the Father also. 

I leave you with these words from a well-known hymn

Father I place into your hands the things I cannot do. Father I place into your hands the things that I’ve been through. Father I place into your hands the way that I should go, for I know I always can trust you. Amen.

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