Do you know Him?
My friend Bob recently promised his wife a trip to relax in the warm weather as a break from the weather in Wisconsin and time to reconnect as husband and wife. Their destination was the Dominican Republic. Bob related his story about connecting flights when you try to get to destination: “My wife and I boarded a plane in Milwaukee with a layover in Philadelphia of only forty five minutes. We boarded the plane and were told they discovered a maintenance issue and they hoped it would be a simple fix. Forty five minutes later we were told it wasn't a maintenance issue so we had to get off the plane. Two hours later we were back on the plane and then told there would be another twenty five minute delay because they had to de-ice the plane. We ended up getting to our destination about seven hours later than we were supposed to that day.” In Bob’s story he tried to get information from many people. He talked to the people at the desk at the airlines. No one seem to know anything about what was going to happen next. We can have our plan made but on a regular day or on a vacation day never it make it to the place or destination we planned to go. When things don’t go as planned we may know someone we can call to help us get connected when things don’t work. What if the connecting flight is not an airplane ride from home to a vacation spot but the connecting flight is to heaven. So I ask the question: Do you know Him? Jesus was preparing his disciples for a transition. There would be a big change. He was celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples for the last night but they did not know that. There were things that happened at the meal that they were not prepared for that evening. Jesus spoke about the betrayal of one of his disciples and that he was leaving them. The next day Jesus would be his arrested, put on trial and put to death on the cross. Many things would change in the relationship between the disciples and Jesus and their connection to him. Jesus gave comforting words of what would be different but also what would be the same. “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.’” The disciples were troubled or stirred up inside emotionally because Jesus mentioned that he would leave them. Jesus focused on what would be same. He focused on what they knew and who they knew. His whole ministry mission was to reveal to them the Heavenly Father who made the world and everyone and everything in the world. His focus was trust in God and trust in Him the Son of God who had come to reveal the Father and connect them to the Father. The disciples were challenged that evening. They were in transition. Things were changing. Is it any different with you? Transition does not happen or come at all times but certain times. As a congregation Eastside is going through a transition right now. Pastor Mike is taking a call to serve the Core in Appleton. That is a change. Change happens in our families when a baby comes into the family. Change happens when there is a new job or a move from one house to another house or an apartment. Change happens when you go from grade school to high school or high school to college or to a job. Change happens with marriage. What is our stability in the midst of those changes? Jesus the Son of God told his disciples and he reminds through the Apostle “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.’” Jesus stresses stability in the midst of change by reassuring his disciples of their connecting flight to their final destination. “‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.’” Stability would come from knowing him that is Jesus. Jesus also was going to do to take make sure their connecting flight– or connection was secure and and everything was prepared at their next destination. But we as human beings always seem to have our questions. The disciples didn’t understand and we don’t always understand or agree with the ways of God. Notice how Jesus dealt with Thomas. “5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’6 Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’” Thomas was confused. How could they know the way when they didn’t even know the place? He missed the spiritual point of Jesus’ words. But Jesus teaches his disciples patiently, telling everything we need to know, doing all we need for our salvation. Jesus answered Thomas: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Everything of God has its source and connection in Christ and is reached through Christ. Jesus said: “I am the way.” As Jesus had just said to the disciples, we must keep on trusting in him. We approach the Father through Jesus. Again Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the truth.” We can trust Jesus because all that is real and true is found in him. He is God and through the Word, the Bible, the Holy Spirit reveals the work of his salvation. “I am the life.” Jesus is the source of physical and spiritual life. Whoever believes in him has eternal life. This teaching is exclusive. What a contrast to the popular teaching that says all religions reach God, but just follow different paths. God teaches that there are no other paths. Just as we heard Ells Shields read the lesson about the prophets of Baal and the dual with Elijah in revealing that there is only one God. “No one” comes to the Father except through Jesus. Anyone who has ever been lost in a dark place knows that taking the wrong path makes a person even more hopelessly lost. So it is with the spiritually lost. Only one way leads to safety, to salvation—Jesus. As we heard in Bob’s story about connecting flights, Jesus is the only connecting flight to heaven. To know the Son is to know the Father. With Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, the view comes into focus. The disciples should have known, but they often couldn’t see past their earthly limitations. Jesus’ work of redemption and finally Pentecost would give clear vision. But we as humans can still have questions. Philip another disciple and an apostle of Jesus had a question. “8 Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’” All the disciples were struggling to understand. Philip offered what seemed a very good solution. Jesus could simply show the Father to them. Apparently he felt Jesus could have God the Father make some kind of appearance. Jesus answer was to know him meaning Jesus. The disciples would know the Father if they knew his Son. Instead, they were struggling with some of the same issues as the unbelieving Jews. But they did not approach the problem from a position of unbelief and hardened hearts. Jesus corrected Philip sharply: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?” Then he stated the simple truth: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Philip needed only to open his eyes and see who was standing right in front of him. Jesus emphasized the truth of his unique oneness with the Father. Jesus was never separated from the Father. He was in the Father, and the Father was in him. The Father was speaking through the Son. The Father was working through the Son. Jesus did and said nothing that didn’t further God’s plan of salvation. “Believe me( keep on believing me) when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Jesus told his disciples, “‘or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.’” Jesus reaches our hearts with his words, and he points to his works as evidence that his words are true. My friend Bob had challenges on the return trip to his destination of home. Bob shares. “Coming back we had a layover for our connecting flight of a little over an hour. As we were on the plane to take off, we were told there would be about a 30 minute delay because the belt on the luggage conveyor had broken. Once we got off the plane at our first stop, we had about 30 minutes before our flight to Milwaukee took off. By the time we got through customs and rechecked our bag again, it was down to ten minutes and the gate was quite a ways away. I ran ahead of my wife and got to the gate to find out they had switched to another gate. Now there was about 5 minutes left. I once again ran and got to the gate and yelled out Milwaukee. They asked for my name and told us to go down the steps and the plane was waiting. We got on board all out of breath, sat down and a minute later, were told there would be about a 15 minute delay because of air congestion. Bob closed with the statement: Getting connected while traveling through life can be interesting to say the least.” Life has its challenges, delays, transition, and changes. What is important to remember is that you know Jesus who has connected to you to the Father who guaranteed and made certain that the connecting flight to heaven is sure through faith in Jesus. But if you are knew here and don’t know him we are here to get connected with you so that you might be connected to Jesus and to the Father. What Jesus did that you might know him? He sent his disciples out on Pentecost. He has given us the Word of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. How does he get that message to other people? He uses us as his servants to declare his praise in our lives as we share the message as missionaries. You do know Him. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus.