A New Mode of Presence

A Trinitarian, Christ-centered paraphrase of John 13:31-14:31

(31) As he watched Judas walk away, Jesus took a deep breath and said “Now it begins: The full unveiling of who I am, and in me, who Papa is. (32) I have revealed Papa, and he will now reveal me.

(33) Kid brothers, it is almost time for me to go somewhere you cannot follow. I have a job to do. (34) You have a job too: Give to one another the love I have given you. (35) This love is what will identify you as my apprentices.

(36) But Peter wouldn’t let it go: “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered: “You cannot follow me now, but don’t worry, you will follow me soon enough.” (37) Peter said “Why not now? I will die for you!” (38) Jesus answers “Oh really? Listen to me, Pete: By the time the rooster crows 3 times tomorrow morning, you will deny 3 times that you even know me.”

(14.1) This troubled them greatly, so Jesus comforted them: “There is nothing to be worried about. Trust Papa. Trust me. (2) You know how a man will briefly leave his betrothed in order to build their new home on his father’s estate. That’s what I’m doing right now. (3) And like the groom, I will not be long. I will come back to get you. Look for me at first light on the third day.

I am with Papa; there is nothing in the way of our relationship. Once I’ve done what I need to do, you will be with Papa in that way too. (4) You know the way to where I’m going; the path runs straight through the grave. (5) Thomas, never one to hide his doubts, said “No we don’t. How can we know the WAY to where you’re going if we don’t even know WHERE you’re going?” (6) Jesus replied: “I am the Way to get where you’re going. I am the Truth for you to believe. My life is the Life you were always meant to live. I am the way to life with Papa. There is no other way.

(7) You know me. You have seen me with your own eyes. From now on, I say you DO know Papa and HAVE seen him. (8) Phillip said “Master, all we want is to see Papa. Show him to us.” (9) Jesus said “Three years together, Philip, and now you say you’ve never seen me? Dude, I know you’ve already seen Papa because I know you’ve seen me. (10) Don’t you get it? I am in Papa, and Papa is in me. The words I speak are Papa’s words. The works I do are Papa’s works. I don’t do it on my own. Papa who lives in me does it. (11) He is in me, and I am in him. If you can’t believe it just because I say so, then believe based on what you’ve seen him do through me.

He will do the same things through you too, as you live in trust. In fact, you will do even greater things, because I (and you in me) will be sitting at Papa’s right hand, at the helm of the universe. (13) You yourself will be part of the Triune decision-making. I will delight in doing what you ask, in order to reveal Papa’s heart even more. (14) All things are now yours.

(15) To love me is to act according to my wisdom. (16) To put my love/wisdom/obedience into you, I will ask Papa to give you another Guide, through whom Papa and I will be with you forever. (17) He the Spirit of Truth, the Truth of my life with Papa. Truth is known by faith, so those who refuse to believe will not understand the Spirit. But you know Him well, because you believe. You know that His life lives in you and always will.

(18) As I transition from this mode of presence to a new mode of presence, I want you to know I’m not abandoning you. Far from it! In this transition, I am actually drawing NEARER to you. (19) Soon, my presence will be invisible to all eyes but the eyes of faith. You will know my presence because you trust my promise. (20) As you come to know reality in faithfulness to what it really is, you will know the truth about your inclusion in the Triune life—that I am in my Papa, and you are in me, and I am in you. (21) To live in my wisdom is to love me. To love me is to participate in the love and mutual knowing of the Trinity. (22) Judas (no, not that one, the other one) said: “Master, how is it possible that we will see you but the world will not?” (23) Jesus answered: “Through the Spirit, Papa and I are coming to make humanity our home. To receive us and experience our shared life is to participate in our giving and receiving of love. (24) To refuse gospel wisdom is to refuse me, and to refuse Papa from whom wisdom comes.

(25) I say these things now, and I know you will understand them later. (26) Because Papa will send the Holy Spirit, your Guide. He will remind you of what I’ve said, help you understand it, and teach you everything you need to know., (27) What I’m giving you is peace, MY Peace. This is no ordinary kind of gift. I’m taking everything inside me, and through the Spirit I’m putting it inside you. What’s inside me is a secure, peaceful, fearless heart. Now it’s inside you, too.

(28) I know it sounds contradictory: “I am going away” and “I am coming to you.” I know you’re confused, because if you understood what’s really going on, you would be ecstatic about me going to Papa. Because Papa in his heaven is nearer to you than you are to yourself. By going to Him, I am drawing even closer to you that I am right now (29) I’m telling you this now so that when it happens, you will believe and understand.

(30) I won’t talk with you much more this way, because the Faceless Man is coming to take me from you. But don’t worry; he has no power over me. (31) Papa has told me to go with him, and I will obey, so that the world will know I love Papa.

Let’s go. Tonight we camp in Gethsemane.

– John Stonecypher

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