Day 9: May 12, 2017: United with the Trinity
John 14:18-20: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
An orphan is a child who is alone. A child whose parents are dead. A child who must now depend on another relative, or strangers in some agency or some other family to take them in and care for them. How disorienting and frightening this must be!
Throughout the latter part of his ministry Christ repeatedly taught his disciples about his impending death (Mark 8:31-33, Mark 10:32-34, John 14:28-29). Yet Jesus also knew that they did not really understand what was going to happen to him. He knew that the events of his arrest, trial, and execution would devastate his disciples and leave them feeling alone, hopeless, and afraid – like orphans. So Jesus promised that he would not leave them in this condition. Referring to his resurrection Jesus said, “I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
The resurrection of Jesus means that God has not abandoned us. He has refused to let death and evil have the final say over our lives. The life of the Risen Jesus is our Life: because He lives, we also live. This resurrection life we have been given is the opposite of being an orphan. It is the opposite of being alone. Through Jesus the Son we have been adopted. We are now sons and daughters of God. We are now united to God the Holy Trinity.
Jesus said, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” The first part of that statement is something we expect because it is the kind of thing Jesus has said before in the Gospel of John. The Son and the Father are completely unified (Jn. 10:29-30); the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son (Jn. 10:38, 14:11). Though it is difficult to understand we believe that the unity of the Trinity is such that the Father and the Son completely “indwell” one another.
It is the second part of Jesus’ teaching in verse 20 which adds something new and mind-blowing: “you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” Suddenly, through the resurrection of Jesus we are included in the ‘mutual indwelling’ of the Father and the Son. The circle of the life of God is not closed, but open. Just as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, so now we are in the Son, and the Son is in us! So the apostle Paul wrote, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Gal. 4:6).
This means that intimacy with God is not something far away from us which we must strive for and search to find. Rather – we are already close to God, we are already united to the Trinity. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus the Son, lives in us. From within us the Spirit moves us to cry out to our Father. From within us the Spirit teaches and reminds us of the words of the Son (Jn. 14:25-26). Therefore we do not find intimacy with God but rather we receive, and learn, and mature in this eternal communion into which we have been drawn. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 Jn. 3:1)!
Take time now to rejoice in your union with the Father, Son, and Spirit. This prayer can help you get started: “Lord Jesus, I thank you that you are in me, and I am in you. I thank you for bringing me into the life of God. Holy Spirit, lead me in a life of prayer to the Father; and lead me in a life of obedience to the Son. I praise you, O God, that you have not left me alone as an orphan. I thank you for uniting me to yourself and for adopting me as your child. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”