Read John 14:15-21 with your family.
Jesus knew he was leaving. His friends knew he was leaving, although they didn’t know the rest of the Easter story like we do. Everyone was sad.
But in the middle of all those feelings of worry and loss, Jesus gave them hope and love. He told them another would come to help them understand God. One who would make them feel better and help them really live the only commandment Jesus every gave his followers – that they love everyone. This was not romantic love or family love, but love for our neighbours and love for the world.
The promise was the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised we would never be alone, and as long as we lived love for each other, we would always know God.
Read John 14:1-14 with your family.
Did you know that the very first Christians did not call themselves “Christians”, but rather People of The Way? That name comes from this story in the Bible, where on the night before he died Jesus told his followers all sorts of important things, including that he was the way to the new world, the new kingdom, the new way to live as God’s followers. So it seemed reasonable to call their new lifestyle The Way.
These new followers were not interested in creating a religion, they wanted to change how people behaved so everyone would take care of everyone else. ‘The Way’ of Jesus means feeding the hungry and giving the homeless someplace to live.
Because it is a lifestyle, and not a belief system, people who don’t call themselves Christian could still be followers of The Way simply by doing good things for others and helping to work for a better world for everyone.
Read John 10:1-10 with your family.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses a lot of “I am” statements to explain who he is and how he knows about God’s world. In today’s story the “I am” statement can either be “I am the gate” or “I am the doorway” (the Greek word is better as ‘doorway’, but since we are talking about sheep outside the term ‘gate’ makes more sense).
Often we think of a gate as the only opening in a pen or other fenced in area. Too many people before us have decided that means there is only a narrow opening to understand God’s message. The scripture doesn’t say that. The scripture says Jesus is the doorway or gate, the way out into a new world of understanding. That gate is huge, bigger than any of us can imagine. Liars and thief try to jump in and take us away from God’s love, but Jesus is confident we know better because we can all hear God’s voice.
Jesus shows us the way we are to live, and by saying “I am the doorway” Jesus is telling us living the way God wants us to live is how we get to all the great things life has to offer, like love and community.
Read Luke 24:13-35 with your family.
After Mary Magdalene and all the other women visited the tomb and found it empty, the Bible tells us stories about other people who met Jesus after he was alive again.
One of these it the Road to Emmaus. It tells the story of two people who didn’t recognize Jesus until Jesus broke the loaf of bread apart like he had done on the Thursday before with his followers. Then Jesus disappeared while they tried to figure out what had happened.
This story reminds us that sometimes Jesus is with us on gentle walks down the road. There doesn’t always have to be big drama when Jesus is around. Sometimes we can feel Jesus with us just while we are talking.
And sometimes it’s not until after something happens that we realize God was with us all along – we were never alone.