Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” John 20:21
In John, Jesus says these words when he first sees his disciples after his resurrection. It’s the evening of that same day. Next, Jesus breathes on them to give them the Holy Spirit. Maybe this is what Jesus meant at the Last Supper when he said he would send them the Counselor (John 16:7). And maybe this is the launch of Jesus’s stated plan to equip his disciples with Holy Spirit power to witness about him, locally and on across the whole world (Acts 1:8). John says his book’s purpose is to witness and help others trust in Jesus.
Prayer - Jesus, you have given me the same purpose you gave John and all the disciples: to share that relying on you as Christ the Son of God brings abundant life in the fullest sense, and to have confidence that you are bringing others to also believe and have fellowship with you. I trust your plans and provisions to bring about this restoration. AMEN.
Written by Martha King, Elder and Youth Leader at WHPC
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” – John 20:29
When Thomas heard that Jesus had been raised, he said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” A short time later, he got to see the risen Christ, and he responded with faith. But Jesus questioned Thomas’s need to see for himself in order to believe.
When have you said, “I’ll believe it when I see it?” I use this expression when what I’m being told contradicts my past experiences. When a notoriously flaky friend says she’ll be in touch. When a politician makes a lofty campaign promise. When I hear that a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 might not be far off. I’ll believe it when I see it.
So I get Thomas’s position when it comes to the resurrection. Why should Jesus shame him? But then again, maybe Jesus is really prompting Thomas to think about his past experiences, and to see that resurrection—God’s action to bring life out of death—has been happening around him all along. Focused on the grief and fear of the current moment, Thomas is forgetting the big picture of what God is doing. We can count ourselves blessed, or happy, when we can remember the larger pattern in the past and present.
Prayer - Steadfast and faithful God, we believe; help our unbelief. Help us to see, in our own experiences of the past and present, your resurrecting power at work, bringing hope into despair, and new life out of death. Amen.
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC
”If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
Jesus invites us to live with him, to make our home with him, to abide in him. We are commanded to continue in his Word, so that his words abide in us. If we abide in him, and his Word is in us, our prayers will be pleasing to Jesus. We will come to desire what he desires, and pray according to his will as we learn it in his Word. “Ask for whatever you wish.” I’ve tripped over the “whatever” far too many times. I’ve wondered if the desires of my heart were really the desires of God, or whether they were actually my own camouflaged self-focus and self-interest. How should I spend my money? Is that the right relationship, or the best way to handle it? Is that a good place to direct my time and my energy? But, who put those desires in my heart? Am I willing to test those desires carefully against God’s Word. As always, the Spirit stands ready to help us discern truth. And, with the right desire - his will - Jesus invites us to pray boldly. Not timidly, as I might. But boldly, for those things which only God can provide.
Prayer - Jesus, sometimes I don’t know what to pray for. My desire is to love you and honor you. I want to do your will. Yet, sometimes I’m not sure what that is. Send your Spirit to help me discern truth, to love others as your first loved me, and to boldly ask for those things which please and glorify you. AMEN.
Written by Drew Beckley, Elder at WHPC
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27
The world can give us many things - excitement, wonder, beauty and comfort. The world is full of God’s good gifts and God’s handiwork. Bur Jesus reminds us that there is a peace – a deep and abiding power – that only comes from our relationship with him. This peace grounds us and supports us in every situation we encounter. This peace grants us courage in every moment. This peace is Christ’s gift to our troubled world.
Prayer - Jesus for this moment and this day, grant me your peace. AMEN
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC
”You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing: but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” John 15:14-15
“Friends.” What a stunning level of personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe! Imagine that. And, Jesus extends that friendship, that intimacy, to all obedient believers. When I first read this, I thought “Well, that’s nice. Friendship’s good. It’s better than a stern, judgmental God at a distance.” But “friend” is a big deal. Did you know only two people in the Old Testament are called “friends of God” - Abraham and Moses? How might we begin to move into that friendship? It might be a morning candle, Scripture and prayer in a quiet corner or our home. Or a walk and pray. Perhaps reviewing the day with God in the evening. In Trust we inhale undeserved, divine love. Beloved beyond measure. And, then we “pass it on.” In Obedience we exhale love for each other. The Spirit is right there leading, and helping us do what we cannot do on our own - respond to the love of Christ with obedient love for each other. Faith and Love inextricably tied together, and made possible by the Spirit.
Prayer - Dear Jesus, may I respond to your love for me with a desire to know and love you more fully. As I attempt to love others as you have loved me, provide your Spirit to help me move beyond what I can try to do on my own, and be carried by the inexhaustible well of your love and compassion. And, at the end of the day, may I simply rest in your love. AMEN.
Written by Drew Beckley, Elder at WHPC