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Who Wants a Replacement? (32)
Christopher B. Harbin
We like settled routines. We like known quantities. We like things we can count on and which offer us a sense of stability in life. We like to know what to expect, and we like to expect things to pretty much keep to established routines, even when we say we like variety. We like variety, but only within certain limits. Perhaps we want to try a different salad dressing, but we want one with a name we recognize. When we are presented with a replacement or a substitute we don't know, it often bothers us, even if it might be better than what we had before. It bothers us because we are often bothered by change and uncertainty.
The disciples faced a lot of uncertainty and change during Jesus' three years of ministry. They were constantly facing new and confusing situations for which they felt woefully unprepared. In so many ways, it seemed they were only just grasping the basics of what Jesus had been trying to teach them. As we read through the gospels, it seems almost like the writers were just trying to point out all the times one of the disciples had his foot in his mouth, completely missing the point of what Jesus had just been trying to communicate with them.
When we come to John 14, we read John's take on the discussions Jesus had with them on their last night together. We might expect disciples who were well grounded by that time in all Jesus had been teaching them. We might wish to see mature disciples who actually got it. In the first few verses of the chapter, we saw that happen more than once. Jesus was talking about leaving them to prepare for them to join with the Father. Now, however, he started talking about sending a replacement.
After three years of Jesus presenting a new face of God, three years of the disciples' failing to understand him, three years of falling down and getting back up to try to understand again, Jesus tells them that he had accompl ...
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