April 2024 student leader devo
Missions Discipleship

Trust and Obey: John 14:23

With the end of Jesus’ earthly life drawing near, John 14 gives insight into one of His last conversations with His disciples.

First, He tells them they shouldn’t let their hearts be troubled because He is going to prepare a place for them (vv. 1–2).

Then, for those wondering how they will find this prepared place, He assures them that He is the way to get there (vv. 3–4).

Throughout the dialogue, Jesus continues to remind them that He and His Father are one. In fact, He says that the Father lives and works through Him. More amazingly, for those who believe in Jesus — the Father can live and work through each of them and has the potential, through the living power working in them, to do even greater works than Jesus did. Wow!

Jesus promises to send His disciples a helper, the Spirit, who will guide them, give them peace, advocate for them to the Father, and show them the truth.

Lastly, Jesus reminds them in verse 23, that if they truly love Him, they will keep His commands and trust Him so they don’t need to fear a life without Him physically walking alongside them.

I am a missionary in Botswana. I recently met a father who came to Botswana six months ahead of his family to prepare everything before their arrival. As I read John 14, I tried to think how to put this conversation in contemporary terms to better understand it.

This man’s last conversation with his children probably went something like this, “I will be leaving you now. I know it may seem sad, but instead, you should be excited. When we reunite again, I will have a really cool place prepared for you. So don’t stress. I will see you again. And, I am not leaving you alone. Your mother is here, and she and I are one. We will talk and I will speak to you my children, through her. If you love me and trust me, please obey her. She represents me and it would bring me joy to know that you are obedient.”

When parents ask children to be obedient, it isn’t to exert power. It is because parents truly do know what is best. As a parent, all I want is what is best for my children. Having lived life much longer, I have learned what I think is best and have established right from wrong. When I give instructions, it is solely out of love and a desire to see my children enjoy life to the fullest. However, many times my children don’t see this. They think I am trying to cramp their style.

I totally understand why Jesus, who knows everything and has lived eternally, would tell His children, “If you love me, you will obey my teachings.” He knew what they would encounter. He knew the temptations and the persecutions they would face. He knew the doubts they would feel. In response to what He knew they would feel, He begs them to obey and reminds them that if they truly trust Him and love Him, they need to trust Him to guide them — even in His absence. Only in obedience to do what He has taught them can they live in the peace and power He wants to give them!

Let me close with some of Jesus’ last words in John 14:25–27: “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (NIV).

If you are a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Experience His presence today as you obey and feel God within you.

Ashley Thaba and her family live in Botswana where they use media as a platform to teach biblical family values on an international level. They do this through television in Botswana and through weekly national newspaper columns in Zambia, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. They also work with the government to lead village-wide campaigns that promote biblical family values.