“Abide in me as I abide in you.” John 15:4
To abide means to stay with, or to make one’s home with. In John, Jesus is saying, “make your home in me as I make my home in you.” I wonder what the disciples were thinking when they heard Jesus say this…Did they get it? Or were they trying to figure out what the heck Jesus was saying because all of His parables and His talk of His death and resurrection could be pretty darn confusing? Or were there some of them just looking at Jesus like, “you cray”?
Jesus and the disciples were nomads. There was no place that they called “home.” They wandered with Jesus across numerous lands, never staying in one place for too long. But here He is in the midst of their mission saying, “make your home in me.” Being a rising senior in college, I left the only home I knew and in the past two years have begun to find my new home at college. The people I have the privilege to walk this life with are now family, but this is my last year in this home. Anticipating the uprooting from this place has me feeling a little like the disciples must’ve felt following Jesus all across Israel. But how comforting these words spoken by Christ are to the ears of the lost, the wandering. After dropping their lives to go follow Jesus, hearing Him say, “You have a home in me,” brings their hearts and souls a sense of security and comfort. Mmm, yes. I can only imagine their relief. Finally being able to take the yoke off of the shoulders of their hearts, the relief of their feet as they finally have a place to sit and rest. In the same way, these words from Jesus brings the restless and lost heart comfort. Jesus doesn’t want me hopping from one hotel to another. He wants me to stay and sink my roots down deep in Him.
Just think of your own home. It is so much more than a roof over one’s head or the place where everything someone owns stays. No. A home is the one place where you can be entirely yourself. A home is where the others that you live with are family and build you up, support you, and are there to hold you when life seems like too much to handle. Home is where life is cultivated and shared most intimately. And Jesus wants me to have all of that be Him. Our human nature desires to be wanted, cherished, and secured. We seek these things in so many places; a steady job, relationships, academics but Jesus is here saying, “Come to me, I can give you all of that and so much more. Make me your home, your steadfast rock.” And hearing that, isn’t your heart being pulled, maybe even yanked, to Jesus?? I don’t think my feet can keep up with my hearts crazy pull to Jesus after realizing the God of the Universe desires me to be with Him. And not just on Sundays or for a coffee to catch up. Nope, He wants me to move in for a lifetime. Wow. Why worry about anything if I’m rooted in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace?
And then there’s the second half of this verse, “as I abide in you.” Now, if the disciples understood the first part I’m not too sure they understood this. Jesus just told them to make their home in Him and now He is saying as I make my home in you… “Wait. What? If Jesus abides in me then why would I abide in Him and not just myself? Isn’t that the same thing?” I mean at least one of the disciples had something along those lines going through their head. Maybe two. But how understandable that is! And I think 2000 years later, it’s a lot easier to understand where Jesus was going with this. He was referring to how when He was to be crucified, He would not be leaving us alone. At the Last Supper, Christ instituted the first Eucharist. The humble way He shares His Body and Blood with the world until the end of time. When we consume the Host, we allow Jesus to physically make His home in us as we become His living tabernacle, just as Mary did for 9 months. And after the resurrection, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the apostles’ hearts. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, we receive the third part of the Trinity in its entirety. Jesus instituted the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation so that when His physical body left this world, we would not be left alone. His Spirit and the Eucharist live within us, reminding His children that their home is not gone but can be found in every tabernacle of the world and every heart that is willing to let the Spirit in.