Connections 05.07.2023: “Believe in Me”

John 14:1-11

Our lesson text encapsulates what, for me, are the two sides of the coin of faith: hope and doubt.

First, in verses 1-7, Jesus offers great hope to his dear friends and followers who are confused and scared about what is to come. Here on his last night with these companions, Jesus urges them to believe his greatest promise. Yes, he is going to leave them, but he comforts their troubled hearts with the promise that he will make a place for them in his Father’s house and return to get them. He assures them that his presence has connected them to the Father. Because they know and believe in Jesus, they can know and believe in God.

Then, in verses 8-11, Jesus confronts the doubt of a faithful follower, one who has been there since the early days of his ministry and seen all the miracles, heard all the teachings, witnessed all the compassion. “Lord,” Philip says, “show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (v. 8). Jesus’s response may seem impatient, but it’s understandable that he feels the urgency of the moment. Soon, he will be taken away and killed. While he will remain with his disciples in spirit, he will no longer be with them physically in their day-to-day lives. It is imperative that they understand his connection to God in spite of their doubts.

My entire life of faith, beginning in my childhood, has been a flipping between these two sides of the coin: hope and doubt. There are times when my hope is in control, assuring me of Jesus’s promise that I will be with him one day in the place he has prepared. There are times when my doubt is in control, battering me with unanswerable questions about why I believe what I believe.

No matter which side of the coin is facing up, though, it still represents my faith. Faith holds in times of hope and in times of doubt. Faith is the willingness to believe both because of what I know and because of what I don’t know. I will carry my hope and doubt with me through the rest of my life on earth, and I will lay them at Jesus’s feet when I join him in his Father’s house.


• Can you think of a time in your faith life when you had great hope about Jesus’s promise to you?
• Can you think of a time in your faith life when you had great doubt about Jesus’s promise to you?
• Why might hope and doubt be two necessary sides of the “coin of faith”?
• Is it possible to have faith without ever experiencing doubt?
• How can we strengthen our hope so that our doubts don’t cause us to stumble?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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