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Close To The Father’s Heart—An Introduction

Upper Room Discourse
(John 13-17)

The title for these daily reflections, CLOSE TO THE FATHER’S HEART, is taken from two scenes of intimacy in John’s Gospel. The Gospel writer intends these two scenes to portray the life and love that the Father wants for us. For both scenes the Greek word kolpos is used to show the head of one held close to the other’s heart. The word kolpos, meaning “close to the heart”, pictures “a child lying in a parent’s bosom or lap” (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery).

The first intimate scene is pictured in the opening verses of John’s Gospel:

No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart (kolpos) who has made him known” (John 1:18).

In this first scene Jesus nestles close to the Father heart. He is loved by the Father and knows the Father intimately. Jesus comes to earth to reveal His intimate knowledge of the Father, and tell of the Father’s heart for all.

The second scene of intimate embrace is found in the Upper Room as Jesus shares the Last Supper with His disciples. Here “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is portrayed as leaning on Jesus’ breast (John 13:25), or “close to Jesus’ heart” (kolpos). The disciple whom Jesus loved is later identified as John, but is intended to be symbolic of all of Jesus’ followers whom He loves and longs to draw close to His Father’s heart.

This is the theme of the Upper Room Discourse, and the theme of these daily reflections: Jesus comes from close to the Father’s heart, in order to draw us close with Him to the Father’s heart. Jesus’ life and words proclaim this same message: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you” (John 15:9). The boundless love Jesus receives from the Father He passes on to us. Jesus ends the Upper Room Discourse with the astonishing prayer that all of His followers might know the Father loves them as He loves His own Son (John 17:23, 26). Jesus invites you to live each day with Him, close to the Father’s heart.

Thumb through this devotional and you will notice that each reading is short. It will take just minutes to read, but longer to ponder. Each reading begins with words of Jesus, a brief comment, and then a place for you to prayerfully reflect on what Jesus has said. To help you reflect on Jesus’ actions or words, you are asked to consider three vital questions:

  • What are there in Jesus’ actions or words today for me to KNOW?
  • What are there in Jesus’ actions or words today for me to FEEL?
  • What are there in Jesus’ actions or words today for me to DO?

Why not turn your responses to these three questions into prayer! Talk with Jesus about them. You can be sure that you will be blessed as you hear and keep what He says. He will draw you with Him close to His Father’s heart.

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