Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

John 16:13-19

In John 16:13-19 Jesus explains the role of the Holy Spirit to His disciples, and to you and me. “When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” In one sense, this was fulfilled when the New Testament writings, divinely inspired by God, were completed. In another sense the Holy Spirit continues today to personally lead us into truth, but never in opposition to the Scripture, because God’s supreme authority is closed with the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit isn’t ‘making things up’ but rather teaching what God has already ordained as truth.

Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity will glorify Him. “He shall praise me and bring me great honor by showing you my glory.” People may speak of dreams, visions, experiences, revelations and say they came from the Holy Spirit, but many of those supposed revelations of the Spirit say nothing or almost nothing about Jesus Himself.  That isn’t how the Trinity works.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three, but they are first and foremost One.  “All the Father’s glory is mine; this is what I mean when I say that he will show you my glory.” Jesus isn’t showboating on His own, and neither will the Holy Spirit.

The time is quickly approaching when Jesus will be gone and go to the Cross.  The disciples don’t understand the path Jesus will take, but are now discovering that He’ll be coming back. “In just a little while I will be gone, and you will see me no more; but just a little while after that, and you will see me again!”  The disciples didn’t understand that the arrest of Jesus was only an hour or two away, and then His crucifixion would follow soon thereafter. Yet because He must go to the Father, they would see Him again as He rose from the dead.  They have no idea of what’s coming, but Jesus is giving them the details so they can look back and know it is as it was to be.

It is obvious they don’t comprehend His words.  “Whatever is he saying?” some of his disciples asked. “What is this about ‘going to the Father’? We don’t know what he means.”  The disciples were both troubled and confused. They probably thought Jesus spoke with unnecessary mystery about where He was going and what He would do. They didn’t understand what He meant about not seeing Him and then seeing Him. “Jesus realized they wanted to ask him so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I mean?” Jesus understood that the disciples wanted more clarity; but He also knew that they needed more than information. They needed their hearts and minds prepared to endure the coming crisis.  We have to be prepared for how the world treats us as Christ Followers as well.

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John 16:8-12

In John 16:8-12 Jesus continues to prepare the disciples for the coming storm. Jesus work won’t end, it will just be handed over to the Holy Spirit. “And when he has come he will convince the world of its sin, and of the availability of God’s goodness, and of deliverance from judgment.” The job of convincing the world that it has a sin problem, and that God is the only answer to that problem continues to this day. It is a pretty simple truth:

  • Man has a problem called sin
  • Sin will prevent us from being with God
  • God created a way to solve our sin problem through grace
  • Jesus was that solution through going to the cross to die for our sin
  • Man has to receive that gift of grace through faith in Christ to receive deliverance from judgment

There are no other options – no Plan B.  The Holy Spirit has come and is working to convince and convict the world of sin.  That is the root problem.  Jesus is the only solution.

Jesus had a plan, but they couldn’t understand it. With 2,000 years of hindsight we see that when Jesus went away He then sent the Holy Spirit, which had and has a broader and more effective ministry in the entire world.  The problem is no different today than it was then. “The world’s sin is unbelief in me; there is righteousness available because I go to the Father and you shall see me no more; there is deliverance from judgment because the prince of this world has already been judged.” Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples when He departed. This is what would make it to their advantage that He departed from them. Jesus meant that the presence and work of the Holy Spirit would actually be better for believers than the physical, bodily presence of Jesus.  Hard for the disciples to grasp, but clear to us today.

Tenney wrote: “The essence of sin is unbelief, which is not simply a casual incredulity nor a difference of opinion; rather, it is a total rejection of God’s messenger and message.” That is really what the problem is with man and sin.  We just completely blow off the truth that sin has one outcome as described by Scripture – death – which is eternal separation from God.  This is no small matter. Eternity is a very long time. Morris said: “The basic sin is the sin which puts self at the center of things and consequently refused to believe in Him.” The real problem is that we elevate ourselves to be equal with God – the master of our own lives – rather than realizing that God alone is in charge.

Jesus has much to share with His disciples, but He didn’t want to completely overwhelm them. “Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t understand it now.” Jesus frankly admitted that His own teaching was incomplete, and anticipated the further instruction of the church by the Holy Spirit. We need to be learners in our walk as Christ Followers.  While salvation is a somewhat simple act of faith – believing in Jesus as God’s Son and the redeemer of our soul from sin – the Lordship of Jesus is a life long process that we need to invest time and effort into learning more of the Master’s ways so we can walk with Him in obedience!

John 16:1-7

In John 16:1-7 Jesus continues to school the disciples on what is coming.  “I have told you these things so that you won’t be staggered by all that lies ahead.” Jesus warned His disciples of coming opposition because He did not want them to be surprised and caught off guard by it. “For you will be excommunicated from the synagogues, and indeed the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service.”

He also did not expect that His disciples would immediately leave the synagogues, or leave them by their own choice. They would be forced out of the synagogues for Jesus’ sake. So He wanted to give a heads up on that too, so they would be prepared.

Why will the religious leaders react that way?  “This is because they have never known the Father or me.” You would think that the religious folks would know God and the One He sent to save them.  But they weren’t looking or listening, and were focused on their own power.  So Jesus has to prepare His disciples for what is coming. “Yes, I’m telling you these things now so that when they happen you will remember I warned you. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.”  He didn’t tell them at first, as there was no reason to do so, but now as His time is ending, He is in preparation mode to help them be ready for what lies ahead.

Jesus is leaving, and is somewhat amazed that the disciples aren’t trying to understand why. “But now I am going away to the one who sent me; and none of you seems interested in the purpose of my going; none wonders why.” Peter had asked this question earlier and Thomas asked a similar question as well. Therefore Jesus must mean not only the words of the question, but the heart of it.  The disciples are just focused on their loss, not the reason behind it. “Instead you are only filled with sorrow.”  But Jesus wants them to understand how important this is. “But the fact of the matter is that it is best for you that I go away, for if I don’t, the Comforter won’t come. If I do, he will—for I will send him to you.”

Guzik points out that while Jesus is making to case that it is to the advantage of the disciples that He go away, they likely don’t see it that way.  Was what was coming really to their advantage?  Put yourself in their shoes and ask if it was…..

  • To your advantage that Jesus is arrested?
  • To your advantage that Jesus’ ministry of teaching and miracles is stopped?
  • To your advantage that Jesus is beaten?
  • To your advantage that Jesus is mocked?
  • To your advantage that Jesus is sentenced for execution?
  • To your advantage that Jesus is nailed to a cross?
  • To your advantage that Jesus dies in the company of notorious criminals?
  • To your advantage that His lifeless body is laid in a cold grave?

There are some big things coming and Jesus is all about getting His disciples ready for what lies ahead!

John 14:7-13

In John 14:7-13 Jesus has just told the disciples that He is the one and only way to get to heaven.  Simply put, if Jesus is not the only way to God, then He is not any way to God. If there are many roads to God, then Jesus is not one of them, because He absolutely claimed there was only one road to God, and He Himself was that road. “If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on you know him—and have seen him!” Jesus explained why He was the only way to God; because He was and is the perfect representation of God. To know Jesus is to know God.

There was a doubter among the Eleven. “Philip said, “Sir, show us the Father and we will be satisfied”.” Philip had seen and experienced much in following Jesus, but had not yet seen God the Father with his physical eyes. Perhaps he thought that such an experience would bring life-changing assurance and courage.  But Jesus challenged his request.  “Jesus replied, “Don’t you even yet know who I am, Philip, even after all this time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking to see him?” This means that Philip had been close to Jesus yet still did not understand Him. The same is possible and true for you and me today.

Jesus asks a penetrating question of His doubting followers. “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say are not my own but are from my Father who lives in me. And he does his work through me”. Jesus showed us the real once and for all time God. Jesus shows us the same love, compassion, mercy, and goodness that was and is in God the Father. “Just believe it—that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or else believe it because of the mighty miracles you have seen me do”. The choice is clear.  We simply need to believe.  Jesus presented two solid foundations for our trust in Him. We can believe Jesus simply because of His person and the words He spoke, or we can believe Him for the sake of the works that He miraculously did. It doesn’t matter how we come to belief – we merely must believe!

Then Jesus issues an amazing promise. “In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father”. There is power in our belief in Jesus.  Not just a little power – massive, unmeasurable power.  And it isn’t limited. “You can ask him for anything, using my name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you”. Jesus had just encouraged the disciples to trust in, rely on, and cling to Him in faith, because of who He is, the words He spoke, and the miracles He has done. Now Jesus described the benefit or blessing that comes to someone who believes. This promise seems impossible; yet after Peter’s first sermon there were more converted than are recorded during Jesus’ entire ministry. It is all ours for the believing!

John 14:1-6

In John 14:1-6 Jesus has just finished washing the feet of the Twelve and revealing that one of them would betray Him.  But here in chapter 14 He shifts the focus to what will happen after He is gone. “Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me”. The disciples had reason to be troubled. Jesus had just told them that one of them was a traitor, that all of them would deny Him, and that He would leave them that night. All of this would legitimately trouble the disciples. His disciples felt His coming departure like a torture. And it was then that He consoled them with His simple and glorious speech.

He gives them comfort by describing what lies ahead for all Christ Followers.  “There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am”. Jesus spoke with complete confidence about heaven when He described it as His Father’s house. Jesus didn’t wonder about the life beyond this earth; He knew it and told His disciples that there was room for all in heaven.  This is our assurance, and He goes on further to drive that point home. “If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly. And you know where I am going and how to get there.”

Jesus promised to come again for the disciples. This was not only in the sense of His soon resurrection or in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also had in mind the great gathering together of His people at the end of the age. And He assumed they understood how that would happen.  But Thomas quickly raises his hand in question.  “No, we don’t,” Thomas said. “We haven’t any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Thomas should be praised for honestly and clearly explaining his confusion. He thought Jesus was simply going to another place, as if it were another city.

Then Jesus says one of the most important things in all of scripture.  He boils down the question of eternity to two short sentences. “Jesus told him, “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me”. Jesus didn’t say that He would show us a way; He said that He is the way. He didn’t promise to teach us a truth; He said that He is the truth. Jesus didn’t offer us the secrets to life; He said that He is the life. No interpretation is needed here.  It is Jesus, or nothing.  There is no plan B.  There is no other way.  There is no alternative.  You may be feeling:

  • I’m wandering about; I don’t know where I’m going. Jesus is the way.
  • I’m confused; I don’t know what to think. Jesus is the truth.
  • I’m dead inside and don’t know if I can go on. Jesus is the life.

You want security regarding your eternity.  Jesus is THE answer, the ONLY answer, the complete and absolute ANSWER!

John 13:12-19

In John 13:12-19 Jesus has just finished up washing the feet of His disciples.  There’s been a little drama about it with Peter, but now Jesus is making it clear what has been done, why He did it, and what they should do as a result. “Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you”? Jesus’ entire life was a lesson and example to the disciples. Here He felt it was important to specifically draw attention to the lesson of what He had just done. The washing of their feet meant something and Jesus would not leave the understanding of that up to chance. What we do matters, and certainly what Jesus did was a critical teaching moment for the Twelve.

They knew who Jesus was, at least in their heads. “You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you”. But the lesson here is not about head knowledge, but one of attitude and action.  Every Christ Follower needs to show the same humble and sacrificial love to those in their patch.  A leader must serve those being led, not from the front of the line, but by humbly serving everyone in their care. This wasn’t a ceremony or special occasion that Jesus was showing here, but a way of living as servant leaders for all those in our patch.  We need to wash each other’s feet!

It wasn’t a mere suggestion.  Jesus states it as a command. “What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life”.  Action is required here.  Anything we do for each another that washes away the grime of the world and the dust of defeat and discouragement is foot washing. It’s not the physical act, but the underlying action that is required.  The theory of being humble and being a servant isn’t worth very much. But the practice of being a servant pleases God, fulfills our calling, bringing blessing and happiness!

Jesus reveals that one will betray Him. “I’m not including all of you in this. I know precisely whom I’ve selected, so as not to interfere with the fulfillment of this Scripture: The one who ate bread at my table turned on his heel against me”. He waited to make that clear until the right time.  But now Jesus reveals the truth.  “I’m telling you all this ahead of time so that when it happens you will believe that I am who I say I am”. He knew it all along. Jesus told them this so the faithful disciples would remain confident in Him. Things are going to transition from a very cozy foot washing experience, to a very different time of trial and tribulation for the disciples.  Jesus is preparing them for what is coming, but also creating clarity that they will see the truth of Scripture happen before their eyes!

John 13:1-5

In John 13:1-5 Jesus is in Jerusalem with the Passover Feast rapidly approaching.  “Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father”.  His time on earth was coming quickly to an end and He is about to share a meal with His disciples. Scholars disagree whether this meal was actually on the Passover, or if it was the Passover meal, but celebrated the day before.  In any case, He is with His disciples. Jesus lived His life in anticipation of this hour.  It’s what His entire life had been leading up to. Guzik notes The cross is not specifically mentioned here, but casts a shadow over almost every word.

  • We see the shadow of the cross over His hour had come.
  • We see the shadow of the cross over loved them to the end.
  • We also see the shadow of the cross over depart this world.

 

Jesus was with the twelve He had invested the past three years deeply into.  They were His disciples.  “Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end”.  Guzik explains the importance of understanding that these men, and all disciples truly belong to Jesus:

  • They were His own because He chose them.
  • They were His own because He gave Himself to them.
  • They were His own because His Father gave them to Him.
  • They were His own because He would soon purchase them.
  • They were His own because He conquered them.
  • They were His own because they yielded themselves to Him.

Being a disciple of Jesus has amazing benefits, but also comes with a cost.  One benefit is that His love will never end.  Jesus will love us to the fullest extent possible with a love that will never end.

So it is time for supper.  “It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal”. And one of the twelve Jesus had chosen, has slid into the enemy’s camp.  Satan did not control Judas and the decision he had come to.  But the enemy certainly had been whispering the idea into Judas’ mind for some time, and helped guide him to this fateful decision that he would hand Jesus over to His earthly enemies because Jesus just didn’t get the plan of how He could take over the world and become an earthly king bringing power to Judas and the others close to Jesus.  Satan used Judas’ personal motives to draw him into sin.

This isn’t a mystery or surprise for Jesus.  He knew God’s plan from the beginning of time.  This wasn’t something that Jesus came to know just at this hour. “Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God”.  This was important because of the hour and what lie ahead. Jesus was about to face the agony of crucifixion on the Cross, and the terror of standing in the place of guilty sinners before the righteous wrath of God the Father. At the same time, Jesus went into this situation as a victor, not as a victim. He could have backed out any time He wanted to, because the Father had given all things into His hands.  But He chose to complete the mission and provide a way for us to deal with the sin problem we all have.  He carried your sin and mine to that Cross and followed God’s plan!

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