John 17:1-19 – The Never Ending Glory

The Battle of Stalingrad…the Battle of Britain…Pearl Harbor…Guadalcanal… Midway…D-day.

Historians say any one of them could legitimately be considered the decisive turning point of WW2.

We are defining “turning point” as the point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment.

There is a decisive moment in the history of the world…A single turning point that changed everything for everyone, forever.

“Jesus… lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said, “Father the hour has come.”

The decisive “hour” that all human history turns upon was the six hours Jesus spent on the Cross.

All history before Jesus died on the Cross looked forward to it.
All history after Jesus died on the Cross looks back to it.

Jesus explained that it marked the fulfillment and replacement of God’s Old Covenant with mankind when He said, “This is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured-out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Jesus’ last words from the Cross were the triumphant shout, “It is finished!” No longer would mankind perform temporary rites and rituals, follow religious rules and regulations. God would give believers new hearts – hearts of flesh, not stone.

“It is finished,” but it is not over.

The apostle Paul wrote, “He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the Cross He won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see” (Colossians 2:15 ERV). The same apostle also told us to put on the full armor of God as soldiers in the ongoing spiritual warfare.

After the decisive, turning-point WW2 battles, the war continued. Even though Jesus was victorious over Satan, sin, and death, our cosmic battles in World War Spiritual continue.

Jesus talked to His Father about coming to “the hour,” and about what would happen after.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Jesus Makes The Father Visible To You, and #2 You Make Jesus Visible To All.

#1 – Jesus Makes The Father Visible To You (v1-5)

You are moved when, at the end of Braveheart. William Wallace screams, “FREEDOM!”

He was defeated and being disemboweled, but he went out in a blaze of glory.

That isn’t glory, or glorious.

“Glory” is a word that should only be used of God.

You’ll notice as we read that some form of the word, “glory,” is used five times. What is “glory,” and how does one go about giving God “glory?”

Glory happens when the invisible qualities, character, or attributes of God are displayed in a visible way; in short, glory is the invisible God made visible.

Jesus told Philip, “he who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:9). Jesus made the invisible God visible.

Joh 17:1  Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,

I find it interesting that He “lifted up His eyes to Heaven.” Christians tend to bow their heads, praying with eyes closed. God hears you in any posture, but think about Jesus’ example and it’s symbolism.

There is nothing in Jesus’ prayer telling you what to do. No instruction; no steps. It isn’t a model for our praying. It is all Jesus, praying for you.

To be accurate, He first prayed for the eleven. Then, in verse twenty, He prayed for us, their spiritual descendants.

Jesus often told His disciples, “My hour has not yet come.” He meant His crucifixion. It had been long anticipated and planned. God promised our parents, Adam and Eve, He would come as “the Seed of the woman” to win the decisive victory over the devil. The Old Testament progressively reveals the details of His coming.

There is even a passage that calculates “the hour.” The prophet Daniel was given the prophecy of the 70 Weeks.

Daniel 9:24-27 is a detailed prophecy that accurately dated the first coming of Jesus Christ.

You know who looked forward to “the hour?” Lambs, bulls, goats, and birds that were sacrificed by the tens of thousands from the time of Adam and Eve until Jesus. They were placeholders, temporary substitutes, for the final Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

Father and Son would “glorify” each other at, on, and after, the Cross. It was a “Glory Back-atcha,” a Mutual glorifying. For example, there was a Centurion present at the Cross. After taking in all the things that happened, he said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Deity was made visible through Jesus’ humanity.

Thomas Boston wrote, “In our redemption by Christ we have the fullest, clearest, and most delightful manifestation of the glory of God that ever was or shall be in this life. All the declarations and manifestations that we have of His glory in the works of creation and common providence, are but dim and obscure in comparison with what is here. Indeed the glory of His wisdom, power, and goodness, is clearly manifested in the works of creation. But the glory of His mercy and love had lain under an eternal eclipse without a Redeemer.”

Joh 17:2  as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
Joh 17:3  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Jesus has the “authority” to save. “Eternal life” is given as a free gift to any and all who “know” Jesus, and through Him, God the Father.

“As many as You have given Him.” Nothing in that phrase indicates that the Father limited the atonement on the Cross to “give” only a chosen few. Jesus was not, at that moment, praying for the world. He was praying for His eleven disciples. If I pray for a person to be healed, it doesn’t mean I am excluding anyone.

Joh 17:4  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

The plan of salvation predates Creation. “Before the world was,” Jesus knew He’d die on the Cross to save us.

He rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven, and is seated there in splendor. He remains God and man forever, the God-man, in His glorious resurrection body.

I can imagine Jesus saying to His Father, “I showed them your grace and mercy when they brought that adulterous woman. The Law demanded she be stoned, true, but I was able to show them that, but for grace, they all deserved death.”

I can imagine the Father saying to Jesus, “How about that guy they let down through the roof? We were always going to heal him, but first I told you to forgive his sins. It showed them where My true priorities lie”

I could have shortened the Bible study by quoting Hebrews 1:3, where we read that Jesus is “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact likeness of his being” (ISV).

“Glory.” Making the invisible God visible.

#2 – You Make Jesus Visible To All (v6-19)

June 6, 1944.

An Allied force of more than 150,000 troops, 5,000 ships, and 800 aircraft assaulted 50 miles of northern France’s Normandy coastline. More than 4,000 Allied troops die, and 6,000 were wounded, but the Allies succeeded in breaching Hitler’s coastal defense of France.

D-day effectively ended the war in Europe. The war, nevertheless, went on another eleven months before General Eisenhower accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.

Jesus “finished the work” His Father “gave [Him] to do.” It is finished, but He is not done.

Neither are disciples “done.” Until He returns for His Church, we are here to make Him visible.

Joh 17:6  “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

After a night praying to His Father, Jesus chose twelve men to be His closest disciples. I guess you could say it was His Father’s fault. J.C. Ryle writes, “No one can read the four Gospels with attention, and fail to see that never had a great master such weak servants as Jesus had in the eleven apostles. Yet these very weak servants were the men of whom the gracious Head of the Church speaks here in high and honorable terms.”

Having received His disciples from the Father, Jesus submitted to the selection. There was never any talk of replacing them. No ultimatums to straighten up or leave. No threatening. “Not a word against His people,” W.S. Rainsford writes, “no allusion to what they had done or were about to do – forsake Him.”
How very sad when church leaders treat believers that way. For that matter, no Christian should treat anyone that way.

Jesus wasn’t done doting on the disciples. He said, “They have kept Your Word.” How generous is our Lord. He credits them for their perseverance, even as they were scattering. The Pulpit Commentary says, “To Christ’s eyes they have already come out of their fiery trial faithful and true.”

Joh 17:7  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.
Joh 17:8  For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

For all of their confusion and misunderstanding of Jesus, they realized His words and works proved He was sent from God as the Messiah.

Joh 17:9  “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Joh 17:10  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.

There are those who seem anxious to prove Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world, but only for a limited group. They say, “See! See! Jesus did not pray for the world, only those God gave Him.”

Once again, we point out that this is Jesus’ prayer for these specific eleven guys. It doesn’t cancel the words, “God so loved the world,” or that Jesus said that through the Cross He would “draw all men to Himself” as “the Savior of all men, especially those who believe”

Jesus considered Himself “glorified in them.” Certainly not that night, when they would scatter. In fact, Jesus was probably not talking about specific instances, but was revealing that the work He had begun in them would come to completion. There would be a time, and an eternity, in which you look upon a saint and see Jesus glorified in what He accomplished with so little to work with.

In Iron Man, Obadiah Stane grew frustrated when Stark Industry scientists and engineers could not duplicate the arc reactor. He growled, “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave. With a box of scraps!”

It must frustrate the devil to see what Jesus does and will do with us. Broken, lost, weary… Jesus makes us beautiful in His time.

Joh 17:11  Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

Jesus was still speaking of the eleven. They were about to be scattered, ashamed of the Lord. If that tells us anything, it is that they could not “keep” themselves. The Father kept them, for Jesus’ sake.

God keeps you. You cannot fail so much that He will forsake you.

Joh 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

People compare a difficult task with “herding cats.” (You might remember a series of commercials featuring cowboys herding cats. They are hilarious. They are what the internet was meant to be).

It was no small task to keep the disciples ‘discipling’ for three and one-half years. Especially in anticipation one of them would be lost.

We took a look at Judas in a previous study. His betrayal was supported by Scripture, but not in the sense that he, and he alone, was predetermined to betray the Lord. To say that is to go beyond what Scripture says. He was not a believer, but he could have been. In that case, the Scripture would have been fulfilled another way.

Joh 17:13  But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

“I speak in the world” reminds us that the Lord was praying in the presence of the eleven. In their time of forsaking Jesus, they ought remember that Jesus secured the help of God the Father to bring them back in joy.

Joh 17:14  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:15  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “Satan, the evil one, as head of the world system, seeks to do everything possible to destroy believers, but God’s plan will prevail. Christians must not take themselves out of the world but remain in contact with it, trusting in God’s protection while they witness for Jesus.”

For the first time ever, more people are leaving California than are coming to live here. I can only hope the newcomers are missionaries. The plight of the State is a Golden opportunity for the Gospel.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

“Sanctify” means set apart for special use. A believer is sanctified, set apart for God, the moment they are saved. It is called positional sanctification. Afterwards, we mature, we grow, in our walk with Jesus. Theologians call this progressive sanctification. We make incremental progress towards the goal of becoming more-and-more like Jesus.

The indwelling God the Holy Spirit is primary in our progressive sanctification. His #1 tool in our growth and maturity is the Bible. The Spirit teaches us the Word, guides us to the truth, and uses the Word to give us a clear vision of Jesus and inspire us with a deep desire to be like our Lord. We cooperate with the Spirit’s work in our lives when we believe He enables us to do what it says in the Bible. Like Jesus, we learn obedience. Everything we need for life and godly living is in the Bible. We can do it because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Joh 17:18  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus sanctified Himself means He voluntarily set Himself apart in order to die on the Cross, thus offering the world salvation by grace through faith.

He would set them apart, and send them into the world just like He was. Only there would be a lot more of them!

A Christian has been called out from the world by the Gospel. Hopefully we realize that we are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that [we] may proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (First Peter 2:9).

We are very special. We can say it without pride because we haven’t earned it or deserved it. It is because Jesus said, “Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine,” and we are all together.

Show & tell was a highlight of elementary school. Like everything, however, there are fails:

A teacher reported, “Someone brought their pet bird, dead, in a box, that was going to be buried when they got home later that day.”

“A kid I went to high school with brought a hand-grenade his grandfather had to school for use in a drama production. He thought it was deactivated. The bomb squad confirmed that it was certainly still active.”

Christians are show & tellers. We “tell” others about Jesus, and we “show” Him. We thereby make the invisible, visible.

The originals seemed to be show & tell fails. F.F. Bruce writes, “With the Father’s enabling grace and the guidance and illumination of His Spirit, they would fulfill the mission with which they were now being entrusted and bring glory to their Master in fulfilling it. So confident of this is Jesus that he speaks in the perfect tense – ‘I have been glorified in them’ – as if it had already come to pass.”

We will be show & tell fails. Jesus is confident that He will complete the work He began.

Our Hero didn’t “go out in a blaze of glory.” He is the blaze of glory.

He is coming back in glory:

Rev 19:11  Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
Rev 19:12  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
Rev 19:13  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

That is us, by the way, on the horses, coming back from Heaven with Jesus to Earth. Elsewhere the Bible says Jesus will be “glorified in us” (Second Thessalonians 1:10).

William MacDonald explains, “Amazed onlookers will gasp as they see what He has been able to do with such unpromising human beings!”

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, Soon You Will, Then You Won’t (John 16:16-33)

Former Department of Military Instruction Director at the US Military Academy Colonel Robert “Tex” Turner famously said, “I woke up in a cold sweat. I had a nightmare that I was still in Ranger School. Thank God that I was in Vietnam. Compared to Ranger School, combat was easy.”

Each month hundreds of Army Ranger candidates report for their chance to face the toughest physical, mental, and emotional challenge they will likely ever encounter. Only a small number make the cut.

Navy SEAL training is not designed to get you in shape. You must arrive in excellent physical condition and pass the rigorous physical screening test before you can be considered a SEAL candidate. A majority wash out.

2nd Lieutenant Jake Jensen, West Point graduate with honors, was being considered for the elite international force, MIB. Answering future Agent J’s question, Jensen said, “We’re here because you want the best of the best of the best, sir!” He failed.

There is no easy way to say this: Jesus’ twelve disciples failed.

They completed three and one-half years of rigorous training, during which they were, all the time, with Jesus. He taught them many things, e.g., how to pray. They participated in two-by two missions, returning with stories of spiritual success.
They often spoke, either openly or secretly, about their readiness to serve the Lord in the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Then came Thursday night prior to Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday:

Philip expressed his uncertainty as to who Jesus was.
As Jesus was sharing the bread and the wine at the Last Supper, Luke tells us that the disciples began to fight over who was the greatest.
Judas betrayed Jesus to the religious authorities. He would afterward hang himself.
Jesus asked them to pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. They repeatedly fell asleep.
Peter denied the Lord three times under very little pressure to do so.
With the exception of John, who was at the Cross with the women, the disciples scattered, leaving the Lord alone.
Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem. Instead, they went back to the Sea of Galilee and returned to their fishing business. 

If this were Ranger School, or SEAL training, or the MIB, all of them would have failed to make the cut.

They made God’s Kingdom Cut.

Jesus said to them, “You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy… And in that day… I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you… These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Have you felt like you have betrayed or denied the Lord? Maybe you have. Failed to pray? Sure, we’ve all been there. Been puffed-up with pride? O yeah.

It sounds to me as if Jesus will restore you, refresh you, and reiterate His love for you.

Keep this perspective as we go through the text. I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 When You Sorrow, Jesus Encourages You To Rejoice, and #2 When You Scatter, Jesus Expects You To Return.

#1 – When You Sorrow, Jesus Encourages You To Rejoice (v16-24)

The Lord is coming in the year 2060.

That is the prediction of Sir Isaac Newton. When he was not inventing calculus, or formulating the theory of universal gravity, he was commenting on the Bible. His contemporaries considered him a theologian. The historical jury is out on whether or not he was a believer, on account of his rejecting the Trinity, and secretly holding to a few other heresies.

I mention him now only to point out he spent half his life muddling with alchemy. He was looking for the mythical ‘Philosopher’s stone’ that would turn base metals into gold.

God turns your sorrows into gold.

Job, the chief sufferer in the Bible, said, “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10).

Jesus has not held back in this, His final talk to the eleven before His death. Trouble would follow them like Pig-Pen’s dust cloud. They would be the Lord’s solid gold servants.

Joh 16:16  “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

For “a little while,” the eleven would not see the Lord as His body lay in the tomb.

They would see Jesus for another “little while” after He rose from the dead in His heavenly body. Then He would ascend to Heaven, to remain there until He comes to resurrect and rapture the Church.

Joh 16:17  Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?”
Joh 16:18  They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

To them, it sounded like a “Who’s on first?” skit. Cut them slack.

Even with the completed Bible, and the Holy Spirit, contemporary commentators disagree on the exact interpretation of some of the things Jesus said the last night before He died.

Joh 16:19  Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?

Jesus was God, and so we think, “Of course He knew what they desired to ask Him.” Really, in this case, you didn’t need to be God in order to know what they wanted to ask. It was obvious.

If it was supernatural knowledge, it was what we call a word of knowledge. We’ve been pointing out that Jesus was God from eternity and took upon Himself a body when He came to Earth. He was God, but voluntarily set aside the independent use of His deity. He relied instead on His Father and God the Holy Spirit. This knowledge about what the disciples were thinking would be a word of knowledge, from the Holy Spirit.

Joh 16:20  Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.

“Be turned into” expresses our Lord’s amazing capabilities. It isn’t alchemy, but from sorrow, He produces joy.

Joh 16:21  A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

Childbirth seems painful. I wouldn’t know; not just because I’m a man, but back in my day, men waited. In a special waiting room. Eating donuts & drinking coffee. Talking to other manly men. Away from the shrieking and the carnage of birth. Clean up that baby and then I’ll hold him. As Archie and Edith Bunker sang, Those were the days.

The childbirth illustration has a lot to do with Israel and her Messiah and the promised Kingdom of God on Earth.

In His prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus compared the future seven year Great Tribulation to birth pangs. The Earth and those who inhabit it with be in a seven year labor. Their birth pangs start slow then accelerate. That awful time of intense suffering will give way to incredible, lasting joy when Jesus comes in His Second Coming.

As for us, in the current Church Age, the world will get worse-and-worse. I feel like that old Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the beef?”

Where is the joy?

Joh 16:22  Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

David Powlison writes, “In the hands of a loving God, sorrow and suffering become the doorways into the greatest and most indestructible joys.”

They would not “see” Him before suffering and dying for Him. But He would see them. Catch that. Jesus emphasized He would see them. He can never not see you.

He saw them as they were martyred:

Five of the eleven would be crucified.
James, son of Zebedee, was decapitated.
Bartholomew was decapitated, too, but first he was skinned alive.
Thomas was speared to death.
Matthew was stabbed to death.
The other James was stoned, and when he didn’t die, clubbed to death.

Edward Klink writes, “The definitive and permanent nature of the disciples’ joy is not based upon the absence of any future grief and affliction but by the placement of all grief and suffering into the larger context of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Rejoicing is encouraged by our knowledge of the future of the world:

We live in the Church Age.
The Church Age will end with the coming of Jesus in the clouds to resurrect dead believers and rapture living ones.
At some point after the rapture, the Great Tribulation begins.
Jesus’ Second Coming occurs at the end of the seven years.
In fulfillment of what has been promised to the physical descendants of Abraham, Jesus rules the Kingdom of God on Earth for one-thousand years.
Final judgments on the wicked, final resurrections of the righteous, and eternity, round-out the future.

More exciting still, you know your future:

You were saved, and placed into the spiritual body of Jesus. You were born-again, and God the Holy Spirit now indwells you.
He guarantees you are going to Heaven at the resurrection and rapture, before the Great Tribulation.
Jesus will complete the work He has begun in you.
He will present you faultless in Heaven.
You’ll live in your mansion, in the city of gold, the New Jerusalem, hovering over a restored Earth in the restored heavens.
For all eternity you will enjoy perfect fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Don’t forget that you will experience reunion with your believing loved ones.

Your future ought to stir-up your joy regardless your sorrow in this world.

Joh 16:23  “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
Joh 16:24  Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

“Ask Me nothing” means that they will have access to the entire God-head and not Jesus only. Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and His resurrection bring us into a greater fellowship with God.

On Earth this was represented by the tearing in half from top to bottom the veil in the Temple that separated God from sinful men. We might say that God has an ‘open veil’ policy insofar as contacting Him anytime, 24/7. As Glenn Campbell sang, It’s knowin’ that His door is always open.

It is pointed-out, from these two verses, that (technically) we pray to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. A.W. Pink writes, “Consequent on Christ’s exaltation, the Spirit in and with believers would draw out their hearts in prayer, teaching them to present their petitions to the Father in the all-prevailing name of the Son.”

We should, however, quit parsing everything into a formula or method. This isn’t a prayer template. It is encouragement to talk to God all of the time, from an intimate love relationship.

What about receiving whatever we ask for if we ask in Jesus’ name? This cannot mean that I can ask for a Ferrari and expect to have the keys delivered to me at my convenience. It is simply not true that I can ask for anything I want and expect to receive it.

Start with the words, “that your joy may be full.” Fullness of joy is what we can confidently ask for and receive.

I have a disease. I can pray God heal me. He can; He sometimes does.
But what I really require, as His servant who has the treasure of the Gospel in my perishing body, is to have supernatural joy that is full of the glory of God.

In my new relationship with Father, Son & Spirit, I can have that supernatural joy. In fact, I do have it, since the Holy Spirit is in me. I believe that it comes from the Lord, and I simply ask for it.

Why doesn’t God give without asking? For one, I might not want it. I might insist that He get me out of my sorrow, rather than produce joy in it.

Christians can get stuck on wanting God to answer a certain way, not wanting to be joyful in sorrow, but by being delivered from it.

It is from our weakness God is shown strong in the dispensation of the Church Age.

Walter Cradock said, “Take a saint, and put him into any condition, and he knows how to rejoice in the Lord.”

There are a lot of resources that give you 5, or 7, or 10 steps for having joy.
We promote a no-step program. The apostle Paul was confident that joy was a fruit of the Holy Spirit. He is in you; you can have joy.

#2 – When You Scatter, Jesus Calls You To Return (v25-33)

J.C. Ryle writes, “The Savior of sinners will not cast off those who believe in Him, because they are babes in faith and knowledge. He can see reality under much infirmity, and where He sees it, He is graciously pleased. The followers of such a Savior may well be bold and confident.”

The disciples would scatter, abandoning Jesus. He assured them that He would be alright, and that He would make things right between Himself and them. He was, every moment of that awful night, pondering them, protecting them, praying for them. He does no less for you.

Joh 16:25  “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.

Figurative language was, in part, intended to confuse folks who kept hardening their hearts in unbelief that Jesus was Messiah.
Figurative language, to the believer, could be an aid to understanding. Parables and proverbs and signs and the like could make principles and precepts come alive.

I don’t think Jesus was telling them He had deliberately kept them in the dark. The problem was that they could only know and understand so much without the aid of God the Holy Spirit to teach them. He had not yet been given. Afterwards, they would be enabled to know and understand “plainly about the Father.”

Joh 16:26  In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
Joh 16:27  for the Father Himself loves you…

Jesus emphasized again that they would have immediate access to the throne of God. It was “in His Name,” meaning on account of what He did by dying on the Cross. The Father sees us as being in Jesus. He can thus lavish upon us His love. He can justify sinners while remaining just.

Joh 16:27  … and have believed that I came forth from God.
Joh 16:28  I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”

They “believed” Jesus was the Messiah predicted in their Scriptures. It was a basic, introductory belief. There were many things they could not yet believe. His returning to “the Father,” instead of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth, left them dizzy. But it was necessary.

Joh 16:29  His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!
Joh 16:30  Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

You might say to the disciples, I feel ya. They wanted so much to understand. They wanted so badly to shine as the Lord’s disciples, in whom He had invested so much of Himself.

By saying Jesus was talking plainly, they were assuming that His promise in verse twenty five was fulfilled. But it couldn’t be until they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They were misunderstanding Him.

Joh 16:31  Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?
Joh 16:32  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone…

Their belief, however informed or uninformed it might be, would be challenged. They would fail in the trial, scattering like sheep without their shepherd.

The scattered sheep illustration comes from the Old Testament Book of Zechariah. It has at least three prophetic applications:

First, Jesus applied it to His disciples scattering.
Second, the scattering of the sheep refers to the scattering of the Jewish nation when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.
Third, it will be fulfilled in the last half of the future Tribulation period, as antichrist seeks to exterminate all Jews.

Joh 16:32 … And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

“It’s OK, guys. The Father can’t let Me down. And neither can I let you down!”

Are you, in some way, scattered? Not walking with the Lord as you once did? He calls you to return, and to rejoice. Yes, you failed Him. But you made the Kingdom cut when you were born-again, and the Lord desires your restoration.

Michael Keaton was the keynote speaker at a Kent State graduation. He ended his talk, by telling the graduates he had two words for them. Two words that would summarize everything he had said. Two words to inspire them. After a dramatic pause, he leaned into the microphone and said, “I’m Batman.”

One verse, the last verse, summarizes this entire talk.

Joh 16:33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

I don’t think that it requires much commentary. What it calls for is much believing. Jesus has “overcome the world.” To the extent I believe He has, I will “be of good cheer,” having His “peace” in my “tribulation.”

Do you believe that?

John 16:4-15 – “Help! We Need Somebody’s Help, But Not Just Anybody’s Help”

Director Peter Jackson succeeded in making us forget that help was on its way to Helm’s Deep.

Defeat at the hand of Saruman’s terrible Uruk Kai army was upon the people of Rohan, when suddenly Gandalf came with reinforcements as promised, “on the first light of the fifth day,” from the east at dawn.

The devil, the world he is ruler over, and our flesh, often succeed in making you forget “our help comes from the Lord.” (Psalm 121:2)

Not only does our help come from the Lord, it is ever present. Jesus promised that His departure to Heaven would trigger the sending of “the Helper.” He meant God the Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit was sent on the Day of Pentecost. From that day forward, He takes residence in believers the moment we are saved.

In verse seven, the Lord said that we have a great “advantage” thanks to the Helper within us.

We should take advantage of our advantage.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Take Advantage Of The Helper’s Help In Your Walk With Jesus, and #2 Take Advantage Of The Helper’s Help In Your Witness To Jesus.

#1 – Take Advantage Of The Helper’s Help In Your Walk (v4-7 & 12-15)

God lives in you.

Here are a few verses to corroborate the incredible truth. When the text reads, “Jesus” or “Christ” lives in you, it means He lives in you in the Person of God the Holy Spirit, whom He sent as your Helper.

In Second Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” 

Romans 8:10, “But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.”

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Ephesians 3:17, “Christ may make His home in your hearts.”

Colossians 1:27, “To whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

One commentator said, “Jesus Christ isn’t outside of us in our time of need; He actually lives in us, and is with us all the time.”

We can believe God the Holy Spirit indwells us, but behave as if His help is far off and late in coming. The apostle Paul described this tendency as “having begun in the Spirit,” but trying to go forward “in the flesh,” i.e., in our own efforts.

Jerry Bridges writes, “Our reliance on the Spirit is not intended to foster an attitude of “I can’t do it,” but one of “I can do it through Him who strengthens me.” The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power.”

God lives in you. Take advantage of Him to “do all things through Jesus who strengthens you.”

Joh 16:4  But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

The Last Supper concluded, Jesus led His eleven disciples to the Mount of Olives. Along their walk, He taught them.

Jesus had just told them they would be hated and persecuted. While He was with them, on Earth, He took all the hatred upon Himself.

He didn’t need to warn them they would become targets until now, at His departure.

It sometimes seems that the Lord springs things on you at the last second. You don’t feel ready. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at Pam’s appointment.

You are always ‘ready,’ in the sense that God indwells you.

You are always getting ready, in a general way, by reading your Word and fellowshipping. Your day-to-day walk provides a strengthening of your foundation so that when storms come, the wind and waves will not topple you.

Joh 16:5  “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
Joh 16:6  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
The eleven did previously ask Jesus where He was going. They stopped asking, not because Jesus wasn’t answering, but because “sorrow” filled their hearts.

People are different. Our emotional responses are all over the place. A believer might be overcome by emotion, while another seems almost unaffected. I guess what I’m getting at is, since we are all different, we must be careful in our counsel to others.

Nevertheless, the apostle Paul was bold enough to comfort believers in Thessalonica whose loved ones were dying by saying he did not want them to sorrow as those who had no hope (First Thessalonians 4:13).

If you allow “sorrow” to fill your heart – depression, discouragement, defeat, etc. – it drowns out the still small voice of the Holy Spirit right at the time He could offer the most help. There is a time for every purpose under Heaven; time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Jesus wanted them to keep asking. For one thing, their give-and-take was a way of teaching them that would be more memorable than lecturing them. He would give them prompts and clues to figure it out.

The Bible was written by inspiration in a way that causes you to dig into it in order to discover rich veins of truth. God is not hiding things from you. He wants you to experience of joy in finding things yourself – with His Helper’s help, of course.

For another thing, the Lord seems to enjoy hearing you ask Him for things. Even things He has already given to you, like the Holy Spirit.

For example, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells believers to keep on asking for the gift of God the Holy Spirit. He’s been given; He permanently indwells us. Why go on asking?

He is our Helper, but we can don’t like asking for help. How many times have you broken something, ruined something, hurt yourself, because you did not want to ask for a friend to help? Same goes with the spiritual help we need. Too often, instead of asking the Helper for help, we say in our hearts, “I got this.”

Without the Spirit’s involvement, you don’t got this.

Joh 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

Jesus rose from the dead in a physical body. He will remain in that body for eternity. So much so that He still bears the wounds of His suffering. He is described, for example, in the Revelation as a lamb that had been sacrificed.

Don Stewart writes, “Jesus made it clear that he was not a disembodied spirit. He did things only a person having a body can do. Jesus walked, He showed His disciples the prints of the crucifixion on His body, He breathed and ate. Consequently both His words and his deeds testify to the fact that His resurrection was bodily.”

Whereas Jesus is currently seated in Heaven, God the Holy Spirit, called the Spirit of Jesus, can indwell every saved individual.

A few times in our studies in John’s Gospel we’ve said that this permanent indwelling of the believer is unique to saints in the Church Age. Old Testament saints did not enjoy this permanent indwelling. Here we find another corroboration of that truth.

Jesus said He could not send the Holy Spirit unless He first returned to Heaven. Thus God the Holy Spirit could not have permanently indwelt believers prior to the ascension of Jesus to Heaven, because He would not be given until the Church was born.

There is only one way of salvation throughout history. Believe God, and He accounts it as righteousness:

Abraham, the father of the Jews, believed God, and it was put into his account as righteousness.
Israel had the Law of God, but no one was ever saved by keeping the Law. They were saved by believing God and accepting His righteousness.

The permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit was not necessary for salvation. In the Church Age, it is part of your salvation.

Jesus is in Heaven, and He told us it was better for us He stay there. I want to suggest for your consideration that this might have some bearing on our understanding of what happens when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

We celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a memorial. The bread and the juice represent Jesus’ body and blood.

In the Roman Catholic tradition I grew up in, “the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of the Blood of Christ.” Put simply, the elements are believed to become the body and blood of Jesus.

Lutherans (and others) have yet another view, saying, “the substance of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine.”

Making application of this, J.C. Ryle writes, “It is not the bodily presence of Christ in the midst of us, so much as the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that is essential. What we should all desire and long for is not Christ’s body literally touched with our hands and received into our mouths, but Christ dwelling spiritually in our hearts by the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

Drop down to verse twelve:

Joh 16:12  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

“You can’t handle the truth,” not yet. He wasn’t prepping them for more suffering; He was encouraging them that they would be enabled to know and comprehend spiritual truth after the Spirit was in them.

Jesus emphasized during His earthly ministry that He only did and said what His Father told Him. He and the Father were in agreement. Likewise, God the Holy Spirit would be in synch with the Father and the Son.

One practical thing this means is that God the Holy Spirit will not act independently in ways that contradict what has been revealed in the Word of God. No prophecy can be attributed to Him that would not line up with the Bible. No gift of His can rightfully be exercised in a manner contrary to His instruction for doing so. It does not ‘quench’ the Spirit when we test behaviors and beliefs people attribute to Him according to God’s Word.

“Things to come,” at the end of verse thirteen, are things after Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. They include the mystery of the Church, the coming of Jesus to resurrect and rapture the Church, the security of the Church in Heaven during the seven-year Great Tribulation, and the Second Coming of Jesus with His Church to end the Battle of Armageddon and establish the one-thousand year Kingdom of God on Earth.

Joh 16:14  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

God the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus. Since He is in you, He will encourage you to glorify Jesus in all you say and do.

Along those lines, D.L. Moody writes, “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”

Any genuine work of God must glorify Jesus. Not a man, not a movement. As stated by William MacDonald, “By this we can test all teaching and preaching. If it has the effect of magnifying the Savior, then it is of the Holy Spirit.”

Joh 16:15  All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

The “things that the Father has” include His divine attributes. Jesus says those same attributes are His. They are equal.

We list the attributes of God to answer questions like, Who is God?, What is God like?, and What kind of God is He?

Besides the four omni’s – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent – God is infinite, immutable, and self-sufficient.

All lists of divine attributes differ. Some say there are five essential attributes, others as many as twenty.

Jesus didn’t give the disciples a list of His attributes with their definitions. He lived-out the attributes of God. He exampled them.

Who is God?, What is God like?, What kind of God is He? Jesus – His words and works – answers those questions.

On Saturday’s, when possible, the Pensiero grandkids come to “help” me do yard work. Sweeping, weeding, landscaping, car washing. People who see them remark, “I see you have your little helpers.”

God the Holy Spirit is not “my little Helper.”

#2 – Take Advantage Of The Helper’s Help In Your Witness To Jesus (v8-11)

“There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.”

D.L. Moody said that, and he ought to know. God used him to preach the Gospel to hundreds of thousand, and to see multitudes saved.

The verses we skipped over give insight to the working of God the Holy Spirit with regards to the Gospel and salvation.

Joh 16:8  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

“World” here refers to Earth’s inhabitants who are unbelievers. The Holy Spirit accomplishes His convicting work in a partnership with believers. That is to say, since He is in us, it is our interaction with unbelievers that gives Him opportunity to interact with those the Lord loves, who are perishing.

Joh 16:9  of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
Joh 16:10  of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
Joh 16:11  of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“Sin,” “righteousness,” and “judgment” focus our minds on the big picture.

“Sin” is the problem. Our parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. They defied His one, simple command. Their sin brought death into the human race. “You sin, you die,” paraphrases what God warned them. They sinned, and, boy, do we sin. Sin is imputed to us; we inherit a sin nature; we commit individual sins.

“Righteousness” sums-up what is needed to counter sin. In the Garden of Eden, after they sinned, God explained to Adam and Eve how He was going to overcome their sin. He would Himself enter the human race, but in a way that did not impute sin to Him, and which did not confer a sin nature. That ‘way’ was through the virgin birth. Because of it, Jesus did not have sin imputed to Him, nor did He inherit a sin nature. He would live among humans and never commit an individual sin. This perfect righteousness of His would be offered as a free gift to any who would believe on Him. He would take their sin (unrighteousness) upon Himself, and give them His righteousness.

“Judgment.” Jesus’ offer of righteousness has an expiration date. A sinner has only so much time, in this lifetime, to believe Jesus. Die in sin, in unrighteousness, and severe judgment follows.

God the Holy Spirit is tasked with “convicting” unbelievers they are dead and headed for eternal death unless they receive Jesus’ righteousness as a free gift. Since He lives in us, it is through our lives, through our witness – our words and works and our walk – that unbelievers are exposed to conviction.

They are convicted of sin, “because they do not believe” in Jesus. You do believe, and your transformed life cannot be denied.

They are convicted of righteousness, “because [Jesus went] to Father and [was seen] no more.” Jesus’ return to Heaven proved He had lived a perfect life, and was able to offer His righteousness to be Savior of the whole world, especially those who believe.

They are convicted of judgment, “because the ruler of this world is judged.” Since Jesus would defeat and judge Satan at the Cross, what hope could anyone in the “world” Satan rules have of avoiding judgment? None.

Thunderstruck was a 2012 movie no one saw. The plot follows a boy who magically gets pro basketball player Kevin Durant’s basketball skills. Needless to say, he dominates his high school team.

It’s not a great illustration, but you get it. If you were playing pick-up basketball, and Kevin Durant was on your team, you’d get the ball to him. If he wanted you to dribble, or pass, or shoot, you’d listen to his instruction.

What you wouldn’t do is leave him on the bench.

Take advantage of your advantage; God lives in you.

John 15:18-16:3 – You Hate Me. You Really, Really Hate Me!

The answer is: Adolf Hitler.

It is the answer to the question, “Who is #1 on lists of the most hated person in history?”

Other potent potentates include Ivan the Terrible and a handful of Russians; Gengish Kahn, Attila the Hun, Saladin, and Chairman Mao.

Bloody Mary, anyone? Queen Mary tops the women’s lists.

We should add two names: Jesus, and yours.

Jesus said, “[Since] the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (v18).

Most of us don’t seem to be experiencing the hatred Jesus spoke of. Nevertheless, all of us are subjected to it – if you look behind the scenes.

You are the special hatred of the person behind all the insane dictators throughout history.

The devil hates you. The Bible says he accuses you day and night before God. He is described as a lion, on the hunt to devour you. Towards that end, the devil has a malevolent agenda that he employs nonbelievers to carry out against believers.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 The Lord You Love Is The World’s Hated Man, and #2 The Lord Who Loves You Sends You To Love The Haters.

#1 – The Lord You Love Is The World’s Hated Man (15:18-25)

Haters gonna hate.

If you want something that sounds more academic, J.C. Ryle writes,

“Let us realize that human nature never changes, that “the carnal mind is enmity against God,” and against God’s image in His people. Let us settle it in our minds that no holiness of life or consistency of conduct will ever prevent wicked people hating the servants of Christ, just as they hated their blameless Master. Let us remember these things, and then we shall not be disappointed.”

Joh 15:18  “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

“If” means since. The world most definitely hated Jesus and, therefore, it hates you.

Theologians parse the biblical concept of “the world” in five ways: the physical world, the human world, the moral world, the temporal world, and the coming world.

The physical world includes all of Creation, but it mainly refers to Earth.
The human world is all the people living on Earth.
The moral world are the people in the world who are indifferent or hostile to God.
We live in the temporary world that will be destroyed in favor of the coming world.

For our purposes today, “the world” means the indifferent and hostile people on Earth who are in spiritual darkness. Satan is “the god of this world” of mankind. He employs one-third of the created angels, and many other kinds of supernatural creatures, e.g., “principalities… powers… the rulers of the darkness of this age… [and] spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

He additionally has multitudes of human boots on the ground.

He takes captive nonbelievers to help him carry out his will against God’s people (Second Timothy 2:26).

The forces of evil marshaled against us are indeed formidable. For our part, we may be few, but we are strong, because He indwells us.

Do you, everyday, expect to be hated? Are you surprised when not hated?

It isn’t defeatist. It is realistic. It does no good, and it may bring harm, to sugarcoat the opposition of the world. Early warning of storms preserves life. Consider yourself in a state of constant ‘early warned.’

Joh 15:19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

These verses are full with what we are going to call über-uplifting. The first über-uplift is that, since you are hated by unbelievers, without cause, it is evidence you belong to Jesus. You are among those Jesus “chose… out of the world.”

Uh oh. Did Jesus just say, “chose?” Yes, He did, but not in the sense of choosing them for salvation. This is not the Doctrine of Election. He wasn’t looking back to eternity past. They were in the world when Jesus chose them to serve.

Jesus chooses you, too, after you are saved, to serve Him. When you believe Jesus, He gives you the gift of God the Holy Spirit indwelling you. For His part, God the Holy Spirit gives you a supernatural gift or gifts. He does it according to His own determination, not ours. Call this über-uplift #2.

Joh 15:20  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

They would be sent out to share Jesus. They would be hated, which led to persecution. To be persecuted for the Lord is a third über-uplift. Or, it can be, if we understand it properly.

Some people would “keep” their word. Nonbelievers would hear the Word, be saved, born-again, immersed into the life of the Church, and receive the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. Your sharing of the Gospel might plant a seed in the heart of a nonbeliever, or water a seed already planted. It might even harvest that seed. A person headed to Hell is thus transformed by your witness. Is that not uplifting? It is – #4.

Joh 15:21  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Jesus repeatedly told His followers that He and God the Father were one. He said that if you saw Him, you saw the Father. The Jewish leadership refused to believe Jesus was equal with God. They convinced themselves Jesus was a blasphemer. If the Jews thought Jesus was a blasphemer, that would extend to all those who followed Him.

Joh 15:22  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

Of course, they had sin. Every human conceived, Jew or Gentile, has sin imputed to their spiritual account.

If they are born and live, every human inherits a sin nature. Then we all commit individual sins, falling short of the glory of God.

A.W. Pink writes,

“The generation to which Jesus came bore a greater responsibility than any previous generation, because men and women of earlier days had not heard His teaching or seen His mighty works, as His own contemporaries did. His own contemporaries for the most part rejected His teaching and refused to admit the evidence of His works. Therefore they compared unfavorably with pagans like the queen of Sheba who was impressed by Solomon’s wisdom or the people of Nineveh who repented at Jonah’s preaching. Indeed, the cities which had been the centers of his ministry would receive severer judgment on the great day than the sinners of Sodom.”

God holds a person accountable for the witness he or she has received. Before the Gospel comes to a person, they have the witness of conscience within, and creation without.

Pricked by their conscience, and aware there is a Creator, God expects them to seek Him. He will provide more revelation, sufficient to lead to salvation.

There is no excuse in most of the civilized world to refuse the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. We have conscience, creation, and Christians sharing the Gospel.

Joh 15:23  He who hates Me hates My Father also.

The Jewish leaders convinced themselves they were so in love with God that they must murder Jesus to preserve and protect His glory. You cannot hate Jesus and love God.

G.K. Chesterton said, “There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”

If nonbelievers hate Jesus so much, why do they seem, for the most part, so indifferent about Him?

They may not be hearing all of the Gospel.

The first martyr of the church age was Stephen. Giving an answer for himself to the Jews, he reviewed the history of Israel. It was going well, until he said, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

Stephen told them they were sinners, a point often suppressed.

Whatever Happened to Sin? In 1973, psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a book with that title. In a review I read, I learned that,

“In his book the doctor projected the day would come when sin would no longer be a descriptor of human behavior. He speculated that the explanation of sin and wrongdoing would be replaced by rationalizations excusing individual accountability.

Menninger predicted the term “sin” would be replaced with words like illness, disorder, dysfunction, syndrome, etc. The human condition would be excused as a product of biochemistry, environment, experience, and trauma. He projected that even crime would go unpunished as criminal activity would be justified and minimized as the result of some medical abnormality for which one could not be held responsible.”

It’s another type of “Replacement Theology,” replacing repentance from sin, and faith in Jesus. People need to know they are sinners, in need of salvation, which can only, exclusively, be found by believing Jesus. The Cross is thus offensive to those in the devil’s kingdom of darkness.

Joh 15:24  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.

The “works which no one else did” were the innumerable miracles the Lord performed – incredible healings, dramatic exorcisms, raising the dead.
These were predicted in the Old Testament as evidence of the Messiah. “No one else” but the Savior of the World could do these works.

Get this: Those works, being true history, are still evidence Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Joh 15:25  But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

Several times, in the Psalms, David reported he was “hated… without cause.”

I think we are on über-uplift #5. When you are hated solely for Christ’s sake, you are fulfilling Scripture.

An un-human, inhuman, inhumane despot is the god of this world. The Rolling Stones barely scratched the surface of Satan’s hatred for Jesus and Christians when they sang,

I rode a tank, Held a general’s rank, When the blitzkrieg raged, And the bodies stank.

We see his hatred expressed in the moral world, or I guess we might say, the immoral world. Christian values are imploding. We are living in the first chapter of the Book of Romans, in verses 18-32, in terms of hostility toward God. Powers that be are indoctrinating children to believe irrational lies about biology, sexuality, and truth in general. Spend only a little time on social media, or watching news, and it becomes clear that hatred for all that is righteous is the prevailing atmosphere.

As much as we work to affect change, as individually led, no real, lasting change will come unless sinner’s hearts are transformed. The Gospel, and nothing else, is the power of God to salvation.

#2 – The Lord Who Loves You Sends You To Love The Haters (15:26 – 16:3)

John Newton wrote, “When we look at the ungodly, we are not to hate them – but to pity them, mourn over them, and pray for them. Nor have we any right to boast over them; for, by nature, and of ourselves, we are no better than they.”

What is so amazing about grace is that we can share the love of God for them to the haters.

Joh 15:26  “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Jesus came as God in human flesh, the God-man, to die on the Cross so that a person might be declared righteous by believing Him. He is the only way, the only truth, the only life. For the purpose of our salvation, God the Father sends God the Holy Spirit to us, to dwell in us, when we believe. He continually sets our affections and attentions on Jesus. In that sense, the Holy Spirit can be called, the “Spirit of Truth,” or the Spirit of Jesus. He is a Person, fully God along with the Father and the Son. But He has a unique ministry subordinate to the Father and the Son.

One of the early Christian Creeds declares this regarding our God in Trinity:

The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

Joh 15:27  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The word “also” indicates that their “witness” follows upon their receiving the Holy Spirit. Their witness was unique, seeing they were eleven guys who knew more about the Lord than anyone on Earth. But that was not enough. They must rely on the Spirit.

Speaking to pastors, Jay Adam’s said, “You must not exhort your congregation to do whatever the Bible requires of them as though they could fulfill those requirements on their own, but only as a consequence of the saving power of the Cross and the indwelling, sanctifying power and presence of Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit.”

Joh 16:1  “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.

Another über-uplift, #6, is that we need not “stumble” when we experience hatred. The disciples would face excommunication and death. Remembering that Jesus was hated and martyred, and that He had predicted the same for them, they would be able to stand and keep moving forward instead of stumbling and possibly retreating.

We’ve adopted a slogan I picked-up from one of our police chiefs. When asked about a particularly difficult task facing him, he replied calmly and with resolve, “It’s the job.” If you are where you are supposed to be, doing the Lord’s work, when opposition and hatred come, “It’s the job” to respond as God the Holy Spirit leads you.

One of the commentaries said, “Forewarned, forearmed!”

They must not look for a smooth course and a peaceful journey. They must make up their minds to battles, conflicts, wounds, opposition, persecution, and perhaps even death. Like a wise general, Jesus did not conceal from His soldiers the nature of the campaign they were beginning.”

Joh 16:2  They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.

Excommunication. The word itself invokes terror. Herem is the Hebrew word. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community, including shunning them for life.

During their time with Jesus on Earth, the apostle Peter once said, “We have left all, and followed you” (Matthew 19:27). Little did Peter know that his life of leaving all and sacrificing was just starting, and would intensify until he was crucified upside-down.

Joh 16:3  And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.

They refused to recognize the Father at work in the words and deeds of Jesus.

I cited verses in the first chapter of the Book of Romans. There and here, a willful ignorance lies behind the rejection of Jesus. The unsaved know the truth but deliberately suppress it.

A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, (not to be confused with Grandpa Abe Simpson), wrote this over 100 years ago:

“The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God, give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!”

Haters gonna hate… Unless they hear the Gospel and receive our Lord.

John 15:1-17 – Because You’re Mine, I AM The Vine

Stateside, he is orthopedic surgeon Joseph Alban. On the Big Island of Hawaii, he is Kona Joe.

For two weeks each month, Dr. Joe Alban heads to Hawaii’s Big Island, where Kona Joe grows coffee beans on a 32-acre plantation.

He is lauded for his innovative method. Coffee plants are grown like wine grapes, lifted up off the ground on trellises.

Kona Joe explains, “The tree develops with more uniform sun exposure resulting in more even ripening of the coffee cherry. Sun-exposed fruit is always superior.”

Jesus was walking with the eleven to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. He taught them a parable about the vineyard. Jesus compared believers to branches lifted up so they would have greater exposure to the Son of God. This spiritual ‘trellising’ would result in maximum fruitfulness.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Jesus Promised To Be Your Fruiter (Yes, that’s a thing), and #2 Jesus Is Pleased To Be Your Friend.

#1 – Jesus Promised To Be Your Fruiter (v1-11)

Did you know – because I didn’t – that olive trees have been planted in and around vineyards for thousands of years?

Vineyards were all around them on their walk to the Mount of Olives.

Joh 15:1  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that this is the last of seven “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John. “I AM the bread of life,” “I AM the light of the world, “I AM the door of the sheep,” “I AM the resurrection and the life,” “I AM the good shepherd,” “I AM the way, the truth, and the life,” and “I AM the true vine.”

Jesus had great situational awareness. Seeing the vineyards, He used them to capture the teachable. moment.

David Guzik writes, “The vine and branch picture emphasizes complete dependence and the need for constant connection. The branch depends on the vine even more than the sheep depends on the shepherd or the child depends on the father.”

Since Jesus was about to depart from His disciples, this was super encouraging.

The word, “fruit,” occurs eight times in these seventeen verses. God desires that your life be spiritually fruitful, and He works tirelessly to that end.

Joh 15:2  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Joh 15:3  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

This scares me!

If I am a branch “that does not bear fruit,” will I be “taken away?” Will I be “cast out” and, once “withered,” “throw[n] into the fire, and burned?”

The number one rule in real estate is “location, location, location.” I put forward that a top five rule of Bible reading is “context, context, context.”

This parable teaches total dependence upon Jesus to produce fruit. It isn’t a warning that if you don’t do your part you will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

“Takes away,” and “prunes” are the vinedresser’s actions we must address.

Let’s start with “prunes.” If you look it up in Strong’s Concordance, the words clean or cleanses are listed as alternatives. The Strong’s number for that Greek word is G2508, and the word derives from Strong’s number G2513.

In the very next verse, Jesus says “you are already clean.” “Clean” is the same Strong’s number G2513. It makes more sense than “prunes,” since the word is used twice in the same context.

Jesus was therefore talking about cleansing branches, not pruning them. Grape vines are often washed with water before harvesting, to get the dust and dirt and insects off them before harvest.

Remember the foot washing Jesus performed on His guys? He told them they were “clean,” meaning saved. The cleansing of the vine is another illustration for being saved.

The words, “takes away,” can be translated, to lift up, to raise. That is exactly how grapes are grown.

The vinedresser tends the vine by lifting up branches and putting them on a trellis. He does it for greater exposure to the sun, for maximum fruit.

Joh 15:4  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
Joh 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Commentators say that you are saved, but only if you “abide.” Fail to “abide,” they warn, and you’ll find yourself ashes in an ag burn.

“Abide in Me, and I in you.” Let’s ask two questions:

How does Jesus abide in believers? By the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.

How long does the Spirit’s indwelling last? In verse six of chapter fourteen, Jesus promised, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…”

Since having the Spirit is “forever,” these verses are not about losing or forfeiting the gift of salvation. They are about fruitfulness.

“You are the branches…” totally dependent upon the vine. You can “do nothing” apart from Jesus, and that includes producing fruit.

What about those branches who do not abide and are burned? There are two positions you can hold that are perfectly biblical:

They are nonbelievers. Jesus described believers as abiding in Him, and He in them. These branches thrown into the fire never had Jesus in them. Judas Iscariot, for example.

The other position is that these branches are believers whose works burn at the Reward Seat of Jesus. The apostle Paul told the believers in Corinth, “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is… If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (3:13-15).

It would seem that these verses have application to everyone, unbeliever and believer.

Joh 15:7  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

“If” is sometimes translated, “since.” “Since you abide in Jesus,” as a branch on a vine, you can “ask.”

I “desire” craft coffee. Kona Joe… Red Elephant Coffee Company… Lanna Coffee. That isn’t what Jesus meant.

Joh 15:8  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

I might desire coffee… or a Ferrari. What should a “branch” desire? To bear much fruit. This, then, is a promise that God will bring forth much fruit if I desire.

Joh 15:9  “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

Judas had been dismissed to betray the Lord. Peter soon would deny Him. The rest would scatter. While the Lord’s body was in the tomb, they would be filled with despair.

Against such a dark, devastating background, Jesus spoke of them “abid[ing] in [His’] love.” In the darkest, most dangerous valley of the shadow of death, Jesus loves you with an everlasting, never changing love.

When we buy plants, we read the tag with instructions about sun and shade, soil conditions, and watering.

Some spiritual fruit requires harsh conditions in order to bloom and grow: Heat, drought, pests, wind, floods.

Joh 15:10  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

We have established in our studies in the Gospel of John that it is impossible to “keep [His] commandments” without the help of the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit, you find that God’s “commandments” are also His enabling to obey.

In every circumstance, the Lord can produce spiritual fruit in your life, because He is life. Your part is to “abide,” which means continue, dwell, endure.

Joh 15:11  “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

“Joy” is not a word we would choose to describe those three dark days.

Jesus was confident that not only could the eleven, and His other followers, “remain” in joy, but that it might be “full.”

The greatest expression of their joy would come after they received the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The apostle Peter would later write, “Although you’ve never seen Him, you love Him. Even though you don’t see Him now, you trust Him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words” (First Peter 1:8).

We are being encouraged to fix our eyes upon Jesus in order to become lost in the oceans of His love for us, individually as Christians, and corporately as His Church.

Acknowledge that you are in Christ, and that He is in you, and endure as commanded in God’s Word enabled by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wants to lift you up, not lop you off.

A.W. Pink writes, “Believers are never exhorted to be ‘in’ Christ. They are ‘in’ Him by new creation. But Christians are frequently exhorted to abide in Christ, because this privilege and experience may be interrupted. To abide, continue, dwell, remain ‘in’ Christ has always reference to the maintenance of fellowship with God in Christ. The word abide calls us to vigilance.”

#2 – Jesus Is Pleased To Be Your Friend (v12-17)

The article on a popular Christian blog is titled, Casual Church – What Happened to Christian Reverence?

The author writes, “What happened to reverence? Has God not the right to ask many professing Christians today, as he did the negligent priests of Israel, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear?” (Malachi 1:6).

I get it. There is a line we can cross into irreverence. But casual is not synonymous with irreverent.

Two of the illustrations in the Gospel of John that describe our relationship with Jesus are family and friends.

Jesus referred to us as “little children” (13:3).

Here in our verses, we are “friends.”

Family and friends have a less reverent, more casual, relationship with one another.

I think of the Lord, mostly, as my Friend.

Joh 15:12  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Not possible to “love” as Jesus loved without the Holy Spirit indwelling. Good thing He is in you once you are born again. He is part of the transaction of your salvation. You believe, you are born again, the Holy Spirit immerses you into the Christian life, and He indwells you, forever.

Joh 15:13  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Jesus laid His life down for more than His friends. In Romans 5:7-9, we read, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

There is no contradiction. Norman Geisler writes, “Jesus died for both His friends (His disciples) and His enemies. In fact, His “friends” were enemies when He died for them. There is no contradiction here, since the text does not say that Christ died only for His friends. He did die for those who would become His friends, but He also died for those who would remain His enemies.”

“God so loved the world.” He draws all men to Himself. He is Savior of all – especially those who believe.

Joh 15:14  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

John Gill writes, “Not that their doing of the commandments of Christ… made them His friends; or was the reason and motive of His laying down His life for them, and showing Himself in such a friendly manner to them: but the sense is, that by observing His commands from a principle of love, they would make it appear that they were His friends, being influenced by His grace, and constrained by a sense of His love in dying for them.”

Joh 15:15  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

The Christian life calls for flexibility. You remain servants, but are simultaneously friends. God expects us to wear a lot of hats. I think sometimes we have the wrong hat on for the task before us. We shouldn’t wear beanies when hard hats are necessary.

By His sharing with them the Father’s words, they had become friends.

We have the Father’s words, the complete Bible, containing everything we need to live a life of godliness. We know the future.

Beloved, you are the friend of God.

Joh 15:16  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Jesus chose these men as His disciples. They would have born much fruit in the Kingdom of God on Earth had Israel received Jesus as Messiah. They would yet bear much fruit establishing the Church in His absence.

Once more I urge us to understand the comfort these words should have brought the eleven. Jesus was prophesying their fruitful future at a time they thought all was lost.

Where this verse can create controversy is in relation to how, or if, Jesus “chooses” people to become born again; and how, or if, the free will of those persons comes into play.

The Lord was not suddenly pivoting to discuss the Doctrine of Election. There is nothing here to indicate we are dealing with election to salvation or damnation. Context, context, context. Don’t read into the text what isn’t there.

To again quote A.W. Pink, “The central theme then is not salvation, how it is to be obtained or the danger of losing it. Instead, the great theme here is fruit bearing, and the conditions of fertility.”

Joh 15:17  These things I command you, that you love one another.

D.L. Moody said, “If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.”

It is popular at county fairs to have a largest vegetable contest. The longest zucchini ever measured 8’ 3.3” and was grown by Giovanni Batista Scozzafava in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

We read the stories in the Bible, and in church history, and conclude God wants only the largest fruit possible. Not true.

Jesus spent His first 30 years on Earth learning obedience. Any accounts of Him doing miracles before then are false, because “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him“ (John 2:13).

God the Father was well pleased with Jesus’ obscurity in Nazareth. God isn’t waiting for you to produce an 8’ zucchini. He stands ready to produce His fruit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” and the like.

Read the Word to discover how a Christian can conduct him or herself in your circumstances. For example, Peter writes, “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (First Peter 2:18-21).

Believe this is what you are commanded and therefore can do thanks to the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Desire for God to produce His fruit in the situation.

You’ll Get By With The Spirit’s Help For My Friends (John 14:14-31)

Phenomenal cosmic power. Itty bitty living space.

That’s the assessment of Disney’s Genie of his lamp in Aladdin. My generation had I Dream of Jeannie. She lived in a bottle. They were ‘tiny homes’ before tiny homes became a thing.

I don’t really ‘get’ tiny homes. Live in a trailer. Then again, I’ve become fascinated by container conversions.

If you want tiny, buy a decommissioned submarine. Paint it yellow, of course. One of our Navy veterans was a submariner. He would fondly describe the mere 15sq.ft. each man had for berthing.

Go to to find decommissioned subs for sale. They have an ABS class sub they convert to a restaurant that can serve twelve people at a time. It’s only going to set you back $1mil.

Jesus told the eleven that He was going to Heaven to prepare extravagant, luxurious, spacious, custom mansions for believers. While waiting for Jesus to come and take us home, He told believers to expect a slightly more crowded housing arrangement:

“The Spirit [Who ] dwells with you… will be in you” (v17).

Every disciple would have a roommate in the person of God the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul writes, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God…” (First Corinthians 6:19).

God the Holy Spirit lives in you. I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 God the Holy Spirit Lives In You Permanently, and #2 God the Holy Spirit Lives In You Peaceably.

#1 – God the Holy Spirit Lives In You Permanently (v14-21)

We are casually discussing God Himself, God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, living in us.

There are additional verses that speak of Christ, or the Spirit of Jesus, or the Spirit of Jesus Christ, living in the believer. For instance, Ephesians 3:17, “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

This doesn’t mean Jesus and the Holy Spirit live in you. God the Holy Spirit lives in you on behalf of Jesus.

Joh 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Can you do anything that has eternal value without the help of the Holy Spirit? Charles Spurgeon didn’t think so. He said, “Without the Spirit of God we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind or chariots without steeds. Like branches without sap, we are withered. Like coals without fire, we are useless.”

Jesus told them to “keep” His “commandments.” The one, foundational commandment He gave them that night at supper was to love one another as He loved them. Not possible without the Holy Spirit indwelling us.

Joh 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever –

Jesus had been their “helper” for the previous three and one half years. He was leaving. He would send them another Helper who was simultaneously just like Him, and better than Him.

If I say “hamburger,” what is the first thing that pops into your head? For me, it’s “helper.”

Hamburger is good, but helper takes it to the next level. People have a tendency to think that way about God the Holy Spirit. We are the hamburger, and He is the sometimes Helper. There if we need Him.

You’ve seen the Christian bumper sticker, “Jesus is my Co-pilot.” You are letting the world know that you are your own pilot, and you’ll let Jesus know if you ever need His help.

Another false notion of His help has to do with His power. Christians see Him as a source of power to be tapped into if needed. In the Fast & the Furious movie universe, the street racers are equipped with nitrous oxide. The driver flips a switch and tries to hang on. That is not how the Holy Spirit operates within us.

Question: What does God the Holy Spirit have in common with the Hotel California? Once He has checked in, He never leaves. He abides with you forever.

The permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is unique to the Church in the Church Age. Old Testament saints were saved by believing in God. They were not born-again, they were not baptized spiritually by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Jesus Christ, and they did not have God the Holy Spirit as their permanent roommate.

David said to God, “Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). We cannot pray that prayer. The Spirit “abides forever.”
God did take His Spirit back from David’s predecessor. We read of Saul, “The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul” (First Samuel 16:14).

BTW: Those who argue that the Holy Spirit’s ministry was the same in the Old Testament as it is today make no distinction between Israel and the Church. They say Israel was the Church in the Old, and the Church is ‘spiritual Israel’ in the New. The Bible distinguishes between Israel, the Church, and Gentiles. You cannot understand Bible prophecy if you confuse God’s dealings with these three people groups.

When you believed Jesus, and were born-again, God the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you, forever. He doesn’t check-out. Not ever. You can grieve Him; you can quench Him. You cannot evict Him.

Joh 14:17  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Jesus earlier said He was “the truth.” The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth.” The Spirit shows you Jesus truth in a world filled with lies about Him.

The nonbeliever rejects Bible truth. Put it this way: A person who rejects clear, unequivocal, biblical truth in favor of the devil’s lies, does not have the Spirit.

Joh 14:18  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Perhaps one or more of the eleven were thinking, “I thought I was a child of God, but it seems I am to be orphaned.” Not possible.

Christians express feelings of abandonment. Especially in what seems your darkest time. Not possible.

“But Gene, I’ve been seeking God, and He’s silent.” Is not! You have the completed Bible through which He has spoken to you. With God the Holy Spirit in your heart, He is still speaking to you. He hasn’t abandoned you, but you might have to wait for His wisdom.

The Bible, for instance, repeatedly encourages us to “fear not.” It supposes that you will be in fearful circumstances.

Joh 14:19  “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

Jesus would return to Heaven. Unbelievers don’t see Him again until the Second Coming, after the seven-year Great Tribulation.

The eleven, along with lots of other believers, would see Him in His resurrection body for forty-days after He rose.

Today we “see” the Lord by faith even in His absence on account of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.

Joh 14:20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

On the upcoming Day of Pentecost, Jesus would give them the promised Holy Spirit. God the Father is spirit. So is God the Holy Spirit. I cannot fully comprehend life among spirit beings. But Jesus made it sound really great:

We will have the assurance that Jesus and the Father are one. We will be in Jesus. Jesus would be in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. And it is forever.

Joh 14:21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Verse thirty-one says something similar. “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.” Jesus loved and obeyed as our example. Jesus didn’t need to prove He loved the Father by obeying Him. Obedience and love go together.

Same with us. Obedience is our response to God’s love. Obedience and love go together.

We can, stupidly, choose to disobey. Does that mean we no longer love God? Let me ask it this way: Each time you sin, do you no longer love God?

It is true, we tend to hurt those we love. It happens on a cosmic scale, too. Disobedience hurts the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t mean we no longer love God.

You will be immersed in the love of God for you. The spiritual response to the love of God is to love Him and keep His commandments. Love reciprocates. To paraphrase Barney I love you, you love me, We’re all in God’s family.

I saw a meme that said, “The only thing permanent in this life is that everything is temporary.”

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said, “There is nothing permanent except change.”
Korg explained to Thor, “Nothing makes sense here, man. The only thing that does make sense is that nothing makes sense.”

In the midst of that kind of despair and sarcasm, we are permanently indwelt by God. Forever.

#2 – God the Holy Spirit Lives In You Peaceably (v22-31)

Whether it is the Manchurian Candidate, or the Winter Soldier, we see the effects of programming.

We are programmed by the “ruler of this world.” says, “Satan is the major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions.”

The Bible describes Satan as a murderer and liar. He has invented religions and philosophies that compete with the salvation offered by God. He breaks down boundaries God has lovingly set for His creatures, convincing people that they are making progress when, in fact, they are reverting to base, fleshly lusts.

A saved person finds him or herself in a struggle with their unredeemed flesh and the devil’s programming.

God the Holy Spirit can override our programming.

Joh 14:22  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Joh 14:24  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

Jesus keeps returning to His revelation of the Spirit’s indwelling. Our hearts become God’s home. Obedience is made possible by the Spirit, and when we choose to obey, we overcome the world’s programming.

Joh 14:25  “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
Joh 14:26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The eleven constantly struggled to understand the sayings of Jesus. Now they were told that when the Helper came, He would enable them to recall and understand what Jesus taught. They couldn’t – not fully – until then.

The Father’s sending the Spirit in Jesus’ name is another way of saying that the Father will send Him in response to Jesus’ request.

Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Holy Spirit in your heart is the “peace” that Jesus will leave with us. Thomas Watson writes, “If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.”

You can always be in the peaceful eye of the storm.

C.S. Lewis writes, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Jesus. The peace of God is His indwelling.

Joh 14:28  You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

The revelation that the Lord will return for us ought to be enough to replace trouble and fear with peace. The eleven, however, remained steadfast in trouble and fear.

Jesus added that His returning to the Father was good for them, because the Father “is greater.” Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal. The Father is “greater” with regards to the plan of salvation. God the Son voluntarily submitted to the Father, and the Spirit voluntarily submitted Himself to Father and Son.

One pastor asked, “Would you rather have Jesus beside you, or the Spirit inside you?”

Joh 14:29  “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.

The Lord has told us, too, about what is coming before it comes, so that we may remain at peace:

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (Second Timothy 3:12).
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified” (First Peter 4:12-14).

Realistic expectations go far in helping us remain at peace.

Joh 14:30  I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.

Satan was coming to do his worst against Jesus. No matter what the devil might try, Jesus was spotless, blameless, unimpeachable. He was in charge of the events that were about to transpire.

Joh 14:31  But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.

This was Jesus’ assessment of the Cross. Dying on the Cross as an act of obedience would show the world how much He loved the Father from eternity.

“Arise, let us go from here.” Jesus just said that the ruler of this world was coming, and perhaps by this He was saying, “Let us rise and be ready to meet him.” That’s pretty good advice for believers:

As Jesus went to the Cross, so we take up our crosses daily to follow Him.
Be ready to meet our defeated enemies and not be stumbled by trouble.

It’s OK to want more of the Holy Spirit, to ask to be filled with the Spirit, for Him to come upon you. Just so you understand that He is a Person, not a power. Since He is a Person, He has already come upon you, and He already fills you.

We like to see Before&After pics. A favorite on the web is celebrity Before&After pics of plastic surgery.

One of the best ways to search our hearts about the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is to see the Before&After of the eleven:

Before the Lord was crucified, the apostle Peter denied Him:

Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about” (Luke 22:54-60).

After God the Holy Spirit came to “abide forever,” Peter spontaneously addressed several thousand Jews in the Temple. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

If you’ve never experienced that kind of transformation, maybe you are not born-again. What would you say if I asked you to give your testimony?

Most of us have a testimony of being born-again. There are things, lots of things, that can quench our dependence on the Holy Spirit:

Churches often emphasize self-effort as equal or more important than the Spirit. It prompted the apostle Paul to confront believers in the region of Galatia, saying, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (3:3).
Jesus wrote to believers in the church in Ephesus and revealed, “you have left your first love” (Revelation 3:4).
Pastors and teachers tend to gravitate toward a conservative cessation approach to God the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. They deny any possibility He will give you certain gifts. They reduce Him to a kind of Teacher that tells you what to do, expecting you to do it on your own.

Ask the Lord what is going on with you & He.

John 14:1-14 – Houses Of The Holy

Geneticists are trying to 23andMe Jesus.

Dr. George Busby is an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford. In a 2017 interview he said, “An archaeologist discovered what he believes are the bones of one of the most famous of all saints: John the Baptist. I was interested in what DNA analysis could tell us about these bones.”

Busby is interested because he is searching for the DNA of Jesus. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin – meaning they would share DNA.

Another team is working to extract DNA from the James Ossuary, a first century box which may have held the bones of Jesus’ brother. Researchers also found DNA on the Shroud of Turin.

The only thing unusual they might find is that Jesus has lion DNA. He is, after all, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”

Believers are the spiritual children of God.

The apostle John told us in chapter one, ”But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…” (v12).
In the previous chapter, Jesus addressed His disciples as “little children” (13:13).

When you are born of God, you become a child of God in the family of God. Jesus was like God the Father, and you will be like God the Son.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Like The Father, Like The Son, & #2 Like The Son, Like His Saints.

#1 – Like The Father, Like The Son (v1-11)

Portrayals of God in the movies are all over the map and overstep the mark.

Actors who have portrayed God include Morgan Freeman, Val Kilmer, Martin Sheen, Rob Zombie, Whoopie Goldberg, Seth MacFarlane, George Burns, Alanis Morissette, Richard Pryor, L.L. Cool J, Tom Sizemore, and Jacob Cohen.

Jacob Cohen is the birth name of Rodney Dangerfield. In an interview, when asked about his parents, he replied, “My family moved around a lot… But I always managed to find them.” He died an avowed atheist. No joke.

Too bad Hollywood doesn’t listen to Jesus. He said repeatedly, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:7&9).

‘Twas the night before Christ was crucified, and all around the table, the disciples were understandably “troubled.” Jesus had just announced that one of them would betray Him. He told Peter that he would deny Him. He was talking about dying. Everything they had been working for the last three plus years seemed like it was coming to a violent end.

Joh 14:1  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

Are you ever “troubled?” “Let not” puts us on notice that we are to overcome our troubled heart. The Great Physician prescribed the treatment. J.C. Ryle explained it, saying, “Even the best of Christians have many bitter cups to drink between grace and glory. Even the holiest saints find the world a valley of tears. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the only sure medicine for troubled hearts. To believe more thoroughly, trust more entirely, rest more unreservedly, lay hold more firmly, lean back more completely – this is the prescription which our Master urges on the attention of disciples.”

Abraham believed God, and God credited it for righteousness.
The disciples believed God, and God credited it for righteousness.

It sounds odd, but a believer does not know what they believe. When I received the Lord, I had no knowledge of even the most basic of Christian doctrines. You get to know what you believe as you walk with the Lord, instead of this word, the Bible.

When Jesus told them to believe also in Him, He was letting them know that what He was about to tell them was stuff that no one yet knew about. Nevertheless, they could believe it because He and the Father are one.

Joh 14:2  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

For the life of me I don’t know why, but it has become popular among Bible commentators to downplay anything extravagant in the word “mansions.” They waste ink and breath arguing that the word should be translated, “dwelling places.”

My dorm at UCRiverside was a “dwelling place.”
A tent is a “dwelling place.”
Under a bridge can be a “dwelling place.”

I am expecting a mansion. Look around, at Creation. Magnificent, declaring the glory of God. Even in its current fallenness, you can tell God does nothing on the cheap.

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Follow the movements of Jesus in this verse:

Jesus left Earth to return to His Father’s house, which is Heaven.
He will “come again” from Heaven to “receive” His followers.
Jesus brings His followers to where He is, “His Father’s house” in Heaven.

The gist of what Jesus said was that He is away preparing our mansions in Heaven. He will return to take us home.

The coming Jesus promised is the resurrection and rapture of the church.

It cannot be the Second Coming, at the end of the Great Tribulation, because Jesus comes with His saints, who are already in Heaven, not for His saints who are either buried or still living.

This cannot be the Second Coming, at the end of the Great Tribulation, because Jesus comes and takes His followers to be rewarded in Heaven, not to Jerusalem, to reign on Earth.

Arno Gaebelien writes,

“The Lord gives a new and unique revelation; He speaks of something which no prophet had promised, or even could promise. Where is it written that the Messiah would come and instead of gathering His saints into an earthly Jerusalem, would take them to the Father’s house, to the very place where He is? It is something new. And let it be noticed in promising to come again, He addresses the eleven disciples and tells them, ‘I will receive you unto Myself, that where I am ye may be also.’ He speaks then of a coming which is not for the deliverance of the Jewish remnant, not of a coming to establish His kingdom over the earth, not a coming to judge the nations, but coming which concerns only His own.”

The BeeGees asked, How can you mend a broken heart? When He needed to comfort His disciples more than ever, Jesus spoke to them of His coming to gather them to Heaven.

The apostle Paul did likewise. When the believers in Thessalonica were troubled, Paul comforted them by describing the imminent resurrection and rapture of the church. After he explained the resurrection and rapture, he said, “Comfort one another with these words” (first Thessalonians 4:18).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “The Christian is a man who can be certain about the ultimate even when he is most uncertain about the immediate.”

If you are not comforting troubled hearts with talk of Heaven and the Lord coming to take us home, then you are not comforting them at all.

Joh 14:4  And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Joh 14:5  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

John the Baptist preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
Jesus preached likewise, and taught Kingdom principles and parables.
Four days earlier, on what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as King.
The King was to rule from David’s Throne.

Where in the world could Jesus possibly be going?

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I once thought that being an Italian Catholic was a lock on getting into Heaven. Jews thought they were automatically citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus declared Himself “the way,” exclusively, that a person gets into the Kingdom, into Heaven:

Judaism, as much as it was given by God to reveal the holiness and grace of God, was not the “way.”
Certainly no other man made religion or philosophy could be the “way.”

Believing Jesus is the exclusive “way.” Why would God send His Son to Earth to die on the Cross if it didn’t matter and people could get into Heaven another way? That makes no sense at all.

Jesus is “the truth” and “the life.”

Randy Alcorn writes, “Jesus didn’t say He would show the truth or teach the truth or model the truth. He is the truth.” The “truth” is that Jesus is the Savior promised in the opening chapters of Genesis. He is the “truth” in that He fulfills all the Law, the prophets, and promises of God.
His resurrection from the dead established that He has the authority to grant eternal “life.”

In the 1980s we used to gesture to Heaven, and say, “One way.” The first century church was called, “The Way.”

Joh 14:7  “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

They “knew” Jesus in a saving way. Nevertheless, they were deficient in their knowledge of God the Father. Why? Largely because He must be spiritually discerned, which requires a person to have the help of God the Holy Spirit. They could only understand so much without being born-again and receiving God the Holy Spirit. As this talk goes on, Jesus promises them the Holy Spirit.

Joh 14:8  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

It was not uncommon in Old Testament times for a Jew to ‘see’ a vision of God. Moses, Isaiah, and Ezekiel are in that club.

Philip wanted something like that. But what he wanted was less than what he already had.

Jesus was right there, present, could be touched and heard. Moses, Isaiah, and Ezekiel would be jealous.

Many believers are turning to what they believe are the ancient practices of the early church. One article I read said, “Large segments of evangelicalism are moving toward the traditional. This is evidenced by the fact that younger evangelicals are showing more interest in Christian ordinances, such as Communion and baptism, and in worshiping according to the liturgy. For them, tradition is vibrant.”

I cannot help but see it as a step backward, putting traditions between you and Jesus.

Joh 14:9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Geno and I were on a mission’s trip to Honduras with his high school. In one of the video clips taken, the two of us were sitting next to each other on a stage. We had on the same outfit; we both had a Bible open in our lap; our posture was exactly the same; and we each had our right ankle resting on our left knee, and were shaking our right foot at exactly the same pace. It was eerie.

Joh 14:10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Joh 14:11  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

“I’m in My Father, and My Father is in Me,” He said. There is an intimacy, a unity, an equality, that could be witnessed with the eyes of faith.

Jesus spoke “words,” and He did “works,” but never on His own. He set aside the independent use of His deity and, as a man, obeyed God. A disciple is someone who sets aside their independence to obey God.

A large part of Jesus’ encouragement to His disciples is going to be that He would send them to serve. We take over where Jesus left off. If they – we – want to be servants like our Lord, we will set aside our independence.

#2 – Like Son, Like Servants (v12-14)

April 30th, 1975. Eleven Marines remained. They climbed to the roof of the embassy, locking the doors to each floor behind them, with no means to call for help. Four hours later, many of the men assumed they would either be killed by the communist troops or by the frenzied crowds that by then had broken through the embassy’s gates and were breaking their way through each locked door between the floor and the roof. But, then, off in the distance, they spotted the last helicopter out of Saigon.

Christians live in a spiritual war zone as ambassadors for Jesus Christ. He is coming for us, to take us home. We do not cower on the rooftop of our embassy, afraid we will miss the last chopper. We are in the streets, among those who are the Lord’s enemies, who are taken captive by Satan to do his will. There is room on the chopper for whosoever of them believes.

I suppose a better metaphor would be a transporter, not a chopper. The dead in Christ of the Church Age, and all living believers, will be instantly changed and transported to Heaven.

Jesus was leaving. Until His return, we are tasked with continuing His work. There’s a lot of work in the next three verses.

Joh 14:12  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

If we do the “works” Jesus did, and there are a lot of us throughout the Church Age, then we will do “greater works,” numerically, and geographically.

“The works that I do” foments arguing because the first thing we think of is miracles. Shouldn’t there be signs and wonders breaking out all around us?

The miracles Jesus performed were proof He was Messiah. The majority of Jews who witnessed His miracles did not believe.

Miracles are not an effective strategy.

Grant Osborne writes,

“We must ask what a greater miracle than the raising of Lazarus might be. The answer is that the greatest miracle is not new physical life such as Lazarus received but new spiritual life, the bestowal of eternal life on the unsaved. While Jesus made forgiveness for sins and salvation possible by his sacrificial death on the Cross and by sending the Spirit to enter the new believer upon conversion, we are allowed to participate in God’s mission to save the lost. So the “greater works” are both life in the new age of the Spirit and the resultant mission to the unsaved empowered by the Spirit.”

Footnote: Like the Ramones sing, I Believe in Miracles. More often then not, they don’t happen. It isn’t because we are failing to obey, but on account of the biblical fact that in the Church Age our suffering and weakness reveal the glory of God.

Joh 14:13  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

“Whatever,” “anything?” Really?? That is not the experience of most Christians in the Church Age.

The answer to the “anything, “whatever” is demonstrated in an episode that would occur a little later that night. When the the authorities arrested the Lord, Peter drew his sword to defend Him.

Mat 26:52  … Jesus said to [Peter], “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Mat 26:53  Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
Mat 26:54  How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Sixty-thousand warrior angels were at DEFCON 1. But then how would mankind be saved? Jesus must go to the Cross.

We, too, need to pick up our Cross. The thing we are being promised is grace sufficient to submit to God’s will.

It’s not a cop-out. It is servanthood. It is a guarantee that our work done as unto the Lord cannot fail.

Thank you for your service is a popular response when we see first responders or the military.

We will be resurrected or raptured. At some point, in Heaven, we will stand before a Reward Seat, to be given rewards – to be thanked, in a sense – for our service on Earth. I don’t want to hijack the custom, but we could say to any Christian God is using, “Thank you for your service.”

Our service doesn’t end at the Reward Seat. Alexander MacLaren writes, “The joys of Heaven are not the joys of passive contemplation, of dreamy remembrance, of perfect repose; but they are described thus: ‘They rest not day nor night.’ ‘His servants serve Him, and see His face.’ ”

Like the Father, Like the Son…Like His Saints. It’s in our spiritual DNA.

You’ve Got A Fiend In Me (John 13:16-38)

Do you have a tell?

A ‘tell’ is an action, physical or verbal, that gives away information about you:

In Frozen II, Anna recognizes that Elsa wears their mothers scarf when she’s worried.
In Kung Fu Panda, Oogway tells Po, “You eat when you’re upset.”

We mostly think of tells in card games, like poker. Hence the term, “poker face,” for those without a tell.

Judas Iscariot had a tell.

We saw it in chapter twelve. Jesus and the disciples were celebrating Lazarus’ return from the grave when this happened:

Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot… said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it (v3-6).

His tell was to express outrage over resources that could have been converted to cash.

The Lord knew about Judas, but the eleven disciples never picked-up on his tell until after he betrayed Jesus for money.

There were two other notable betrayals in the New Testament:

Diotrephes appears to have been a church elder. The apostle John called him out, saying Diotrephes, “loves to have the preeminence among them [and] does not receive us” (Third John 1:9).

The apostle Paul had a traveling companion and fellow missionary named Demas. Paul’s final mention of him is, “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica” (Second Timothy 4:10).

Judas remains unique in the Brotherhood of Bible-betrayers. But there were, and will be, others.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Jesus Prepares You When He Is Betrayed, and #2 Jesus Protects You When He Is Betrayed.

#1 – Jesus Prepares You When He Is Betrayed (v16-30)

This is from a recent article in the Christian Post:

After announcing his divorce, Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and former pastor of a mega-church in Maryland, renounced his faith, saying: “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. By all the measurements I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.”

We’re not talking about backsliding. Neither are we talking about disagreements, or hurt feelings, or being let down by other believers. Betrayal is to renounce the Lord. It hurts, confuses, and can cause you to stumble in your walk.

The first thing to do is to put the betrayal into perspective. The betrayal has nothing to do with you. It is not you who is being betrayed, it is the Lord. In fact (and this may sound strange), someone else’s betrayal ought to give you greater resolve to finish well.

Nevertheless, knowing our frailty, the Lord does everything He can to prepare us for betrayals.

Jesus cares more for you than He does Himself.

It was Thursday night of Passion Week. Jesus had just washed His disciple’s feet, including Judas.

Joh 13:16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
Joh 13:17  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

The world of the disciples was about to be severely shaken. Their expectations of the Kingdom of God on Earth would be crushed. Peter would return to fishing for fish rather than fishing for men.

No matter what it might look like for the next few days, He would be sending them out, as planned. They would serve the Lord, each other, and others.

They would thereby be “blessed.” Not just in the future, when rewarded in Heaven. The promise is that they would be blessed in the work itself. They’d be doing what they loved. In their case, all except John would die a martyr. They would die doing what they loved.

Joh 13:18  “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS BREAD WITH ME HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’
Joh 13:19  Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.

The Lord’s concern was for the eleven. He did not want them to be stressed by Judas’ betrayal. He told them in order to prepare them before it happened so that they would understand it did not take Heaven by surprise.

In Psalm 41:9, King David described a personal betrayal. His counselor, Ahithophel, would betray him by supporting the rebellion of his son, Absalom. Jesus applied the words to Judas as a fulfillment.

It was not a direct prophecy of something only Judas could do.

Albert Barnes explains, “It does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, but that this was foretold, and that by this the prophecy did receive a completion.”

If not Judas, someone else would have fulfilled the future predictions of Psalm 41:9. If that sounds odd, answer this: Could John the Baptist have been Elijah? Jesus said, “If you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14).

Judas was an unbeliever who was consumed with greed. He never believed the Lord. His motivation was material, not spiritual. Eventually he was taken captive by the devil, to do his will.

If you are wondering about a motive for his betrayal, consider this. All of the disciples believed they would soon be officials in God’s magnificent Kingdom on Earth. Imagine being the treasurer if you were an accomplished thief! If Judas had figured out Jesus was not going to inaugurate the Kingdom, he may have wanted to cash out, to make at least some money on Jesus. To his greedy heart, thirty pieces of silver were better than none.

The reason some say Judas must have been saved was because he participated in doing signs and wonders.

I submit that the two magicians in Pharaoh’s court could perform at least some of signs Moses did. In the future, we are told that the false prophet will do great signs (Revelation 13:13).

In the Book of Deuteronomy we read, “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known – ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (13:1-3).

Judas was never saved.

Joh 13:20  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Jesus was “sent” by God the Father. Jesus would send the disciples. They had a “to-the-end-of-the-Earth” ministry ahead of them. The betrayal, and the Cross, would not be the end.

Joh 13:21  When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”
Joh 13:22  Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

Jesus had a lot to say, but from here on, only to His disciples. Before He could continue, He must dismiss the betrayer.

Joh 13:23  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

John wasn’t using Jesus for a pillow. It means he was on Jesus’ right hand side. John will several times refer to himself as the disciple Jesus loved. I think he didn’t want to call attention to himself.

Joh 13:24  Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

A little bit of comedy here, as Peter tried to get John’s attention. There’s a scene in Pride & Prejudice in which Mrs. Bennet sits looking and winking at Elizabeth and Catherine for a considerable time. Elizabeth won’t look at her. When at last her other daughter does, she very innocently says, “What is the matter mamma? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do?’

Embarrassed, Mrs. Bennet says, “Nothing child, nothing. I did not wink at you. Why would I be winking at my own daughter?”

Joh 13:25  Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
Joh 13:26  Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

Whatever else the dipped bread signified, it showed compassion towards Judas Iscariot by not overtly exposing him as Satan’s covert agent.

Joh 13:27  Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

We typically say that Judas was possessed by Satan. I’ve been rethinking the whole idea of possession. It comes down to this: Are demons synonymous with fallen angels?

Maybe. That is the majority opinion. Nowhere in the Bible does it directly say that demons are fallen angels.

One scholar writes, “[Equating] fallen angels with demons arose in the second and third centuries AD. It was an invention of late ancient Christian writers.” After a lengthy paper published in The Journal of Bible Literature, he concludes, “For most ancient Jews and for Christians before the second and third centuries, angels and demons were two distinct species.”

The New Testament accounts about demons portray them as obsessed with having a body. If you had not been taught otherwise, you’d conclude that demons were disembodied spirits.

Demons may be the disembodied spirits of the Old Testament race of giants called Nephilim. It makes a lot of sense.

When it says Satan “entered” Judas, it need not mean possession. The word can describe influence.

Jesus knew His timeline. He dismissed the devil to do his work, to play his part. Jesus was in charge.

Joh 13:28  But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.
Joh 13:29  For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

Jesus chose His words carefully, to mask Judas’ betrayal. You can probably imagine that, had they known what Judas was up to, the evening would have gone differently. You can’t tell me that Peter wouldn’t have impulsively gone after him, sword drawn.

Joh 13:30  Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

For three and one half years Judas had been exposed to the light. “In [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” It’s as if he slithered back under his rock.

Judas was not a tragically misunderstood antihero. He didn’t betray Jesus for some greater good, as many try to portray him. He was an unbeliever who had plenty of opportunity to receive the Lord.

Could Judas have gotten saved? Sure; and then God would have fulfilled the Scripture, and accomplished the betrayal, some other way.

Almost everything Jesus did and said in these verses was to prepare His guys. He warned them in advance. He assured them that they would go forward with the Gospel.

Don’t stumble over those who are betraying the Lord. They aren’t betraying you.

#2 – Jesus Protects You When He Is Betrayed (v31-38)

Dante’s Inferno describes Hell as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth. The ninth circle is the final, deepest level of Hell. It is reserved for traitors and betrayers. Dante chose as its most famous occupant, Judas Iscariot.

Joh 13:31  So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
Joh 13:32  If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.

The Cross was shameful, but Jesus described it as bringing “glory” to His Father and Himself.

“Son of Man” was the Lord’s favorite title for Himself. It is a title for the Messiah, found in the Book of Daniel.

He mentioned “glory” five times in these two verses:

Jesus would be glorified as He declared from the Cross, “It is finished!” A centurion, for example, would witness the Cross, and say, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

God the Father was glorified because He could, on account of Jesus’ sacrifice, justify sinners.
They brought glory to each other, Jesus for His humility and the Father for His exaltation of Jesus.

All this and more would be the immediate effect of Jesus death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Grant Osborne writes, “Here is that supreme paradox – the most horrifying event in human history is at the same time the most glorious.”

Joh 13:33  Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.

Abandoned. A word that ought never describe the treatment of children. Jesus was soon to return home, to Heaven. It would seem an abandonment to the disciples. They had lived with Jesus over three years. They expected Him to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on Earth. They had given up everything for Jesus. They had been lobbying for their assignments.

For the disciples, His departure would only be temporary. He would come again for them. For the Jews, His leaving them would be final. He was returning to Heaven, and they could not follow Him because of their unbelief.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Joh 13:35  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“Love one another” is not “new.” “Love one another as I have loved you” is new. Two things come to mind regarding the way Jesus “loved” them and us:

The Lord’s love was expressed on the Cross, where He gave Himself for us. Thus, if we are to love as He does, we must lay down our lives.
The Lord’s love is enabled by the Gift of God the Holy Spirit, given on the Day of Pentecost. Thus, if we are to love as He does, we must continue in the Holy Spirit and not our flesh.

We hear “love one another” and think it is a DIY project. It isn’t. You and I could never love one another the way the Lord loves us – not without the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Joh 13:36  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”

They were in Jerusalem, where the Messiah would rule on King David’s throne. A few days prior, the crowds hailed Jesus as King, with shouts of “Hosanna!” Where could Jesus possibly be going? Rome? Nope; Heaven.

Joh 13:37  Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”

If we are correct in assuming the disciples were anticipating the Kingdom, it could be that Peter meant he would be willing to fight for Jesus against the Roman legions.
When the Romans came for Jesus later that night, in Gethsemane, Peter did just that, cutting off an enemies ear.

Peter volunteered to be a sword-wielding soldier. Jesus was preparing Peter to be a scattered sheep.

There are a lot of metaphors to describe believers in the Church Age. Soldier is one of them. Sheep is another. So is steward, servant, slave; builder, building, betrothed, bride; farmer, athlete, vessel, etc. In the 1960s, Paul Minear published a paper listing 96 metaphors, what he called “images of the church.”

Don’t be cutting off ears soldier-like when the Lord might want you to be washing feet servant-like.

Joh 13:38  Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”

Adam Clarke writes, “Jesus must first die for Peter, before Peter can die for him.”

Peter would survive his denial, mostly because Jesus would protect him. John doesn’t record it, but Jesus said to Peter, “Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). Peter failed, yet his faith did not fail.

The same is true of us, if we’ve been born-again. As long as we remain in our unredeemed human bodies, we will fail, falling short of perfection. But since our faith is in Jesus Christ, and we have His protection, our faith will not fail.

Baptist Pastor Jack Hyles once said, “Failing is not a disgrace unless you make it the last chapter of your book.”

The Lord’s protection is not always the untouchable kind. Can you say, “Job?” Satan did sift Simon Peter. Jesus would use it to strengthen Peter, the other ten disciples, and you and I.

God the Holy Spirit is an important theme in Jesus’ comments all that evening. Jesus will say, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

Duncan Campbell said, “The Kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men and women, but by men and women in our churches becoming filled with God.”

I Always Feel Like…Somebody’s Washin’ Me (John 13:1-15)

“Who are you wearing?”

On the Red Carpet, a celebrity might say Gucci, Versace, or Armani.
In Kings County, you might say Workingman’s Store, Target, or WalMart.

My Junior and Senior years in high school in Southern California the cool kids wore Levi button fly 501 jeans from Millers Outpost, white pocket t-shirts from Sears, tennis shoes or boots. Everyday.

What about you? What was your ‘look’ in high school?

Just once I’d like to hear a celebrity answer, “Who are you wearing?” by saying, “Jesus.”

In Romans 13:14, the apostle Paul instructs believers to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The phrase put on… Christ means to figuratively clothe oneself with the Lord Jesus Christ. It means to wear Him like a garment.

Jesus made a wardrobe change at the Last Supper. He “rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. When He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again.” The Lord said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

Gird up, Christian, and tie on your towel. I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Do Not Underestimate Your Toweling, and #2 Do Not Overthink Your Toweling.

#1 – Do Not Underestimate Your Toweling (v1-11)

“Give me your sword,” requests Aragorn of a very frightened young boy. It is the eve of the Battle of Helms Deep, and everyone is outfitting themselves as best they can. “This is a good sword,” he concludes.

The next five chapters of the Gospel of John describe a single night – the Thursday of Passion Week. It is the night before cosmic forces will culminate at the Cross. Jesus inspires His disciples by wielding, not a sword, but a towel. “This is a good towel,” perfect for the conflict at hand.

Joh 13:1  Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

Six-thousand or so years earlier, God had spoken of coming to Earth to defeat the devil. He said to the devil, “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). The “Seed of the woman” was a prophecy of the virgin birth by which God would become man in the incarnation.

The “hour” was at hand in which the God-man would die, rise from the dead, and ascend back to Heaven.

Jesus “loved them to the end” has a double meaning:

It refers to the “end of His life.” Jesus would complete the mission of sacrificing Himself on the Cross.

“End” means to the conclusion. As believers, we see an end, the conclusion, to this current creation and the creation of new heavens and a new Earth.

Jesus loves you “to the end.” He gave Himself for you on the Cross. What He began in you, He will conclude.

He’ll conform you into His image, and one day we will all awake in His likeness. He will restore creation and we will live in it without sin forever.

Joh 13:2  And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,

Comparing all the accounts, we learn Judas was sitting right next to Jesus. Jesus knew it wasn’t only Judas. The devil was there. Talk about keeping your enemies close.

From the beginning, Jesus knew he was “a devil” (John 6:70). I don’t think anyone would have thought it a good idea to have Judas as one of the twelve.

I think it is safe to say that a battle of cosmic proportions was underway at the low table. On the surface, it seemed more like a staring match, or a battle of wits. The eleven disciples had no idea what was going on.

Joh 13:3  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,

Time was preciously scarce. Only hours and He would be separated from His disciples until after His death and resurrection. Shortly thereafter, Jesus would ascend, and be gone an undisclosed period of time. Whatever Jesus said and did at this supper – well, it must be of critical importance.

Joh 13:4  …[Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
Joh 13:5  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

He “rose from supper” because they reclined on pillows around a low table. Jesus removed His outer robe; He’d have on a shorter tunic underneath. He tied a long towel around His waist, apron-like, then with a pitcher of water and a basin, went from disciple to disciple.

In that moment, with hindsight, we see that Jesus weaponized the towel.
The apostle Paul explains what we mean, in that brilliant passage in Philippians that presents Jesus in His incarnation.

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Php 2:6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Php 2:7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Php 2:8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
Php 2:10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
Php 2:11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus “humbled Himself.” He was God, but volunteered to be born of a virgin and add humanity to His deity. For over thirty-years, He set aside the independent use of His deity and perfectly obeyed God the Father. His penultimate obedience was to give Himself as a sacrifice on the Cross. His humility was rewarded by His being exalted above all Creation.

A couple of weeks ago I quoted Vincent de Paul, who said, “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”

Gandalf’s strategy for defeating Sauron in the Lord of the Rings is to see to it that the One ring is destroyed. It was something the Dark Lord would never foresee, not until is was too late.

Zach Poonen writes, “Sin came through the pride of Lucifer and salvation came through the humility of Jesus.”

Jesus defeated Satan by humbling Himself. Not just then; His humility began in the Garden of Eden, when He volunteered to come as the Seed of the woman.

Jesus’ entire life was a humbling:

The circumstances of His conception were humiliating.
For a time, Jesus and family were fugitives, hiding from murderous King Herod.
They eventually settled in a not-so-desireable Nazareth.

The prophet Isaiah said of Jesus, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him” (53:2).

I’ve always assumed that Jesus had what we call charisma. He didn’t – not according to Isaiah.

Back to the tussle at the table. Satan’s strategy was coming together. It was a classic deception and betrayal, based on lies, leading to murder.

Jesus rose from the table… And “He humbled Himself.” Washing the feet of the disciples was like setting off a spiritual warhead on the devil’s forehead. It was an ‘H’ bomb – a humble bomb.

There was no greater weapon, no more effective strategy, than humility. The only thing that Satan could do was kill Jesus; but that would only make the Lord’s humility complete. It would be humility on steroids, humility to the infinite power.

At the Cross, in what looked like a satanic victory, Jesus declared His work finished. He showed His victory by dismissing His own Spirit to death, in a loud voice, no less.

When Jesus stood up and took off His outer garment, it illustrated His divesting Himself of His deity and taking on humanity in the incarnation. Then He took up His outer garment, as He did His deity in the resurrection.

Leon Morris says of the foot washing, “It is a parable in action, setting out that great principle of [humility] which finds its supreme embodiment in the Cross.”

From Heaven to Earth… From Earth to the Cross… From the Cross to the grave… From the grave to the sky. Humbled; then exalted.

Joh 13:6  Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Scholars are pretty much in agreement about where Jesus, Judas, John, and Peter reclined around the table:

Judas and John were seated next to Jesus, on His left and right, respectively. Yes, Jesus washed Judas’ feet.

Peter was across from John, which put him in the last spot.

It seems that the Lord came first to Peter. Before we criticize him for his initial refusal, consider this. When John the Baptist desired to give expression to his feeling of unworthiness in comparison to Christ, he could think of no better way to express this than to say that he deemed himself unworthy of kneeling down in front of Jesus in order to unloose his sandalstraps and remove His sandals (with a view to washing the Master’s feet).

Joh 13:7  Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

After His death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church… Then the meaning not only of this foot washing but of His entire work of humiliation would become clear.

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this,” is an explanation we are going to hear over and over in our lives:

We are not going to find the deep meaning of all the events of our lives. God’s plans are too wonderful, too complex, for Him to breakdown all the details. We can’t know the butterfly effect.
We shouldn’t try to make everything meaningful. We trust by faith that all things are working together for the good. The presence of the Lord is all the ‘meaning’ we require.

Keep us little and unknown,
prized and loved by God alone

Joh 13:8  Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

“Never say never” is good advice when we are dealing with the Lord. “Whatever, wherever, whenever” are better attitudes. “Here am I, Lord”… Send me; or Don’t send me.”

Joh 13:8  Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Joh 13:9  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

I do like that Peter was an all-in kind of guy. It’s better to try to channel someone’s zeal than to try and stir them up.

The Gospels present Peter as a big man. The foot washing basin would not be sufficient for a bath, but in addition to his feet, Peter wanted his hands and his head washed. Any part of him that might have cooties.

Joh 13:10  Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Because of His total humiliation, culminating on the Cross, the Lord can cleanse us. Though our sins be as crimson, He can make us white as snow.

It is likened elsewhere to His giving us a robe of righteousness that outfits us for Heaven.

Salvation is like being bathed, but as a one-time cleansing. After that, as you walk in the world, the Lord spot-cleans you. Theologians call this aspect of salvation your sanctification. We read, for example, that Jesus intends to “sanctify and cleanse [the Church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).

To be specific, what we believe is called progressive sanctification. We make progress to the end. Jerry Bridges said, “Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in us whereby our inner being is progressively changed, freeing us more and more from sinful traits and developing within us over time the virtues of Christlike character.”

You are saved once-for-all, then sanctified day-by-day. One day, you will be raised from the dead or raptured. You will then experience the completion of your salvation – called glorification. F.F. Bruce writes, “Sanctification is glory begun. Glory is sanctification completed.”

Joh 13:10  … you are clean, but not all of you.”
Joh 13:11  For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

Eleven of them were saved, and were being sanctified. One of them was not. Things were about to get real.

God enjoys using odd implements as weapons to show His power:

Shamgar “killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad” (Judges 3:31).
Samson killed one thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15).
Gideon’s army was equipped with jars, torches, and trumpets (Judges 7:20)

Christians have an odd assortment of weapons. The apostle Paul, in Second Corinthians 6:3-10, writes,

2Co 6:3  We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
2Co 6:4  But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
2Co 6:5  in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;
2Co 6:6  by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
2Co 6:7  by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
2Co 6:8  by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;
2Co 6:9  as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;
2Co 6:10  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

If my count is accurate, Paul listed thirty-seven things that are potential weapons in our warfare. All of them come under the heading of Humility.

Do not underestimate the power of your toweling.

#2 – Do Not Overthink Your Toweling (v12-15)

If we come away from this thinking we ought to have foot washing ceremonies, we’ve missed the point entirely. Jesus will reiterate that what matters is humbling yourself, and putting Him on, especially His humility.

Joh 13:12  So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?

Jesus “sat down.” It completed the figure. He would return to Heaven, sit down at the Father’s right hand. He would look very different when John saw Him in the first chapter of the Revelation.

If you have a presentation to make, it’s best to begin with something important. Jesus was a masterful teacher. In a night filled with instruction, Jesus wanted first to set the standard. The Church Age would continue His humiliation on Earth as His disciples all take up the towel.

We’re the Towel Academy… The Fellowship of the Towel…

Joh 13:13  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

No one is greater than Jesus. To save you, He humbled Himself. You and I are asked to humble ourselves. Knowing how far Jesus stooped, can there be any resistance to putting on humility?

We’re not talking about eating humble pie. BTW – Did you know that in the Middle Ages, they ate umble pie? It derived from the French word, numble, which means deer’s innards. Today we call innards, offal.

Numble, umble, humble, offal, awful. “Eating humble pie” has come to mean humiliation and subsequently apologizing for a serious mistake.

Jesus wasn’t baking a humble pie to give to Judas. His humility was a powerful choice to lay down His life so that all might live.

God became flesh so He could suffer and die for you. If He asks you to put off your flesh, put on humility, and offer yourself a living sacrifice, it’s reasonable.

Joh 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

If you want to practice foot washing, you are free to do so. But that is off point. Put on humility; walk humbled by what Jesus has done.

Joh 13:15  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

The “example” Jesus was referring to was the foot washing. But we know that Jesus is our example in everything. “Christian” means Christ-like. We are to be like our Lord.

There are a lot of deep definitions for “humble.” Mere words, however, lack context. I suggest the following. Jesus always humbled Himself. We ought to reflect upon everything we are told about Jesus and examine Him for His humility.

How did Jesus humble Himself talking to the Samaritan woman by the well? Or the woman caught in adultery? What kind of humility overturns the tables of moneychangers in God’s Temple?

Andrew Murray said, “We had long known the Lord without realizing that [humility] should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple.”

He who began a good work in you will complete it. You are probably in some trial or situation that calls for humbling yourself. Don’t overthink it.

Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord.

Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher And Higher (John 12:27-50)

I’m OK, right up until the technician asks, “Have you ever had metal shavings in your eyes?”

Metal shavings can get in your eyes without you knowing it. As a teen, I worked summers with my Dad & brothers at the auto shop. Safety equipment, like eye protection, was not provided by management. What management did supply was plenty of ridicule if you wanted to stay safe.

My Dad’s attitude towards safety measures in general was encapsulated in this bit of wisdom, “Seat belts kill more people than they save.”

You are asked about metal shavings prior to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). One technician explains, “The risk with metal in the MRI is that it can heat up and cause burns or it can migrate or move around. Depending on where it is, we don’t want it to migrate and affect an important structure.”

It is dangerous to be near an MRI machine. In 2001, a 6-year-old boy died at a New York-area hospital when the machine’s powerful magnetic field jerked a metal oxygen tank across the room, hitting him.

MRI’s are also a huge problem if you are hosting an alien symbiote. Eddie Brock found that out the hard way in Venom.

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the world’s most powerful ‘magnet.’

Jesus would be “lifted up,” crucified, on the Cross at Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, [I] will draw all peoples to Myself” (v32).

Augustine said, “All those who belong to Jesus Christ are fastened with Him to the Cross.”

Are you “fastened with [Jesus] to the Cross?” “All” are drawn by its power. Those who believe Him are fastened there with Him, saved forever.

I’ll organize my comments around two prayers: #1 “Jesus, Draw Me Closer,” and #2 “Jesus, Draw Me Bolder.”

#1 – “Jesus, Draw Me Closer” (v27-36)

Some voices are instantly recognized. Christopher Walken, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Leonard Nimoy, Anthony Hopkins, William Shatner, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Elliot, Chris Rock.

Maggie Smith, Joan Cusak, Betty White, Fran Drescher, Holly Hunter, Cher, Julie Andrews, Candace Bergen.

A voice from Heaven is heard as Jesus makes His final public statements.

Joh 12:27  “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Joh 12:28  Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Joh 12:29  Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”
Joh 12:30  Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

This is the second time Jesus prayed aloud to God the Father for the sake of the crowd. The first time was outside the tomb of Lazarus, just before Jesus recalled him from Hades.

The Lord gave the people a peek into the unseen realm. It would inspire confidence that God was orchestrating the events that would shortly be unfolding – namely, Jesus’ crucifixion.

Of course the Lord’s “soul” was “troubled.” Crucifixion was awful, and His would be worse than any, ever:

His human body would be so stressed leading to the crucifixion that He would sweat blood.

No one would stay up to pray with Him.

Prior to His crucifixion, He would undergo illegal treatment by those who claimed to be keeping His Laws.

One disciple would betray Him. Another would deny Him.

He would be severely beaten before being crucified.

The people for whom He was dying, for whom He would forever remain the God-man, mocked Him.

On the Cross Jesus would be surrounded by fierce supernatural foes in the unseen realm.

“What shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

Thirty years of obscurity. Three and one-half years of Messiah Ministry. It was carpe hora. Jesus would “seize the hour,” fulfilling the task He had been born to accomplish.

There’s a cute scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Scotty talks to a computer, then to its mouse.

He forgot that they were in the past.

It is critical to our spiritual well-being we realize the hour in which we live as servants of the Lord. We don’t want to behave as if we lived in some past or future era. A proper respect for Christian history is essential.

This is the Church Age. It is characterized by suffering for the sake of Jesus. We are to consider it joy when trials come. In the world, when we will have tribulation (with a little ‘t’), we are to be of good cheer. We most gladly boast in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us. We take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when we are weak, then we are strong.

A.W. Pink wrote, “Though poor in this world’s goods, though grieving the loss of loved ones, though suffering pain of body, though harassed by sin and Satan, though hated and persecuted by worldlings, whatever be the case and lot of the Christian, it is both his privilege and duty to rejoice in the Lord.”

We are equipped for the purpose of showing how a Christian glorifies the Lord in suffering.

We are to speak as the oracles of God. Our speech is to be seasoned with grace. We are to cultivate a relationship with Jesus so that the Holy Spirit can bring forth His fruit rather than our flesh. We are to love our enemies, and do good to those who mistreat us. We are to be fools for Christ’s sake, so that the foolishness of God is shown to be greater than the wisdom of man.

These are not Old Testament times. Nor are we in the Great Tribulation, or the Kingdom. We are the church, in our very own age, with its unique parameters.

Joh 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

The devil became the ruler of this world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. We see the programs of his malevolent administration in every corner of the globe.

It comes as a shock to realize Satan still has access to Heaven. We see and hear him in the Book of Job, practicing his despicable talent as the accuser of the brethren.

Jesus defeated him on the Cross, but Satan has not been “cast out.” We read in the Revelation, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down’ ” (12:10).

Joh 12:32  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Joh 12:33  This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

The best commentary on Jesus “lifted up from Earth” is found in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It captures both the physical and the spiritual. “And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (2:8-9).
Jesus was “lifted up” on the Cross, then “lifted up” to His exalted position.

Jesus promised to “draw all… to [Himself].

It means “all” people without distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

It means people from “all” walks of life, status, and stature.

No one is excluded. Where Christians disagree is whether “all” means everyone or a smaller, predestined and selected number of people.

It means everyone – “whosoever will believe.”

To say Jesus draws everyone is not to say everyone will be saved. It is to say that the Cross and Jesus’ subsequent exaltation exert a spiritual effect on every person, not just a few. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. When it is presented, it is accompanied by a drawing power. A decision to receive or reject can be made. Since this is the free will God gave us, it cannot contradict or in any way minimize His sovereignty.

Limiting the power of the Cross to draw only a few is a theological construct, not a biblical one.

Why do some believe while others do not believe? “God only knows.” That’s not a cop-out. It doesn’t ignore what the Bible teaches. The Bible is consistent in saying that we are to believe and be saved. It involves a measure of free will on our part.

Joh 12:34  The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?’ ”

“Christ” means anointed. It is a title of the conquering Messiah.

“The Son of Man” is a title for the Messiah from Daniel 7:13-14. It emphasizes the humanity and humility of the Messiah.

Today, with the completed Bible in our hands, and innumerable study helps, we are still confused about certain aspects of Bible prophecy. Let’s cut these guys some slack.

Joh 12:35  Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
Joh 12:36  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Three and one-half years prior, Jesus had come into the darkness of this world as its light. God the Father spoke from Heaven validating Him. Jesus’ ministry was coming to an end. As if to say the Lord’s work had come full circle, the Father again spoke, and Jesus reminded them He was the light of the world.

The Jews had a decision to make. Messiah, or No Messiah?

Jesus drew you to the Cross. You received Him. You were fastened to the Cross with Him. That’s a one-time experience.

As Chicago sang, however, it is only the beginning, only just the start. You keep on drawing closer to Him as you cooperate with His work in you.

If you’ve stalled, and are not making much progress in your walk, “Jesus, draw me closer” ought to be your next prayer.

#2 – “Jesus, Draw Me Bolder” (v37-50)

Can you be a believer if you do not openly confess Jesus for fear of man? Hold off on answering, because it is coming in a few verses.

Joh 12:37  But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,

“Signs” are great. But they don’t always lead to a positive, spiritual result. As often as not, signs harden hearts against the Lord. I don’t suggest that because we are against the continuation of signs and wonders. We are not cessationists. It just happens to be true that signs can have an effect you’re not expecting. It isn’t for lack of miracles that folks remain unbelievers.

Joh 12:38  that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?”
Joh 12:39  Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
Joh 12:41  These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

They would not believe; they could not believe; and they should not believe. At first reading, it sounds as though God was the cause of their unbelief. He wasn’t.

The Jews could see; they could believe. There was plenty of evidence Jesus was their Messiah. Only after they refused to believe did God blind them.

There are many reasons a person will not believe. Belief in Jesus is costly.

Not so much in dollars or bitcoin, but in relationships, career, activities. Can you say, “rich young ruler?”

Those who will not believe eventually cannot believe. God “blinds” their eyes, and “hardens” their hearts. He confirms their own choice.

There is what we might call end-stage unbelief. A man may so harden himself as to render his condition irremediable.

I’m quick to point out that we cannot know who is in end stage unbelief. We want to deal with the ‘won’t believers’ as having the capacity to respond to the draw of the Cross.

Joh 12:42  Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
Joh 12:43  for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Many of them did believe.

Commentators mostly rip into these guys, declaring them unbelievers. Better to see them as a fearful remnant. Sure, they could have been bolder. Some would be, e.g. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.

Being put out of the synagogue was more than you no longer attending meetings. You were cut-from from everything you had known all your life.

I’m not saying we justify silence on account of fear. But there have always been difficult situations for Christians. We need to extend grace as far as we can.

The last set of verses function as a summary statement, a conclusion, to Jesus’ thirty-three and one-half year mission to Humbly “Go” where the God-man had never gone before.

Joh 12:44  Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.
Joh 12:45  And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.

God the Father… God the Son… God the Holy Spirit. One God, not three, consisting of three Persons.

No one can see God the Father; He is a Spirit being. We can see Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus Christ is such a perfect reflection of God the Father in all of His glory and wisdom and holiness, to look upon Jesus Christ is as if you were looking at God the Father.

Joh 12:46  I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Pick up a paving stone and umpteen bugs scurry. Have they been there undisturbed for decades? People “abide” in the darkness of this world until belief in Jesus turns the light on. We can do a lot of good in other forums, e.g. politics, but the permanent solution to darkness is the light of the glory of God in Jesus. Our priority must be the Gospel.

Joh 12:47  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
Joh 12:48  He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

Jesus will judge the world:

At the end of the Great Tribulation, when He returns in His Second Coming, we read about Jesus separating the sheep and the goats. These are believers and unbelievers, respectively, who survive the seven-years. His judgment sends the goats away to Hades while inviting the sheep into the Kingdom of God on Earth.
It is Jesus Who is the judge at the Great White Throne. It’s described in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation. All the wicked dead from all time are judged to fall short of the glory of God. They cannot enter Heaven. Jesus passes judgment on them and they are confined to eternal, conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire.

Remember – this is the Church Age, and so long as we are here there is hope for unbelievers.

Jesus has judged and defeated sin, Satan, and death so that all who are drawn to Him, who believe, will be saved.

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.

We happen to have a President who frequently misspeaks. The other day, he said he had cancer. The White House had to issue a correction.

No corrections from Heaven regarding the words and works of Jesus.

I like this verse as a Bible teacher. In a devotional sense, a Bible teacher doesn’t speak on his own authority. We believe in the authority of the inerrant, inspired, Word of God.

We say and speak the Word by going through it verse-by-verse. We say more than that, but nothing more important than the Word itself.

Joh 12:50  And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

There is a lot of so-called inspirational literature. Readers claim their favorite inspirational book changed their lives.

Maybe. It did not offer them eternal life.

Jonathan Edwards wrote, “True boldness for Christ transcends all; it is indifferent to the displeasure of either friends or foes. Boldness enables Christians to forsake all rather than Christ, and to prefer to offend all rather than to offend Him.”

Jesus draw me bolder. Bolder to listen to God the Holy Spirit, follow His leading, and represent.