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Studies in the Gospel of Christ according to John, 5

 

 

THE LIGHT SHINES

5

 
IN THE DARKNESS

 

 

Abd al-Masih and Colleagues

5

(John 11:55 - 14:31)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Waters-of-Life


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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059 Ė Version 16.2.2004

English Title: The Light Shines in the Darkness, 5 - John 11:55 - 14:31

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PART III

LIGHT SHINES IN THE CIRCLE OF THE APOSTLES

(JOHN 11:55 Ė 17:26)

 

A -† PRELUDE TO HOLY WEEK (JOHN 11:55 Ė 12:50)

 

1. † Jesus anointed in Bethany (John 11:55 Ė 12:8)

JOHN 11:55-57

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?" 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if any one knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

The Passover was the main feast in the Old Testament, celebrating the rescue of the Hebrews from divine wrath. Thereby, they lived under the protection of the divine Lamb prepared for them. They deserved to die, but faith saved them.

Annually the Jews would visit Jerusalem to thank God for guarding them from his wrath. There they slew myriads of lambs and ate them. Many used to go to Jerusalem beforehand to be cleansed by repentance and be ready to identify with the Lamb of God. If anyone had touched a corpse he had to observe a series of cleansings for seven days, to deserve entry into Godís temple (Numbers 19:11).

At this season the pilgrims inquired about Jesus, the Nazarene, "Will he come or will they not see him?" After all, they knew that the religious Council had secretly decided to condemn him to death. They asked many in the nation to spy on Jesus, and inform them that they had seen him somewhere, to seize him. The jaws of death were open to swallow Jesus.

 

JOHN 12:1-4

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.

Jesus had no fear of his enemiesí cunning, but kept on his way to Jerusalem in accord with his Fatherís will. He did not seek reclusion, but returned to Jerusalem a week before the Feast. He passed through Bethany, three kilometers from the Capital. He came to the house where he had demonstrated his power and glorified his Father by overcoming death. Lazarus lived on to eat, drink and walk through the market. People saw him, were amazed yet fearful of the prospect of death and the sight of phantoms.

Mary, Martha and Lazarus had experienced Godís glory, and bore witness to it, despite threats from the Council. He welcomed Jesus and his disciples and offered him a banquet with great joy. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus, and he sat beside the One who had raised him from the dead. Does not this picture tell us something about Paradise? God will not be afar, but we shall sit with him in glory.

Martha, an accomplished house keeper, opened up the treasures of her home, offering what she had, knowing Jesus was the true Messiah, victor over death.

Mary, more mystical, honored Jesus in her own way, bringing a flask of costly perfume worth almost a yearís wages of a laborer. She longed to give Jesus what she most treasured. But she felt unworthy to anoint his head; she did instead anoint his feet with her lifeís treasures. Love is not mean, but sacrifices amply. Afterwards she wiped his feet with her hair. This act of love, sincere and holy, filled the house with a pervasive perfume. All who were present were filled with the scent of Maryís sacrifice.

 

JOHN 12:4-6

4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money-box, he used to take what was put into it.

Judas loved money more than he loved Jesus, preferring the material to genuine faith. So he sought to explain the sacrifice in terms of cash, ignoring the spiritual blessing linked to it. He failed to grasp the sense of Maryís adoration, thanksgiving and surrender to Christ. Whoever loves money becomes a devil. Strangely, he concealed his hatred for Jesus with a bogus piety, as if he purposed a charitable act to relieve the poor. He did not actually feel for them, nor wish to give them anything, rather he wished to acquire the money for himself. Charity for him was a cover for theft, keeping more in his pocket than he gave to the poor: Not faithful in small things, but a thief in intent and thought.

Jesus did not examine any accounts of this treasurer, but bore with him till the end, though he knew of his treachery and misdeeds. Judas was a robber and a swindler, loving himself and fielding to the enticements of riches, and a slave to it. Brother, you cannot serve God and money. You will love the one and hate the other. Do not fool yourself. Is God your aim or is it a life of ease?

 

JOHN 12:7-8

7 Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."

God does not ask us to be extravagant, to pour flasks of perfume on one anotherís feet, but simply to open our eyes to the needs of the poor around us. No party, religion or ideology can erase Christís words that the poor will always be with us. Our selfishness is gross, our love thin. There cannot be a spiritual socialism on earth; nor will everyone be on a par with all others in gifts and wealth or honor. We shall find the wretched, the rejected and the isolated wherever we go, east or west. In every town or village alike, seek out the poor and in them you will see the face of Jesus.

Jesus knew that menís hearts were hard as flint and ice-cold. He has come with the warmth of love to die for them. He also knew that the Holy Spirit had led Mary to wipe his feet and anoint him for burial. When divine love enters people, the Holy Spirit will guide to achieve unexpected marvels. Mary purposed to glorify the divine guest, so the Spirit led her to anoint him beforetime. Christ begins reconciliation of this wicked world with the God of goodness and grace.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we love you for raising Lazarus. You had no fear of the gloomy grave. Teach us to offer our hearts and possessions to serve you with all that is ours. Free us from meanness, hypocrisy, theft and hatred. Fill us with your love, and lead us to the path of sacrifice with thanksgiving.

QUESTION 80: Why did Jesus accept Maryís anointing?

 

2. Jesus enters Jerusalem (John 12:9Ė19)

JOHN 12:9-11

9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

The capital grew turbulent at the news that Jesus had visited Lazarus. The crowds hurried from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives and Bethany to witness the miracle of life-giving.

High Priests leaned towards the Sadducees, even though the latter did not believe in the resurrection, nor in the existence of spirits. Yet they hated Jesus and Lazarus, to the extent that they not only rejected the miracle, but wished to kill the miracle worker, and put both into the grave, to prove that there is no hope after death. At the same time, they wished to demolish all faith in Jesusí movement, since the crowds deemed the raising of Lazarus proof that Jesus was the true Messiah.

JOHN 12:12-13

12 The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying. "Hosanna! ĎBlessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!í, even the King of Israel!"

Jesusí name was on every tongue, and they speculated what he might do, "Will he flee or capture the city?" After staying a night in Bethany, the observers saw him in the morning with his disciples moving towards Jerusalem, "The new King approaches, the divine Sovereign comes." Many people rose to see further miracles and victories. Some cut down palm branches and carried them to welcome him. Others sang hymns that celebrated the entry of kings and heroes. They called out with loud cheers, "We praise and magnify you. You are omnipotent; you have come in the name of the Lord, filled with his authority. We thank you for the blessings you bring. Help us and save us from all shame. You are our Savior, hero and leader. You are our true King."

 

JOHN 12:14-16

14 And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on an assís colt!" 16 His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him.

Jesus did not respond to this applause, because he knew that people, when tumultuous, cannot hear or think clearly, but jostle in lanes and pathways shouting and cheering. So Jesus spoke to them visually, riding a donkey in response to their choirs, as if to say, "I am the King promised in Zechariah 9:9. Fear not but exult. I do not break down the walls and gates of cities. I do not kill or carry out Godís judgment. I am just, with no favoritism; showing justice to orphans and caring for widows."

"Sadly, not all men are just. Most are unfair, diverging from the straight path. Fear not, I will not destroy you as you deserve, but will defeat evil in you. I will bear your sin in my body, a victor, yet at the same time appearing a weak and defeated victim. Thus I will rescue you from Godís wrath; he came out victorious in the spiritual war."

"You desire a hero-king conquering by the sword, but I come to you humble as a lamb, without violence. I surrendered my will to my Father. You expected a revolt and a victory, but I offer you reconciling, salvation and peace with God. Look at the beast I ride. I do not ride a horse, or a camel, but a donkey. Do not expect riches or honor from me, for I come with eternal life, and open heavenís gates for you, reconciling the penitent with God."

But the crowd, including the disciples, failed to understand Jesusí purpose with this acted parable. After his ascension, the Holy Spirit opened their minds to realize Christís meekness and Godís glory in him. This was totally different from menís aspirations, both political and material. But the Holy Spirit led Christís followers to cheer and rejoice at his appearance, before they realized the meaning of the prophecy and its literal fulfillment.

 

JOHN 12:17-19

17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him, was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see that you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him."

Those who accompanied Jesus from Bethany met the procession coming from the capital to welcome him in the Kidron valley. The former cried out, "You do well to receive him, because Jesus is the Messiah, who raised a dead man proving his Messiahship." The raising of Lazarus was the basis of illumination for the crowds to follow Jesus for feeding the five thousand with five loaves. Here then are other crowds coming to him because he had raised a dead man. In both instances menís love for Jesus rested on earthly matters, not on righteousness and repentance.

Beside the cheering crowds stood the Pharisees and the leaders of the people angry, envying Jesus, waiting for him to invade the city. They trembled and admitted their failure. The plan to deliver Jesus secretly to them did not materialize. He entered the city riding in a victory procession.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I open my heart and mind to you, to enter by your Holy Spirit, and change me to conform to your image. Pardon my sins, for I am unworthy for your entry into my heart. But you come in despite my sins. You love and save me, because you have reconciled me to God, and brought me into the Kingdom of your peace. I shout with all who cheer, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." You are my King, I am your possession. Amen.

QUESTION 81: What does Jesusí entry into Jerusalem signify?

 

3. The Greeks seek Jesus' acquaintance (John 12:20-26)

JOHN 12:20-24

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus!" 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

Greek converts to Judaism had gathered in Jerusalem; they had come for the Passover from the Hellenistic world. When the crowds welcomed Jesus with cheers as King, the Greeks too were impressed. So they resolved to know him better. The desire of nations was epitomized in this request. Finding that Philip spoke Greek, he agreed to speak with his friend Andrew on their behalf. The two disciples approached Jesus, deeply moved because they saw the first fruits of those who would come to Jesus from the Gentiles. They may have felt that to escape to the lands of the Greeks would be a way out of danger besetting them among the fanatical Jews.

Jesus perceived their thoughts, just as he gathered the longings of the nations in the request made by the Greeks. He sent out a vital call, which was not clearly understood, yet is a victory call, and was to become the motto of Johnís gospel, "Now is the Son of Man glorified". The hour had come for him to be magnified, and the moment expected by heaven and earth was drawing near.

Yet wonder of wonders; victories at war, the seizure of political power were not the signs of Jesusí glory. John does not record the transfiguration on a high mountain, for he does not deem this as essential glory. He does mention, however the linking of Christís glorification with his death. There, on the cross, we see the core of his divinity, which is love.

Jesus called himself a grain of wheat, the heavenly seed falling to the ground, to empty himself and demonstrate righteousness and glory. Jesus was ever glorious. His death sanctifies us, the corrupt people, so that we may be worthy to share in his majesty. The arrival of the Greeks evoked an exultant call, as it showed that he calls people from all nations. He will renew in them his original glory. That glory will penetrate creation only through the cross.

 

JOHN 12:25-26

25 "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also. If any one serves me, the Father will honor him."

Jesus shows us that his way of death and passing on to glory applies to his disciples also. Just as the Son left his glory, emptied himself of divine attributes to save mankind, so also our aim is not to become great or famous, but to deny ourselves constantly. Examine yourself, do you love or hate yourself? Christ says that if you forget yourself, and serve his Kingdom faithfully you will gain the divine life. You will preserve your soul unto eternal life. With these words Jesus shows you the charter of true glory. Do not live to please your desires, nor be indolent or proud, but return to God listening to His commands, seeking the wretched and the depraved to serve them, just as he emptied himself of glory, to sit at table with the adulterous and thieves. In sharing with such sinners for the Gospelís sake Godís glory will appear in your life. Do not imagine you are better than others. Jesus alone can make you transparent with others in spite of your failures. This change comes only by self-denial.

Jesus set out this principle clearly, when he explained that our service for him means to follow and to imitate him, and to share in the scorn he sometimes endured. The path is not to splendor with luxuries and boastings; this is not what Christís followers should expect. They may experience rejection, hostility, persecution even death. Are you ready to suffer for his nameís sake? He promises, "Where I am, there shall my servant be also." Jesus has gone before you in the path of affliction, he suffers with you. Obvious glory is not the theme of Christís servants in this journey. Our happiness is not in pleasing ourselves, but it is to serve the needy. Christís name is glorified in the sacrificial spirit of his followers. The Fatherís name is glorified, as we become like His Son.

Just as Christ is seated today on his Fatherís throne, living with him in perfect fellowship and union, so also those persecuted today for his sake will live and join with their heavenly Father. Great is this mystery. What do you think will be the honor that the Father will offer to His beloved Sonís servants? He will renew His image in them, as at creation. More than this, he will descend on them in the fullness of his Spirit. They will become children like His Son, for him to be the firstborn among many brethren. Forever, they will be with his Father in the heavenlies (Romans 8:29; Revelation 21:3-4).

PRAYER: We thank you, Lord Jesus, because you were not content to enjoy your glory, but stripped yourself of your greatness. We worship you for such humility, praying that you will free us of our self-satisfaction and pride, so that we may know the liberty that your Spirit gives to serve you and know your love in our lives.

QUESTION 82: Why is Christís death regarded as the glorification of truth?

 

4. The Father glorified amid the tumult (John 12:27-36)

JOHN 12:27-28

27 "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? ĎFather, save me from this hourí? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."

Jesus suffered in the core of his being. He is the Prince of Life, but humbled himself for death to swallow him. He is Lord of Lords, but he let the devil, the ruler of deathís domain, try him with all his might. Jesus bore our sin willingly, to burn in our stead in the flames of Godís wrath. He is the Son, ever one with his Father from eternity. For our salvation, his Father left him, so that we might be united with him in grace. No one can fully realize the anguish and pain of the Son and Father. The Trinityís unity was in pain for our redemption.

Christís body could not endure this crushing pressure. He cried, "Father, save me from this hour." Then he heard the Spiritís response clearly in his heart, "You were born for this hour. This hour is the goal of eternity. All Creation with the Father await this moment, when mankind will be reconciled to God, the creation with the Creator. At this stage the plan of salvation will be fulfilled."

At that, Jesus cried out, "Father, glorify your name!" The Son would not heed the voice of the flesh. He prayed in harmony with the Holy Spirit, "Hallowed be your name. So that the world may know that you are not a terrifying God, distant and uncaring, but a loving Father, who gives Himself in the Son to save the wicked and the perishing."

God did not hesitate to answer His Sonís plead. He answered from heaven. "I have glorified my name in you. You are my obedient and humble Son. Whoever sees you, sees me. You are my beloved, in you I am well-pleased. I have no other joy except in you for bearing the cross. In your vicarious death, I shall reveal the essence of my glory in the midst of the storms of lifeís tragedies. On the cross you proclaim the meaning of glory and true holiness. It is no less than love and sacrifice and the yielding of self to the undeserving and hard-hearted."

The heavenly voice continued resounding clearly, "I will again glorify my name, when you rise from the tomb and ascend to me, to sit with me in glory, pouring my Spirit on your loved ones. Then my fatherly Name will be magnified by the new birth of countless children through the Holy Spirit. Their existence honors me; their virtuous conduct sanctifies me. Your death on the cross is the reason for the birth of Godís children. Your intercession in glory will be the guarantee of the Churchís success. In you alone the Father is endlessly glorified."

 

JOHN 12:29-33

29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33 He said this to show by what death he was to die.

The crowds around Jesus were not aware of Jesus conversing with God, but thought it was the sound of thunder. They were unable to distinguish or note that God is love, nor did they hear his tender voice, nor did they realize that by the revelation of Godís glory in the Son the worldís judgment had begun.

Satan lost his hold on his slaves, since Christ was lifted on the cross and gave us life by his death. The Evil One was deprived of his powers by the submission of the Son to the Fatherís will. Jesus called the devil the Prince of this world, in view of the fact that the whole world was placed in his domain. In the face of this painful and bitter reality Jesus did not hesitate, but struck Satan with the sword of his righteousness, dealing a fatal blow. We are now free children in Jesusí name.

We are drawn to his cross. Satan detested him to the extent that he would not let Jesus die on the ground or in his bed, but lifted him to die on the cross of shame. But just as the serpent lifted up in the wilderness in Mosesí day witnessed the end of Godís punishment for believers, so also the cross gathers all judgment on Christís shoulders. God does not condemn those who look on the Crucified. Our faith in Christ crucifies us with him and unites us in his death. We have died to sin and live for righteousness.

Our union with Christ joins us to his power and glory. Just as he overcame sin and death in holiness, so he will draw us behind him and attract us to his glory. All who trust in him will never perish, but will have everlasting life.

 

JOHN 12:34

34 The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?

The Jews tried to constrain Jesus, asking for logical and clear proof, so that they would do without an investigation of his genuineness. They knew the theological interpretation of the Book of Daniel, chapter 7, where Messiah is named Son of Man and Judge of all the world. But they still wished to hear from him the claim of divine Sonship. This they did not to exert themselves and dare to believe, they would rather offer a superficial credence, if he proved that he was what he claimed. Some of them were foes with evil intentions, wishing to trap him with a charge of blasphemy, if he said explicitly that he was that Son of Man. Jesus does not reveal himself to the researchers in logical ways, rather he reveals himself to simple believers, who respond to the magnetism of the Holy Spirit, and who confess that the Son of Man is Godís Son, before they receive logical demonstration.

 

JOHN 12:35

35 Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes."

Jesus is the Light of the world, perceiving the light requires no detailed explanations. It is perceived because ordinary people can see the light, and distinguish it from darkness. As long as it is day, one can travel, walking or running, At night, a person cannot work. While the Sun shines, it is time to work and be active. Jesus told the Jews that little time remained for them to enter his realm of Light, if they wished. That time requires decision, surrender and firmness.

However, any one who rejects the light, stays in the darkness, and does not know his way. This Jesus predicted to the Jews beforehand, that they would wander in the darkness, without a route or an aim or hope. Such darkness is not to be confused with physical darkness which lies outside us. It is inner darkness, produced by the evil spirit in man. He thus becomes in himself gloomy all his life. Whoever does not yield to Christ, is overcome by darkness. Can you see, why some "Christian" nations have become sources of darkness in the world? Not every one born "Christian" has yielded his life to Christ. Few there are who are regenerate Christians. Darkness overcomes anyone who does not enter the realm of light. You will not be able to inherit the blessings of the Gospel from your parents automatically. It is up to you to accept, respond and yield to Christ.

 

JOHN 12:36

36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." When Jesus had said this, he departed and hid himself from them.

Your bonding with Christ by faith will change you radically. The Gospel sheds the rays of Godís glory, which are more powerful than atomic rays. But whereas nuclear rays destroy, Christís rays create eternal life in us, so that the believer becomes a child of light and a lighthouse to many. Have you entered the wideness of Christís embrace, filled with truth, purity and love? Jesus calls you from your darkness to enter into his marvelous light and be holy.

After delivering this sermon prior to his entry into Jerusalem, he did not assume power by force or attack the Romans or Herod with arms. His battle was over and the judgment of the world was nigh. The light shines in the darkness; believers will be saved, and unbelievers lost. The conflict between heaven and earth has reached its climax. God does not force men to believe. Have you become a child of light or do you remain a slave of darkness?

PRAYER: We thank you, Lord Jesus, for revealing yourself as the Light of the world. Draw us to the rays of your mercy, make us merciful. Divert our gaze from money, authority and worldly victories, so that we may follow you practically, and abide as children of your light.

QUESTION 83: What is meant by our becoming sons of light?

 

5. Men harden themselves towards judgement

†††† (John 12:37-50)

JOHN 12:37-41

37 Though He had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him; 38 it was that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled, "Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 39 Therefore they could not believe, for Isaiah again said, 40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for me to heal them." 41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

Jesus performed many signs of loving intent in Jerusalem. All who had ready wills became aware of his power and source. But the narrow-minded, locked in past views, failed to recognize Jesus, as he measured him by the standards of twisted logic and bigotry.

Many folk are full of their own peculiar thoughts and do not listen to Godís voice. The Holy Spirit speaks gently and calmly and requires the attention of the heart.

But the rebels, opposed to the Holy Spirit who speaks in the gospel, do not merely harden their own souls, but God in his justice and wrath withdraws the ability inborn in them to hear and behold and so hardens them. Consequently they are no longer able to be aware of their need. God is the agent of salvation and judgment.

We notice that some families, tribes and nations seem to live under Godís wrath. He ignores those who depart from him permanently, after his repeated attempts to bring them back to earnest guidance. God hardens those who disobey the voice of his Holy Spirit. All who tread upon his love deliberately and reject the influence of Christ, will fall into condemnation. God for the sake of his holiness must harden the disobedient gradually towards perdition.

The concept of God hardening those who oppose him is not a fanciful philosophy, but has to do with his glory. This Isaiah understood when he heard the Lord sending him not to rescue his people but to harden their hearts (Isaiah 6:1-13). Preaching about love is easier than warnings about Godís wrath and judgment. Godís love is mingled with holiness, truth and justice. No evil can stand in his presence, but will flee from the rays of his glory. Since Jesus is holy Love incarnate, his person separates people. John boldly asserts that the One seated on the throne, as seen by Isaiah, is Jesus, because God and His Son are one in holiness and glory.

 

JOHN 12:42-43

42 Nevertheless many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

John, the evangelist, was known in the high priestly family (John 18:15). He tells us that, despite the distancing of the general public from Jesus, some dignitaries believed in him. They realized that God was with him, and his words were full of power and truth, but they did not witness openly.

Why did such men agree to the verdict that ran contrary to their consciences? They feared the Pharisees, preferring safety and popularity to the truth. The Pharisees had threatened Jerusalemites with expulsion if any supported Jesus. So these deputies were reluctant to lose their prestige and be exposed to a ban and to persecution. Anyone who was cut off from the nation could not buy or sell, nor marry or pray with others of his people. He is deemed a leper infecting society.

Why did these representatives not confess despite their secret faith? They preferred the honor of man more than the majesty of God. But pleasing the holy God was not their aim; they loved themselves more than their Lord.

Woe to him who only believes secretly, and acts as if he does not know Jesus. Such a man will deny his Lord at a critical hour. He prefers security and reputation to Godís honor and protection. Confess your Lord and Savior, trusting that he will guide you rightly according to his good pleasure.

 

JOHN 12:44-45

44 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. 45 And he who sees me sees Him who sent me."

Jesus called his people to repent, giving the gist of his teachings in a hard saying, while at the same time simplifying it to the spiritual. At first, this seems a contradiction as if he were saying, "He who believes in me, does not believe in me!" Jesus does not bind a person to him alone, but the Son leads all his followers directly to the Father. He empties himself of special rights, nor does he expect men to trust him alone. The Son does not deprive God of menís faith. He therefore does not take away from Godís majesty. He reveals and glorifies it constantly.

The contrary is also true: No one comes to the Father but by the Son; there is no true faith in God except in the Son. The Father gifted him all believers to be his peculiar people, and adorned him with all divine qualities. So it is that the humble Son can assert without arrogance, "He who sees me has seen Him who sent me." Jesus is the genuine Apostle from God, who bears Godís power and glory to obey absolutely. Jesus represents the essence of divine life, light and splendor. We do not know another God, other than the example that Jesus reflected in life and resurrection. His humility lifted him to the Fatherís level. Truly, the One Isaiah saw is Jesus himself, for there is no variance between the Father and the Son.

 

JOHN 12:46-48

46 I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the Last Day.

A dangerous plague rages in some villages of Africa. People would toss wildly in their jungle huts on account of the fever. The doctor who rushed to the village realized that the germs of this plague would be destroyed if the patient walked in bright sunlight. So he cried, "Come out of your gloomy huts and be healed. These microbes will perish in the sun." Many went out into the light and were cured. Others did not believe the doctor on account of the pain; they stayed indoors and died. The doctor and some other healed folk saw some who were in the throes of death, and asked, "Why did you not go out into the sunshine?" They answered, "Woe is us, we did not trust your words, they seemed too simple. We were sick and exhausted." The doctor replied, "So you died not because of the plague, but because you did not believe my instructions."

This illustration explains Christís power. He is the Sun of Righteousness rising over the darkness of sin, the Victor over the sources of evil. He who enters his marvelous light is saved. He has no other object but to save mankind from sin and death. His words can free us from all destructive forces. Whoever hears his words, trusts and believes, comes to him and obeys, lives forever. Death will have no dominion over him.

But whoever hears his words and does not hide it in his heart, will sink in sin and advances into judgment and outer darkness. Thus the Gospel becomes to unbelievers a judge and a factor in his ruin. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Do you memorize his words and fulfil them in your heartís resolve?

 

JOHN 12:49-50

49 "For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me."

Jesus is Godís word. Only what God thinks and wishes is what we hear when Jesus speaks. Christ is Godís direct message to you. The son was obedient, he listened to his Fatherís voice and translated it into human tongues. God speaks through him to a guilty world. As if to say, "I am the Eternal and will be your Father. By grace I will bestow life eternal on you. You may deserve Godís wrath and destruction, but I love you nevertheless; I sacrifice my Holy Son in your place, so that justified you may receive the Holy Spirit. You shall not die. I command you to receive eternal life at my Messiahís hand. Whoever does not, will not see Paradise or true life." With these words God offers the world a free salvation. But whoever ignores Christ or rejects him will fall into an abyss, because he has rejected Godís bidding to life.

PRAYER: Father, we thank you for bestowing eternal life on us. We magnify and praise you with joy. You have transported us from death to life, from sinís dominion to your love. Preserve in us your Sonís words and fix them in our hearts and minds, to bring forth fruit. Revive many through your Gospel. Teach us to convey your message to all, so that they may live and not die.

QUESTION 84: What is Godís commandment in Christ to all?

 


B - EVENTS THAT FOLLOW THE LORDíS SUPPER

††††† (JOHN 13:1-38)

 

1. Jesus washes his disciples' feet (John 13:1Ė17)

JOHN 13:1-5

1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simonís son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God, 4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciplesí feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

Starting from this chapter John moves to a new stage and subject of his gospel. Prior to this, Jesus was calling the people in general; sadly, the text, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not" was confirmed in them. So was Jesus failing? No! Since people as a whole do not accept him, but the Lord chose some who are ready and repent and gathered them in the circle of disciples. In these chapters we shall read how Jesus addressed the elect, as the bridegroom talking to his bride. He is theirs as they are his. Godís love becomes the motto of these discourses. This love is not mere selfish feelings, it implies a call to service. In the Bible love involves humble self-giving to those who are undeserving. In these discourses Jesus reveals the finest of his attributes to his disciples, explaining his love in the imagery of a servant, symbolising his life, death and rising again.

Jesus taught that he would die before the next Passover. He was going to his Father. Is this direction yours also? He was in the world, but his eyes ever gazed at his Father. From him came power, guidance and joy, to endure such vile men. In union with god he also saw that Satan whispered in the heart of one disciple evil thoughts. This man gradually exposed himself to greed, pride and hate. However, Jesus did not hate the traitor, but loved him with divine love to the end.

Jesus was not simply yielding to the traitor as if the event was fatalistic. Not Judas, Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate or the Jewish leaders and their masses would decide what was to come, but because of his humiliation and submission the Father committed all spirits and humans to him. He resolved to die as Godís Lamb, and appointed the timetable of events. Throughout the storms of events he did not lose sight of his source and aim. Jesus is Lord who turns the course of history.

Christ did not wish to return to his Father above, but drew his disciples into the fellowship of Godís good pleasure. He taught them with a sign standing for humility, representing before them divine love in practical terms. He thus became a servant; he fetched water and knelt before his disciples to wash their feet and dry them. He made himself the least of all, so that the simplest among them might learn that God serves humanity. The Lord does not dominate coldly and indifferently, but kneels to cleanse them and transform them into the image of his gentleness.

Jesus is our sublime exemplar. When will we bow before him and worship him? When shall we change our minds and bend our backs that are upright and unbending?

Brother so long as you are not broken, not serving your brothers or loving your foes or binding the wounds of the injured, you are not a true Christian. Are you a servant or a master? Remember Jesus is the servant of all humanity, he bends down to serve you. Will you accept that service or count yourself vainglorious, that you are good and not in need of Godís service?

 

JOHN 13:6-11

6 He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know, but afterward you will understand." 8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me." 9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean."

The disciples were embarrassed at their Masterís washing of their feet. Had they known what he would do after the "Lordís Supper", they would have washed their own feet spontaneously. Their Lord had not made a New Covenant between them and God only, but also showed them the content and meaning of this Covenant: It is nothing less than loving and practical service.

Peter was the most boastful and zealous of the disciples. He did not wish to be served by Jesus; so he tried to stop the washing, not heeding his Lordís words to him. Then Jesus explained the mystery of feet-washing to all the disciples, as if he were addressing us, "Without cleansing you have no part in the Kingdom, and without forgiveness of sins you cannot abide in me." Washing in his blood is constant, and the abiding in that cleansing is in progress continually. He it is who guards you in grace, keeping you in fellowship with Godís Son.

At that, Peter saw the light, looking at his hands which had worked evil, and thinking of his slow brain in understanding the plan of God. He was ashamed and asked for added cleansing to cover his entire being. Jesus reassured him, "Whoever comes to me becomes pure, complete on the basis of his faith." Thus we learn that we do not need a special cleansing or added holiness, because the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. There is no holiness greater or more perfect than the forgiveness of sins by his blood. As we daily gather dust walking to and fro, we constantly pray, "Forgive our trespasses". While godís children need daily to wash their feet only, the children of this world need a total cleansing.

Jesus looked at his disciples and said, "You are clean." He invited them to enter into covenant with God. The Lamb died for his disciples to make them mete to abide in divine fellowship. No man is clean in himself, but Christís blood cleanses us from all sin.

Sadly, not all his followers were holy, as also the case is today. Some of them give lip service to this basic cleansing and behave as if they believe in Christís blood, but the Holy Spirit does not fill them. Satanís spirit incites hatred, envy, pride and adultery in them. So among the pious you often find those possessed by base sprits and love of money. Jesus desires to wash your feet daily and free you from all kinds of sin, and cleanse you thoroughly for fellowship with God. Examine yourself, are you a servant or a master?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we thank you for emptying yourself of glory and coming down to us the unclean. You stooped down to wash your disciples feet, and you have cleansed our hearts from sins. We worship you beseeching you to free us from all proud thoughts, so that we may bow down and become your servants. Help me to become the least of all, and be ready to serve you in my church and family.

QUESTION 85: What is meant by Jesus washing his disciplesí feet?

 

JOHN 13:12-17

12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anotherís feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Jesus did not begin his farewell discourse with mere words. Often such words are of little use, unless carried out in action. He asked his followers, if they had grasped the tone of his symbolic work, "Open your eyes and see, I am with you as one of yours. I am not seated above you on a throne for you to grovel before me as slaves. No! I stripped myself of glory and became one of you. More than that, I left my place as teacher and master to become a servant. Have you now understood the direction that divine love has to take? The proud man vaunts himself, the one who loves humbles himself and endures all things, denies himself and serves bodily and practically."

"You wish to be my disciples, as I am your exemplar, I do not merely speak, but act out my teaching. Look at me: I am a servant. If you wish to follow me, bow down and practice mutual service. He that is among you who wishes to be first, is the feeblest. But he who serves others calmly and remains lowly is truly great."

"Do not imagine that the Church is a collection of perfect saints. They are all in the process of becoming. I have purified them all and they are saints in principle. But every member needs patience and time for spiritual growth. Everyone errs and stumbles. Here is my charge and command: Forgive one another your mistakes and sins. Judge not one another, but help others. Do not wash the heads of others, but their feet. No one should lord it over others; you are brothers. If you acted thus, you will realize what I have made clear already: I have not come to be served but to serve. My life is service, sacrifice and yielding for all."

"I send you into the world apostles of love. The sent one is great like him who sends. Your first duty is to become servants like me. If you realize this, you will have grasped the motto and watchword of Christianity."

"My second principle: If you know this, blessed are you, if you do it. I have not spoken of love as mere words; I have practiced it." Service is labor and sacrifice, not words, prayers and feelings only. The impulse to service is in a believerís nature. From this nucleus proceed various works of love. One who does not serve is hardly a believer. Ringing prayers devoid of action in assistance, are hypocrisy. You were not saved by good works; it is my blood that saves. But if you stoop down to the miserable, the wanderers, and serve them constantly, you will be filled with Godís joy. Godís good pleasure overshadows Christís servants.

Brother, do you wish to become a master and teacher? Look to Jesus. He is the teacher par excellence. He stands before you a servant. Do you want to practice his teachings? Start from today and serve. Request in prayer, where, how and whom he wishes you to serve. If you know this, blessed are you, if you do it.

 

2. The traitor exposed and disconcerted (John 13:18-32)

JOHN 13:18-19

18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, "He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me." 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am He."

Judas lived sorrowfully, not loving meekness and service. He chose violence, dominance and treachery. He desired to lord it over Jesus by deceit. He may have aimed at forcing Christís hand to seize power. Whereas he was at heart an opponent, wishing to trample on Jesus and plot his execution. He failed to realize what love involved and was proud, whereas Jesus humbled himself. Judas purposed arrogance, dominance and violent means, while Jesus chose to remain a meek and gentle servant.

Jesus was preparing his disciples for the hour of betrayal, so that they might not doubt his Lordship, even if he was to be delivered to Gentiles. He is Lord in person, witnessing to his hour of weakness in advance, calling himself "The I AM". In this expression God revealed himself in the burning bush before Moses. He wanted to confirm his disciplesí faith by such assurances of his divinity, that they might not fall into doubt and temptation.

 

JOHN 13:20

20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives Him who sent me."

Jesus freed his disciples from fear with respect to his arrest and death. His commission of them and his protection would preserve them. Jesus sends out his followers and goes with them. His servants do not go in their individual names but in the name of their exalted Lord. Whoever receives them, receives the Holy Trinity. He who believes in their words, becomes a child of God. This mission is a difficult one: It calls for self-denial and love of enemies, and remaining firm in poverty and contempt. Despite this, they know that God indwells them. Wherever they go, He goes with them, and wherever He wants them to serve, His Spirit directs them to His goals, so that His task may be complete.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to realize that I cannot remain in you, unless I become your servant. I wish ever to see you the pattern for my life, to continue humble in our gatherings and servant to our families. Let me not give place to Satan in my heart. Help me not just to speak of serving, but practice it in your power and wisdom.

QUESTION 86: What do we learn from Christís example?

 

JOHN 13:21-22

21 When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

Jesus told his disciples about mutual love and service. He represented a model of humility and meekness before them, and foretold that his sovereignty would shine forth amid weakness, so that they might be aware that he is Lord, the doer and director of events, even in the hour of death. As part of this clarification, Jesus exposed Judasí treachery and conceded him the perpetration of his crime, in order that Judas might not act according to his private plot only, but in line with the oversight of heaven.

Jesus disclosed to his disciples that one of them had decided to deliver him to the Council of Jewry. This announcement came as an explosive during a happy festival. Jesus did not announce this fact casually, but was himself troubled in Spirit, as he had been at the grave of Lazarus. He was grieving especially at the thought that his Father would leave him. Jesus had loved Judas and chosen him; it seemed impossible that a chosen friend would betray the Son of God. Although the Bible refers to this in Psalm 41:9, "He who eats my bread has lifted his heel against me."

At that, the disciples scanned each his colleague thinking, "Is he the traitor?" They had misgivings about whether it was possible for any to intend betrayal. Each had in mind the thought of leaving Jesus as soon as his way would take a downward trend in scorn and rejection. They saw themselves exposed before him, were ashamed and were unable to face the divine test before the searching light of Jesus.

 

JOHN 13:23-30

23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus. 24 So Simon Peter beckoned him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." 25 So lying thus close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" 26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the money-box, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the feast", or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.

In the midst of this turbulence, resulting from betrayal about to take place, we read a fine testimony to loving kindness. John was resting at Jesusí side. The evangelist does not once mention his own name in this gospel, but he prominently refers to his nearness to Jesus, a sign of love. He had no greater privilege than being loved by Jesus. In this respect he omits his own name, glorifying Godís Son.

Peter was too shy to ask Jesus directly about the traitorís identity, but was at the same time unable to hold his nerve. He gestured to John to find out who the traitor was. John bent towards Jesus and asked, "Who is it?"

Jesus answered this question quietly, not naming the traitor, but with a quiet gesture. Jesus did not wish to disclose the traitorís name publicly at this stage. There was just the possibility that Judas might relent. Jesus broke bread of grace that united him with his disciples and dipped the morsel into the bowl and offered it to Judas. The purpose of this action was to strengthen a disciple to eternal life. But as Judas was intent on betrayal, the morsel had no effect, rather it hardened him. His heart was closed to grace, and Satan entered him. What a frightful picture! By his sovereign will Jesus hardened the hard-hearted. As Jesus was offering him the bread, Satan was toying with his thoughts. After he received the bread, evil descended on him. Jesus judgment on the betrayer deprived him of divine protection and delivered him to Satan.

Suddenly, Judas found himself exposed when taking the morsel. Then Jesusí royal command struck him, "Do not delay to carry through your evil design, but do it at once for evil to finish its course and good may come out instead."

The disciples failed to grasp Jesusí charge for Judas to hurry. Normally he would charge him to buy the food for the company. John never forgot that fearsome picture of Judas, passing from the light of Christís presence to outer darkness.

 

JOHN 13:31-32

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified: 32 if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in Himself, and glorify him at once."

How is Jesus glorified by this act of treachery? How can good fruit come out of evil actions?

Jesus grieved Ė when his chosen disciple forsook him. He retained that look of love lest the betrayer return. But the latter hurried to the Jewish Council, who armed the guards to arrest Jesus by night.

Christ resisted the diabolical temptation to become a political Messiah, when he sent Judas to carry out the betrayal. He chose to die as the Lamb of God, to redeem mankind by meekness and weakness, announcing by his death that sacrificial love is the essence of his glory.

Jesus did not seek personal glory, but his Fatherís glory in his death. His Father had sent him into the world to save the lost. The Son desired to renew the image of the Father in fallen mankind. For this renewal Jesus revealed the Father and nurtured them to faith in Godís fatherly goodness. Training alone is not enough, for sin has abounded to erect a barrier between God and his creatures. The Son had to die so that this barrier might be demolished that separates us from God, and the requirements of righteousness be met. Christís death is the key to the glorification of the Fatherís name. Without that death, there can be no true knowledge of the Father, no legal adoption, nor true renewal.

When Christ denied himself, whereby his death would bring glory to the Father, he also announced that his Father would pour his glory on him, so he would become the spring of all glorious gifts. In the hours prior to his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus foresaw his own rising, ascension and session on the throne. Christ had to die to enter his glory.

All who deny the sufferings and death of Christ, or regard them as a sign of weakness, fail to realize Godís will crystallized in the cross, and the holiness of the Son, who burst open the grave. He showed his glory on the divine altar, where he burned out in place of all, so that all who believe in him may be justified.

PRAYER: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we magnify you for your salvation, humility and suffering, your death and resurrection. We believe that we are redeemed by Christís blood. We give you glory in the Spiritís power. You have saved us amidst the afflictions and dangers of life. The life you offer us is eternal. We believe that your Son will appear soon in glory. Amen.

QUESTION 87: What are the meanings of glory that Jesus demonstrated when Judas left him?

 

 

 

 

3. The new commandment for the church (John 13:33-35)

JOHN 13:33

33 "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you, ĎWhere I am going you cannot come.í "

After the Father was glorified in the Spirit, Jesus guides us through the aspects and basis of our faith. He is not just with us in the flesh, but he exists in heaven. The risen Christ is the most vital fact in the world. He who does not know the living One or believe in him is blind and has strayed, but whoever sees him will live and receive eternal life.

Jesus informed his disciples that he would go somewhere that the disciples could not follow. Not to his trial before the Council, nor the open grave, but he was referring to his ascension to heaven. The Father had said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies my footstool." Jesus did not vanish right away from his followers, but informed them beforehand of his death and rising as well as his ascent to heaven, where no man can enter by his own efforts. He had foretold this matter to the Jews, but they could not understand. Could the disciples now understand in the hour of betrayal? He had made them participate in worship of the Father and the Son, so that they might not drown in sorrow and the gloomy future. Would they trust in his faithfulness, that he would not forsake them? And that their common enterprise would never fail?

 

JOHN 13:34-35

34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus knew that his disciples would not fully understand him, since the Spirit had not been poured out. They were blind without the ability to trust, nor had they impulse to love, "for God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him". The Holy Trinity is love. Since love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity engenders unity that endures, Jesus wished the principle moving the Holy Trinity to be incarnate in mankind, and that the source of holiness become actual in his disciples.

So Jesus exhorted his disciples for mutual love among the members of his Church. He did not lay down ten prohibitions as was the case in the Old Testament, but only one commandment covering all other divine commandments. Love is the fulfillment of Law. Whereas Moses gave people negative rules, Christ impels us to positive action, as he exemplified himself. Love is the essence in Church life. Where the Church shows no love, it ceases to be the Church.

Love is the secret of Christís person. He had compassion on the sheep that went astray as a shepherd would, and had mercy on the lost sheep. He bore with his disciples patiently and gently. Christ made love the charter of his Kingdom. He who loves abides in Jesusí graciousness, but he who hates belongs to Satan. Love is kind and does not become puffed up. It is patient, hoping all that is good even to the foe, just as our apostles laid down its traits in Epistles several times. Godís love never fails; it is the bond of perfection.

For the Church there is no other sign save sacrifice for loveís sake. If we train ourselves for service we become his disciples. We learn as guided by Jesus the meaning of practical love. We live in his pardon, and forgive others gladly. If no one in an assembly strives for greatness, and if all rejoice because the Spirit of Christ has united them, there heaven comes to earth, and our living Lord establishes churches filled with the Holy Spirit.

QUESTION 88: Why is love the only sign that distinguishes Christians?

 

4. Christ predicts Peter's denial (John 13:36-38)

JOHN 13:36-38

36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward." 37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." 38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me?" Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.

Peter was disturbed at heart, and did not listen to what Jesus spoke on love. All he was aware of was that their Lord was leaving them in encircling peril in persecution and betrayal. He relied on himself, his sincerity and resolve. He assured Jesus that he would follow however costly the venture. He did not realize his impotence and limitations, convinced that he could fulfil his boastings. He was burning with zeal for Jesus, ready to fight and die for him.

 

 

C -† FAREWELL ADDRESS IN THE UPPER ROOM

††††† (JOHN 14:1Ė31)

 

1. God is present in Christ (John 14:1Ė11)

JOHN 14:1-3

1 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Fathersí house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you that. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also."

The disciples were disturbed by the news that Jesus was leaving them, and that they could not follow him to his destination. Jesus also predicted Peterís denial, while the latter was insisting on following him and boasting of his strong faith. Some disciples may have harbored the feeling that they might be mistaken in following Jesus, who would soon depart or even die. Jesus countered their gloom and sadness with a firm command. Rely on God fully, he is the firm foundation at all times, he is unshakeable when all else shakes. He rebukes our anxieties. Fear means unbelief. Your heavenly Father does not deceive or leave you. This is the victory that overcomes the world Ė your faith.

Jesus demanded the same measure of faith from his followers, with confidence and prayer, as his Father deserves. He is one with the Father. As the Father guarantees our future, so does the Son offer his assurance. In the Son the Father was present in the world. His love deserves our trust. His truth is rock-solid.

He therefore disclosed something to his disciples of what would occur after his death and ascension. With God there is a mansion greater and finer than any owned by the wealthy in cities or the countryside. Godís palace on high resembles a vast city, wide enough to house all saints everywhere at all times. Even if you now live in a tent or hut, do not be sad. In your Fatherís palace are many rooms and spacious dwellings. He has prepared a home for you clean, warm and well-lit. You are bidden to dwell near your Father for ever.

God, Himself, loves believers in Christ and has prepared a place for them. When Jesus returned to heaven he surveyed these mansions and added to the preparations. But he also decided to come to us; he does not intend to be far from us. He comes back to draw his followers to himself. He loves them as a bridegroom loves his bride; so he intends to present his Church, the Bride, before his Father, not just to be introduced to his Father, but to be like Him in the celestial family. We shall ever be with him, guarded in his protection, exulting in his goodness.

 

JOHN 14:4-6

4 "And you know the way where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."

Jesus told his disciples, "You know where I go, and you know the way to God." Thomas responded, "How do we know that way, since we do not know where you are going in the near future?" In his sadness he could not see the distant goal. Fear had shaken him; he had lost his sense of direction.

Jesus reassured him gently, "I am the way to God, my love and truth is the true Law leading to the heavenlies. I am the standard for humanity, by which God will judge you. Do not measure yourself by human standards of ignorance. Keep to the path that leads to God. Come to me, and compare yourselves to me; you will find that you are nothing but corrupt sinners."

Christ does not push you from fear to fear, from despair to despair. When you reach the low points of your life he stretches his hand to save, saying, "Now I give you new truth, the old truth is behind you. I died for you, and brought about the New Covenant by grace. Your sins are forgiven; your faith has saved you. Hold on to me to abide in the reality of adoption. In me you will receive the truth by approaching God. Without me you perish."

You may say, "I hear all this, but I lack faith, power, prayer and holiness." Jesus replies, "I give you eternal life; I am lifeís source. Lay hold on me in faith and you will receive the Holy Spirit. In this Spirit you will find abundant life." Whoever trusts in Christ lives forever. Do not move far from him; he is your life. Either you remain dead in your sins or alive in Christ. There is no middle way. Christ is the believerís life.

All who are bound with Christ, stand before God and see Him as a compassionate Father. No religion, philosophy, law or science will draw you near to God. Only Christ the Son of God can do this; in him the Father stands before you. Jesus is Godís perfect revelation. No one knows the Father save by him. We have the privilege of knowing God; we approach Him, because Christ is love, and has made us Godís children.

 

JOHN 14:7

7 "If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know Him and have seen Him."

The children of this world are far from God on account of their sins. Not man can know God of his own accord. No one has seen God, but his only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father. He tells us: If you had known me, you would know the Father too. But they did not know this. Knowledge does not mean understanding and science only, but transformation and renewal. Godís knowledge becomes incarnate in us, manifest in life. Do not be deceived, religious studies do not mean knowing God. What does is to yield to the light that illumines the gospel. You will be changed and become a light.

In the hour of betrayal Jesus surprisingly said to his disciples, "From now on you know me. I am not just the omnipotent conqueror, wise and glorious, but the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world also. In my atoning death God reveals himself as the reconciling Father, for He will not punish your sin in wrath, or destroy, But will punish me, His Son, so that you might be freed and changed to holiness, entering the fellowship as His children."

On the cross, God manifests Himself as Father. The Exalted One is not afar, but is love, mercy and redemption. God is your personal Father. You are the ones who believe in me, and you alone know the truth about God. This knowledge will transform you to become in your practical knowledge admirable in conduct and virtues.

 

JOHN 14:8-9

8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ĎShow us the Father.í?"

When Jesus said, "You have seen the Father and know Him." Philip was surprised and nearly said, "No, we have not seen Him", but he was embarrassed by the majesty of his Lord. Instead, he uttered the words, "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough." This reply shows that he had grasped the mystery of Jesus and his power. That secret depends on his union with the Father. If he had to leave them, it was enough to show them the Father even for a moment, so that they might be commissioned as he was and guarded in the might of the Omnipotent. Then they would know and see Godís place, and receive authority over people, power to heal and exorcise.

But by that request, Philip confessed that he did not yet know the Father or the Son. He failed to recognize the divinity and truth. Jesus did not rebuke, but was merciful, and on his final evening announced the great truth, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." With this focal word Jesus tore the veil that lay before these disciples. No visions or dreams will disclose the truth concerning God; only the person of Jesus Christ. He was not merely an important personage, but in him we saw God Himself. Today you can have a vision of God if you see Jesus and recognize him. Thomas also heard these words and failed to grasp their import. But after the resurrection of Jesus he broke down before his Master and cried, "My Lord and my God!".

 

JOHN 14:10-11

10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does His work. 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."

It may be possible for a disciple to memorize the gospel and see Jesus faintly, but not realize his essence, if he had no change of heart through the Spirit. Jesus drew out Philip with a question to a deeper faith in his deity, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father? The motto of my life is to glorify the Father. I am in the Father. The Father is in me bodily. The fullness of deity is present in me. I was born of the Holy Spirit, and lived among you without sin. I know Him from eternity, and this knowledge became incarnate in me. In me He reveals His fatherly goodness and His utter mercy."

"I have proof for this testimony: My authoritative words and divine works. If you find it hard to have faith in the Fatherís presence in me, then listen to my words, by which the Father speaks through me. These words grant you life, power and boldness. If you do not understand my words, look at my works; God, Himself, works among you with heavenly signs. He saves you through me, you that are lost. Now you will see in the hour of my crucifixion the greatest of Godís works, reconciling mankind to Himself by my death. Open your eyes, do not block your ears. You will recognize God in the Crucified. This is the true God who will not condemn you, but save you."

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, by grace I say, "My Lord and my God!" Forgive my unbelief and lack of love. Open my inner eyes to your Holy Spirit, so that I may see the Father in you, and be changed into His love, so that your knowledge may redound to life rather than death. Reveal the essence of your glory to unbelievers so that they may gain new life by faith.

QUESTION 89: What is the relationship between Christ and God the Father?

 

2.† The Holy Trinity descends on believers by the Comforter

†††† (John 14:12Ė25)

JOHN 14:12

12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father."

Knowledge of God is not a philosophy or a logical system. All head knowledge puffs up, but this is the knowledge of Godís love and the Sonís salvation. It signifies freedom to serve. Christ gave his disciples a new commandment "to practice divine love in life by work and deed with prayer."

The disciples asked Jesus for protection and an added knowledge of God, when they understood, that he was to leave them. But Christ established them in the Father, so that they might be fitted to evangelize the world.

What was vital, was not their temporary cares about themselves, but their preparation for divine service. The knowledge of Father and Son saves us from egoism, and leads us into humble service. Jesus said: Whoever trusts in me works, does not just talk, but follows the path of sacrifice. To the extent that the believer denies himself and magnifies Christ, the Son who rose from the dead works in him and bestows heavenís blessings on him. With such faith the Apostles were able to heal and to forgive sins as well as raise the dead in Jesusí name after the outpouring of the Spirit. They denied themselves, and Christ lived in them. They loved him with all their beings, and glorified him in conduct.

Besides these holy ministries, Christ sent them to perform missions he had been unable to complete during his brief time on earth. After his ascension he sent his Holy Spirit, so that many might be renewed by their preaching. Children would be born to the Father, as dew falling at sunrise. Nothing is finer that our testimony given to the crucified and risen Christ. By trusting this witness, men receive life everlasting. The Holy Spirit comes upon those who cling to Christ and makes them Godís children, so that they magnify their Father all their life in uprightness.

 

JOHN 14:13-14

13 "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."

Do you pray? What ratio of your prayers have to do with your anxieties and sins? And how little time you spend in praising God and serving others? Are you selfish in prayer or full of love for God and the lost?

Has Godís love altered your prayers, so that you bless your enemies? Has Christís salvation made you a rescuer of many in his name? Do your prayers accord with the petitions of the Lordís prayer? Or do you continue to hate some, not forgiving their trespasses?

If you pray in Christís name, you will live and think according to his Spirit, as he desires, and your heart will be filled with compassionate thoughts.

Christ gives a promise that takes in the powers and blessings of heaven. He ties this promise with a clear-cut condition, "If you open yourself to my words, so that they change you, I shall be strong and great in you, and I will save many from corruption by your faith and prayers. As often as you pray in the Spiritís leading and you believe in me, I shall answer directly."

Brother, think thankfully of the key Jesus has put in your hands. Open up the treasury of heaven in prayer. "I shall descend on your neighbors and friends with blessings and salvation and knowledge as well as repentance and help." Pray Jesus and implore that he may chose slaves from your nation and make them Godís children. Do not be weary in prayer; your faith is the means of the saving of many. Believe in the answer as you pray; thank him beforehand for his answer. Ask your brothers and sisters to join you in prayer and faith. Do not tire in praise and worship. Pray that he will pour the Spirit of prayer on you.

If you feel that Jesus does not answer your prayers, then repent and confess your sin, break down the barriers of prayer, so that he may cleanse you. He will give you the authority to bring heavenís fullness to earth. When you embark on prayer in faith and witness, you glorify the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, grant us the Spirit of prayer, lest we think of ourselves first, but think of those we know or do not know. Make us prayerful believers, so that you may save our kinsfolk. I praise you; you have opened up heaven for us pouring on us your gifts and bounty. May the Fatherís name be glorified through the birth of many spiritual children. May your name be sanctified through their conduct in holiness and the Spiritís power.

QUESTION 90: Mention a primary condition for answered prayer!

 

JOHN 14:15

15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments".

Evangelism renders thanks for Calvary. He who does not evangelize does not know Christís liberty. If you find that prayers and witness are fruitless, examine yourself whether you are abiding in Christís love, or are your sins preventing that blessing. Confess your lack before Jesus, so that the stream of blessing may not be cut off from others. The Lord has given us numerous commandments: Love your enemies, watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect; come unto me all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. These imperatives are summed up in the golden text: love one another as I have loved you. His commandments are not heavy burdens, but a help to living and a bridge to faith and love.

Whoever experiences Jesusí ransom, cannot live for himself, but serves Christ the Savior.

 

JOHN 14:16-17

16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever. 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

He who tries to live up to Jesusí commands on his own will fail in despair. For that reason, Jesus interceded with God to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He has several functions here. He is the Spirit of truth who shows us the extent of our sins. Then he portrays to us Jesus crucified before us, assuring us that this is the divine Son who pardons our sins. He makes us righteous before God by grace. This blessed Spirit gives us the second birth. He opens our mouths to call God our Father. Then, we feel sure that we are truly the children of God by the Spirit of adoption. Lastly, he becomes our advocate defending us. He stands beside us and keeps us firm in the face of Satanís whispers, assuring us that salvation is complete. We cannot find certainty in our trials or satisfaction in this world except through the Comforter whom Jesus has sent us.

No man possesses the Spirit by nature, neither a genius or a poet or a seer. This Spirit is supernatural, and comes on those who believe in Christís blood. He who does not love Jesus or accept him, does not have the Spirit indwelling him. But he who loves Jesus and accepts his salvation experiences joy in practice. With the Holy Spirit in our hearts we experience Godís power in the midst of weakness. Jesus assures you that this Comforter will not forsake you in death or at the judgment, for he is life eternal.

 

JOHN 14:18-20

18 "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you".

When the betrayer went out, Jesus informed the disciples that he was to leave them soon, and they would not be able to follow. But he added that he would return to them in person. He was aware of their fears, and his saying has two meanings: Firstly, the coming of the Holy Spirit, since the Lord is this Spirit. Secondly, his coming in glory at the end of time. For these two reasons, he had to leave them and go to his Father. Without this farewell, the Holy Spirit would not have come to us.

This Spirit is he who opens eyes and hearts instantly. We are aware that Jesus did not rest in the grave as others do, but that he is alive, present with the Father. His life is the foundation of the cosmos and of our salvation. Because he defeated death, he gives us life, so that we too may overcome death by faith, and live in Christís righteousness. Our religion is one of life full of hope.

The comforting genuine Spirit is Godís Spirit who comes to dwell in us, and convince us that the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, in perfect union. This spiritual knowledge of the Holy Trinity is not like the study of mathematics, but becomes incarnate in the believer, that we might be united with God as Jesus is. These mysteries in the Spirit lie beyond our grasp as humans.

Jesus does not say that he wishes to dwell in you separately, "but I dwell in you together". The Christian on his own is not the temple of the Spirit; he is like a stone set in this divine mansion. All believers share in this spiritual indwelling. This promise is given in the plural, "You are in me and I in you". The fellowship of saints is where Jesus reveals himself. Do you notice that the Lord concludes this promise with a charge "Love one another as I have loved you"? It is not I alone that am bound to Christ, but all of us will be filled unto the fullness of God.

PRAYER: We bow before you, Holy Lamb of God; by your death we have received eternal life. Forgive our little faith, our ignorance, so that no barrier may rise between you and us. May we see you in all our trials, and live in that lofty awareness. We thank you that our Comforter has come, the Spirit of truth who will keep us together for ever.

QUESTION 91: What are the attributes that Jesus applies to the Holy Spirit?

 

JOHN 14:21

21 "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

The stream of blessing and grace overflows from Jesus Christ into his Church at all times. Even if all believers were filled with the overflow, an ocean of grace will remain. Before his enemies Jesus had to stand up to his claim to be Messiah and Godís Son. With the disciples, however, he revealed the riches of his union with the Father in these last hours. May our hearts be opened wide so that the fullness of the deity of Christ may fill us.

Jesus told us that his disciplesí love for him was no mere emotion springing out of goodwill only, but that this love was built on obedience to his commands and its practical outworking. The natural man does not recognize the advice implicit in Christís love. He opens the treasuries of heaven to us, and sends us out to serve the lost and the upbuilding of our brothers; he grants us the ability to realize his plans for us. His commands are not burdensome or impossible, since the joy of the Spirit impels us, and the Spirit of truth stirs us to confess every vile or deceitful act we have committed. This Spirit strengthens us to keep his commands, because he loved us and saved us to the uttermost, we therefore love him and walk in his Spirit.

Do you love Jesus? Do not answer at once with a cheerful "Yes". Nor reply gloomily "No". If you are born again, the Holy Spirit in you will say, "Yes I love you, Lord Jesus, for your majesty and meekness, your sacrifice and patience; you have created in me the ability to love." This conversation with the Holy Spirit in us is not a vain hope or a fancy, but is based on the resolve to carry out loving actions. The Lord creates love in his beloved and grounds them in it by grace.

God loves those who love Jesus. The Father placed all power and mercy in his Son to save mankind. He who receives Jesus, receives God, and whoever rejects the Son, rejects God. Do you realize that God calls you, "My beloved", because the Spirit of Christ has changed you and made you a loving person. You are not good in yourself, but Godís love makes you a new creature. Christ works in you interceding for you with the Father, and will keep you to eternity. He will reveal himself to you with spiritual assurances. However much you grow in the knowledge of your Savior, that knowledge will stay feeble, because knowledge means growth in obedience, love, sacrifice and self-denial.

 

JOHN 14:22-25

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If a man 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. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Fatherís who sent me. 25 These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you."

Jesus had still another disciple called Judas, not Iscariot. He realized that Jesus had shifted the subject, since the betrayer left. He suspected that some fateful event was to take place.

Jesus did not answer him directly, but announced the prime objective of the Church as well as its need to die to the world. Jesus showed them the stages leading to the genuine knowledge of God. That is the fact that knowing Jesus and accepting him produces an openness to him and new life, with the Holy Spiritís power to keep his commandments to experience Godís love. Then, Jesus uttered a moving sentence, "We come to the believer, and there we make our dwelling." He does not here speak of the Church in general, but to believers singly. The Holy Trinity visits the believer and abides in him. This saying rings in the heart of man, as if he were in the embrace of the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father. Entering the progress of salvation, a person finds that God encloses him completely, protecting him personally. Every one who trusts Christ experiences this true mystery.

PRAYER: O Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I worship you, thank and magnify you. You have visited me, and indwelt me a sinner. Forgive my sins. Thank you for the power of love given me, and for the Spirit of love in my heart. Keep me in your name.

QUESTION 92: How does our love for Christ grow and how does the Holy Trinity descend on us?

 

3. Christ's farewell peace (John 14:26-31)

JOHN 14:26

26 "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."

Who dare claim that he has grasped the sense of all Christís words? And who can memorize all his sayings or carry them out? The troubled disciples at the Lordís supper considered the betrayerís mischief and what he was likely to do. They were unable to recall much of what Jesus said in his farewell talk, apart from John.

Jesus was comforted by the disciples forgetfulness, knowing that the Spirit of truth would come upon them to illumine and renew them as he had exhorted them. The Spirit continues Jesusí work with the same sense and aim. He protects the weak. Jesus did not select geniuses, scholars adept in philosophy and rhetoric; rather he chose fishermen, tax gatherers and sundry sinners to put to shame the lofty knowledge of the world of advanced scholarship. The Father in mercy sent his Spirit to the incapable to make them His children, gifted with the wisdom of humility, denying themselves, living in uprightness.

Jesus did not publish a book in poetic style, nor did he dictate his gospel to someone who might mislay some leaves or forget the substance. He confidently expected the Spirit of truth to teach his disciples, illumine, guide and remind them of all he said. The Gospel is one of the Spiritís great acts, until this day. He committed the plan of salvation to human language, to the memory of disciples; but the Spirit reminded and taught them, establishing them in Jesusí sayings, so that the Spirit would glorify the Son by means of the Apostleís witness. We have no other book save the writings of Christís apostles, who humbly presented the world the knowledge and faith they had received. No added words were put in Jesusí mouth. Their preaching was not chill and dry news becoming obsolete in time, but the Spirit has renewed the vitality of these narratives continually to this day. When we read the gospel, it is as if we are reading of events that occur in our day. If we listen to Christís words, it is as if he touches our ears with his voice. He who claims that the disciples invented or distorted the original gospel, ignores the Spirit of truth, since in the Holy Spirit there is no deceit; he is Truth and Love.

 

JOHN 14:27

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 hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Jesus offered his disciples peace, ending his farewell address on this note, peace that exceeds all human salutations. He was leaving, but bequeathed his peace to hover over their assemblies. He did speak of the bogus peace as the tabloid newspapers do. Temptations were sure to come. Since people live apart from God, his wrath falls on all the iniquities of men. Jesus speaks of a different peace, peace in consciences, resulting from the forgiveness of sins that springs from our reconciliation with God, and is present in the peace within the Church. The peace of Christ is the Holy Spirit, the eternal unceasing power, coming from God in Him and returning to Him.

Lying, hatred and violence, murder, envy, greed and impurity are widespread in the world. But Jesus commands us not to allow these Satanic waves to submerge us. The Evil One is the prince of this world. But in Jesus, the Beloved, peace pervades which deters us from falling into gloom and despair. It also frees us from troubled hearts and the fear of death. The believer in Christ dwells in God and God in him. Does this apply to you? Jesus lay asleep in the boat amidst the stormy waves. All in the boat were desperate as water filled the vessel. Then Jesus rose and rebuked the storm and there was calm. He said to his disciples, "O you of little faith, why are you afraid?"

 

JOHN 14:28-31

28 "You heard me say to you, ĎI go away, and I will come to you.í If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence."

The disciples were troubled as their Lord repeated the news that he would leave them. The parting drew near. Again, Jesus confirmed his departure, but also stressed the fact that he was returning. He said, "Rejoice, I leave you, because I go to the Father. Rejoice at my going to my original homeland. I shall not place on you anything like the suffering of the cross. I shall free you from the fear of the tomb. My message to you is about your unity with the Father. If you loved me, you would rejoice at my return to heaven. I regard my Father as greater than me. I love Him dearly, but my love for you shall also never cease. I shall come to you in His Spirit."

Jesus drew a great picture of the Father, for them to realize His majesty and cling to Him, as well as be ready for their parting from the Master, who was nigh unto death. Jesus wished them to remember that even death did not signify that God was his adversary. The peace between Father and Son was enduring, so the Father would draw him to Himself beyond that death.

Further talk was unnecessary; Jesus rose to accomplish the Fatherís bidding, that is the worldís redemption on the cross. Then the Spirit would come upon his disciples. This redemption would apply to all humanity. He wished that every person would be aware of Godís infinite love.

Then, Jesus and his followers left the upper room where he had set the New Covenant, and went out into the gloom of night, crossing the Kidron valley. They walked to the Mount of Olives towards the Garden of Gethsemane, where the betrayer lurked.

PRAYER: We thank you, Lord, for your peace. You have cleansed our hearts and given us rest. Forgive our anxieties, fears and despair in the torrents of hatred, conflicts and corruption. Thank you for your Spirit to guard us in peace. May he remind us in the hours of temptation of your powerful words, so that we may not fall in sin and unbelief or the curse of despair, but look to you praying in hope, patient in gladness. Thank you that our way leads back to the Father. We bow to you, o Lamb of God, for preparing a home for us in heaven.

QUESTION 93: What is Godís peace?

 

 


QUIZ - 5

 

Dear reader, send us correct answers to 12 of these 14 questions. We shall then send you the sequel of this series of studies.

 

† 80. Why did Jesus accept Maryís anointing?

† 81. What does Jesusí entry into Jerusalem signify?

† 82. Why is Christís death regarded as the glorification of truth?

† 83. What is meant by our becoming sons of light?

† 84. What is Godís commandment in Christ to all?

† 85. What is meant by Jesus washing his disciplesí feet?

† 86. What do we learn from Christís example?

† 87. What are the meanings of glory that Jesus demonstrated when Judas left him?

† 88. Why is love the only sign that distinguishes Christians?

† 89. What is the relationship between Christ and God the Father?

† 90. Mention a primary condition for answered prayer!

† 91. What are the attributes that Jesus applies to the Holy Spirit?

† 92. How does our love for Christ grow and how does the Trinity descend on us?

† 93. What is Godís peace?

 

Do not forget to write your name and full address clearly on the quiz sheet, not only on the envelope. Send it to the following address:

 

WATERS-OF-LIFE

P.O. BOX 15755

PITTSBURGH, PA 15244

USA

 

 

CONTENTS - 5

 

 

 

PART III - LIGHT SHINES IN THE CIRCLE OF THE

..... APOSTLES (JOHN 11:55 Ė 17:26)....................... 223

A - ........................................................................................ PRELUDE TO HOLY WEEK (JOHN 11:55 Ė 12:50) ...................................................... †223

1.†† Jesus anointed in Bethany (John 11:55 Ė 12:8) ............ †223

2.†† Jesus enters Jerusalem (John 12:9Ė19) ....................... †226

3.†† The Greeks seek Jesus' acquaintance

††††† (John 12:20-26) ......................................................... †229

4.†† The Father glorified amid the tumult

††††† (John 12:27-36) ......................................................... †232

5.†† Men harden themselves towards judgement

††††† (John 12:37-50) ......................................................... †236

B - †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† EVENTS THAT FOLLOW THE LORDíS SUPPER

††††† (JOHN 13:1-38) ............................................................... †241

1.†† Jesus washes his disciples' feet (John 13:1Ė17) ........... †241

2.†† The traitor exposed and disconcerted

††††† (John 13:18-32) ......................................................... †246

3.†† The new commandment for the church

††††† (John 13:33-35) ......................................................... †251

4.†† Christ predicts Peter's denial (John 13:36-38) ............... †252

C - FAREWELL ADDRESS IN THE UPPER ROOM

††††† (JOHN 14:1Ė31) .............................................................. †253

1.†† God is present in Christ (John 14:1Ė11) ....................... †253

2.†† The Holy Trinity descends on believers by

†††††† the Comforter (John 14:12Ė25) ................................................. 258

3.†† Christ's farewell peace (John 14:26-31) ........................ †265

 

QUIZ ........................................................................... †269

 

 

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