Good morning, I took a long hiatus from blogging and it seems everything has changed. I’m talking about my content editor! I was used to doing some things and now my layout is completely altered! I hope to figure this out soon though.

The world seems to have had one hurt after another. As I write this, friends in the mid-western region of the United States are in a huge polar vortex, a climate state that has had their respective states ask people to turn their heat to certain (lower) degree so that they won’t run out of gas , especially needed for the vulnerable age groups. Among the recent news updates have been anger and discrimination and criticism and sorrow and heartbreak.

At this point it seems appropriate to continue with the gospel of John, especially the four chapters for today. In this block, Jesus talks about peace often and seems to spend a lot of time reassuring His disciples. This portion of Scripture is usually believed to be have taken place in the Upper Room on the night that Jesus was betrayed.

I don’t know about you, but the very fact that Jesus would take the time to reassure and encourage and build up His disciples, just before He died, shows me how much He cared. CARES. He who loved His people enough to leave them with Hope is the same one who will walk with me. He who encouraged His friends is the same one who will lift me up. And that gives me peace. And I hope you’ll find peace in Him too.

RELATED POST: John part 2: Jesus says “My time has not yet fully come.”

In chapter 13:

In an act that has become symbolic of humility in the Church nowadays, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. To really understand why this was so different for a Rabbi(teacher) to do in Jesus’ time, we must understand the culture. In a time when people walked great distances, they would reach their destination with their feet caked in mud and grime. Usually it was a servant’s job to clean the feet of visitors, a servant low in rank. For Jesus to do so would have shocked the disciples, and it did! Simon(Peter) protested first and when Jesus said that those who were not washed by Him would have no part in Him, Peter asked to be washed completely. His hands and head as well. Jesus replied saying, “The whole body was clean of those who have taken a bath” but Jesus qualifies that statement saying, “Not everyone is clean”.

At this time Jesus is troubled in His spirit because He knows the hour of His death is approaching. He also knows the means of it and the person betraying Him. But still…. Jesus spent over three years investing into Judas Iscariot. This is testament to His grace and mercy. Anyways Jesus tells Judas to go do what he must, and when he leaves, Jesus tells His disciples that the time has come for The Son of Man to be glorified. He further tells Peter that he will disown Him three times before the rooster crows.

In chapter 14:

We see Jesus comforting His disciples by telling them not to be worried. Since they believe in Him, they should believe in the Father as well, as He is gong to His Father’s house to prepare rooms for them. He further assures them there is enough room for all of them and that He will come back for them. When Thomas tells Jesus he doesn’t know the way and where He is going, Jesus responds with another ‘I AM’ statement, this time telling them that He is The way, the truth and the life and that no one can come to the Father unless they go through Him. When Phillip asks to see the Father, Jesus replies that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father and whoever sees Jesus has seen the Father. Jesus again says that He only speaks the words of the Father and that the Father does the [miraculous] things through the Son. Jesus prophesies that His followers will do even greater things than He did and whatever they ask in His name will be given, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Jesus then tells the disciples that if they love Him, they will keep His commandments. Jesus also says that He will ask the Father to send an advocate, the Spirit of Truth, who will live with them and in them. The world will not be able to accept Him as they don’t see Him nor know Him. Jesus promises that He won’t leave His disciples as orphans, He will come back for them. Because He lives, the disciples will live as well. On that day they will realize that the Father and Jesus are one, and that Jesus lives in them as well.

Jesus reiterates again that whoever keeps His commands are the ones who love Him. Whoever is loved by Jesus will be loved by the Father as well. When Jesus says that He will show Himself to the disciples, Judas a disciple (different from Judas Iscariot) asks why Jesus doesn’t intend to show Himself to the world. Jesus again talks about His teaching. Those who love Him will live by it, those who don’t love Him will not obey Him. Jesus reminds His disciples that His words are not His own, they are from the Father. When the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth comes (after Jesus leaves), He will teach the disciples all they need to know. Jesus again reassures His disciples of their peace in Him. He gives them peace, and He tells them not to be troubled. Jesus tells them that they are sorrowful because He’s going away. He is doing what the Father asks of Him to show the prince of this world {4} that He (Jesus) loves the Father and that he (satan) has no hold over Him.

RELATED POST: John Part 3: Jesus asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?

In chapter 15:

Jesus starts by announcing that He is the true Vine, and that His Father is the gardener. He further states that the Father cuts off every branch{1} in Him that bears no fruit, but those that bear fruit, He prunes. Jesus further asks us to remain in Him, for that is the only way to bear much fruit. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. When we remain In Jesus, it is to the Father’s glory , showing ourselves to be His disciples. Jesus then says that as the Father has loved Him, so He has loved us. All we have to do is keep His commands, just as He has followed the Father’s commandments. Jesus gives us this command : to love each other as He has loved us. He tells us that no one shows more love than those who sacrifice their lives for their friends. Jesus then calls His disciples (and us) His friends, for they do what He has commanded. He says we are no longer His servants because now He has told them what He is doing. Jesus further tells them that they have been chosen by Him to go and bear lasting fruit. He also says that anything asked in the Father’s name will be given to them. He reiterates again that we should love one another.

Jesus then switches gears. He says the world hates the disciples, (as in present tense), but it hated Him first. If they (and we) belonged to the world, they (and we) would be loved, but they do not belong to the world. They were chosen By God to be taken out of the world. Here He reminds the disciples that the servants are not greater than the master. If He was persecuted, they would be persecuted too. If His teaching was obeyed, they would be obeyed as well. The disciples are treated this way because the people don’t know the One who sent Him(the Father). Jesus says the world would not be guilty of their sin if He had not come into into the world, but now that He has, they have no excuse for their (continuing) sin. But because they have seen Jesus, and have hated both Jesus and the Father, they have fulfilled the law stating that “they hated [Him] without reason. {2} When the Advocate(the Holy Spirit/the Spirit of Truth) comes , whom will be sent by Jesus, from the Father, He will also testify about Jesus. Jesus further tells the disciples that they must also testify about Him, since they have been with Him since the beginning (of Jesus’ ministry).

In chapter 16:

Jesus reminds His disciples not to fall away {3} from Him. He tells them the time is coming when people will not let the disciples worship in the synagogues, they will be killed, and the people killing them will think that God is pleased with them. Jesus is giving them this warning now as He will soon leave (to go to the One who sent Him), He didn’t warn them earlier as He was with them. Jesus comforts the grieving disciples by telling them it’s for their own good that He goes away, that way the Advocate (The Holy Spirit) will come to them.

When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world about

  • sin (because people do not believe in Jesus),
  • righteousness (because Jesus is going to the Father where they can see Him no longer),
  • judgement ( because the prince of the world {4} now stands condemned).

Jesus further tells them that when the Spirit (of Truth) comes, He will lead them into truth. His words will not be His own. He’ll only tell them what He has heard and about things yet to happen. The Spirit will glorify Jesus, because it is from Jesus that He will receive what He makes known to the disciples. Jesus further reiterates that everything the Father has, is His. And so whatever the Spirit tells the disciples, it has been received from Jesus.

When Jesus tells His disciples that He is going away and they will no longer see Him (in a little while), this confuses them enough to ask each other what it means. Jesus them tells them that they will grieve and mourn while the world rejoices. But just as a woman giving birth to a child forgets her pain and rejoices when the child is born, their grief will turn to joy. Jesus tells them that He will see them again and then they will rejoice and no one will take away their joy.

Jesus tells the disciples that on that day, they will no longer ask Him for anything. They will ask the Father and He will give them whatever they ask for. Jesus tells them to ask and promises that they will receive, so that their joy may be complete. Jesus tells them that they will ask the Father themselves, they will not need to ask Jesus to ask the Father, they will ask for themselves and the Father will give them what they ask. {5} This will happen because the Father loves them because they loved Jesus and believed that He came from the Father. Jesus tells them clearly that He had left the Father to enter the world, and now He will leave the world to go back to the Father. This speech makes the disciples believe that Jesus really came from the Father. Jesus them reminds them that the time will come, and in fact has already come, when they will leave Him all alone and will be scattered. Jesus ends by telling them, in this world they will have trouble, but He has overcome the world, so they should take heart and have peace.

The Bible Project’s Gospel of John.

{1} Here ‘branch’ means ‘person’. As Christians we should be rooted and established in God, by which I mean , we should find our life, our purpose, our meaning, our desires in Christ. He needs to be first in everything in our lives. He should be the reason for everything we do. We need to reflect Him in everything.  Being in Him, we derive our life from Him, as a tree has living sap flowing through it. The branches that are alive  have this same sap flowing through them. The branches that are dead, lose this sap, and so become hollow and then the branch falls off the tree and dies.

{2} Psalm 35:19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.

Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.

{3} Falling away from God can mean back-sliding among other things. It can mean being complacent about God, choosing to read His Word less, praying less, barely thinking about Him, doing things for him rather than being in His Presence. It can also mean completely renouncing Him and going the other way.

{4} Prince of this world is another name for Satan.

{5} I love that Jesus spends so much time telling and reminding and encouraging His disciples to ask. And ask the Father directly without going through Him. The very fact that Jesus mentions ‘asking’ so many times means it’s really important. To Him and the Father. Doesn’t this give you peace? To know that we can ask so that our JOY may be complete? It does to me.

This post was such a labour of love, but every minute of the last few weeks spent on this was totally worth it. Reading and re-reading these four chapters of John gave me peace every single time. I could hear Jesus’ reassurance in almost every single sentence. And I needed it.

Until next time,

Vanessa.