Monday, August 26, 2013

These Things I Have Said To You

There is so much that happens in our lives that is out of our control, but which can drive us buggy at times trying to manage them. If our stability is found in things running smoothly then we have at best a very temporary and most likely a shaky foundation. Because the simple truth is that in this world we will have troubles.

In John chapter 16 Jesus repeats five times the phrase, “I have said these things to you.” Knowing that He would soon be leaving His disciples as the time of the cross was at hand, He shared with them statements of assurance and hope even in the midst of the trials which would soon come upon them.

In chapters 13, 14 and 15 Jesus shared with His disciples what was about to happen and why. He shared His need to leave, their assurance of a future home in God’s presence, His oneness with God the Father, and what He would accomplish through them after His leaving. He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the power and guidance that they would receive because of the Spirit’s indwelling. He told them of their need to abide in Him and even the power of love that would bring Him to lay down His life for them. And He also told them that they would be despised by some just as He Himself was hated. And just prior to chapter 16, Jesus ends this portion of His talk with His disciples with our triune God’s plan for them to go forward (one God manifest in 3 persons-Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” (John 15:26–27, NASB95)

The first two came as a sandwich of assurance that God’s plans had not gone awry when the disciples were to soon face persecution as they went out testifying about Christ. “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” (John 16:1–4a, NASB95)

The next one comes in explanation of why Jesus had not clearly said all of these things before, but why they were so important for now. He explained both what the Holy Spirit was going to accomplish (verses 7-15) and that even in His leaving that they would also see Him again and in the meantime if they had need all they had to do was ask (verses 16-24).

“…These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

“A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” Some of His disciples then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:4–24, NASB95)

The fourth is said by Jesus as an assurance that though they might not fully understand now, one day He will explain it to them in full and they will understand. It is important for them to know that God the Father loves them, that He sent Jesus and that He (Jesus) was now returning to the Father. ““These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” (John 16:25–28, NASB95)

To this His disciples responded that they now understand the most important thing, and that is that they knew that Jesus knew why He had come and what He was doing. In this they could trust Him even in the things they did not understand for themselves. To this Jesus responded that just as He would not be alone in what He would soon endure, that He also would not leave them alone and in that they could come to know real peace. “His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:29–33, NASB95)

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Following these words Jesus began to pray to the Father, a prayer which we can read in chapter 17.

In the messiness of our days, when there are plates spinning and other ones even falling, remember that our God does indeed loves us, that the Father has given us His Spirit, and that when we need help all we need do is “ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:24, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/26)

Trust Me in the midst of a messy day. Your inner calm – your Peace in My Presence – need not be shaken by what is going on around you. Though you live in this temporal world, your innermost being is rooted and grounded in eternity. When you start to feel stressed, detach yourself from the disturbances around you. Instead of desperately striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My Peace.

Seek My Face, and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid. The Peace I give is sufficient for you.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

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