Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Truly, Truly He has Said

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and reflecting on Jesus’ interaction with His disciples in the Upper Room following what we know as the Last Supper, where He shared the Passover meal with them for the last time this side of the cross. In the verses which follow from the end of chapter 13 through chapter 16, Jesus told His disciples many things and answered several of their questions which they had not previously understood. He assured them that in His leaving that He was not leaving them permanently and that He surely would return for them and bring them with Him into eternity. He assured them of the oneness relationship that He had with the Father, and that He indeed did have the authority to say the things He was saying and the power to accomplish what He said He would do. He also comforted them with the knowledge that even in His absence that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to be present with them and to help them.

In these chapters we have the New Commandment to love one another which is specifically speaking of those who are in the faith, and that through their love for one another others will see and know them to be His disciples (John 13:34-35). We have the assurance of a new and better home awaiting us to which He would bring us (John 14:1-3). We have His statement about His oneness with the Father in such a way that everything He spoke was spoken with the authority of the Father (John 14:10-11), and as such we would read several times in these chapters the words, “Truly, truly.” We read in John chapter 15 of Him stating that He is the vine and that as we abide in Him and Him is us that we will bear much fruit, and that this abiding includes His love shown to us and our obedience lived before Him. He even spoke of those who would hate them because of their love for Him, but that even then His Spirit would continue to confirm Him by bearing witness of Him (John 15:18-27). And John 16 begins with, “I have said these things to keep you from falling away.” These powerful assurance statements of Jesus continued to add one upon the other, leading to this which we read at the end of chapter 16,

“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)

Jesus spoke to His disciples in this way prior to the crucifixion so that they would not be destroyed when Jesus was hung upon the cross, but rather that they would know this was not the end. He spoke these things so that they would know that He did know what He was talking about and doing, and in that they could trust Him. It was going to be a difficult time and they were going to see much that would shake them at their core, and knowing this Jesus called them to trust Him.

Reading the words of the Upper Room discourse should also serve as an encouragement to us as we are reminded that God does know what He is doing, and that He is imminently powerful to accomplish it perfectly. These words are a powerful reminder of the promises of God, the continual presence of Christ in our lives, and in the abiding empowerment of the Spirit. All of these remind us that we, like the disciples, are needy of pouring all of our trust in Christ who poured Himself out for us and that He will bring to pass what He has promised and will also preserve us until that day when we meet Him face to Face.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/25)

Pour all of your energy into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semi-darkness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the valley of the shadow of death. These feats require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to Me.

Each of My children is a unique blend of temperament, giftedness, and life experiences. Something that is a baby step for you may be a giant step for another person, and vice versa. Only I know the difficulty or ease of each segment your journey. Beware of trying to impress others by acting as if your giant steps are only baby ones. Do not judge others whose hesitate, in trembling fear, before an act that would be easy for you. If each of My children would seek to please Me above all else, fear of others’ judgments would vanish, as would attempts to impress others. Focus your attention on the path just ahead of you and on the One who never leaves your side.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, NASB95)

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1–2, NASB95)

“The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (Proverbs 29:25, NASB95)

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