In the Post dated April 19, 2013, we talked about The Power that’s in the name of Jesus and the privilege that He gave us all when He gave the church His power of attorney. In today’s lesson, we find Jesus was in the process of preparing His disciples for His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. We begin in John 13:21 when Jesus’ reveals that he was about to be betrayed.
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
Following the Passover supper celebration, the disciples and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Many important things are associated with the Mount of Olives, including the fact that Jesus later ascended to heaven from there. From the time that Jesus chose his disciples, He started to teach them, a little at a time, about some of the events that were going to happen to Him. He couldn’t tell them everything in the beginning, because the story would have been too discouraging for them. But, during this final teaching session before His death, critical events were beginning to unfold and He had to get his disciples prepared. In John 13:33, He told them plainly that He was getting ready to go and they would not be able to come with Him.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
The disciples’ response to His words was to be sad, confused and perplexed. Peter alleged his allegiance in John 13:36-38, only to discover that he would betray Jesus rather than stand up for him.
36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Jesus encouraged them in John 14:1-4 again, saying that they should not be upset that He was going away because He would be coming back for them.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
But then Thomas illustrated his confusion in John 14:5-7
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
And then it was Phillip’s turn to show his confusion in John 14:8
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus had been with them for three years and they still did not appear to have a basic understanding of who Jesus was. His response to Phillip reflected the fact that the basic problem of the group was unbelief.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
The word “believe” means to consider a thing to be true or honest; to accept the word or evidence of a thing or person. In John 14:12 Jesus reminded them of the importance of believing on Him.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Now, we’ll skip over to John 14:28-29. He’s telling them again that their belief is very important.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Then in John 14:30-31 He let them know that he didn’t have a lot more to tell them.
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
This is interesting. The group was on its way to the site where Jesus would be betrayed and the disciples still didn’t quite understand the concept of His leaving and coming back. Jesus continued to tell them of the hard things that were soon to unfold; He told them again in John 16:16.
16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
They were literally minutes away from the Garden of Gethsemane and his disciples were more confused than ever and voiced it in John 16:17-18.
17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
Telling them again that He was going to be leaving, an amazing thing happened. Suddenly their understanding cleared. It happened after He told them again in John 16:28.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
They responded in John 16:29-30 by saying that they believed Jesus.
29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
Jesus responded in John 16:31
31…Do ye now believe?
It was as though everything changed and they were able to understand and believe. All of the events that were going to happen began to happen. Jesus said in John 16:32-33
32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus then prayed for His disciples, and they entered the Garden of Gethsemane. We know that after His Gethsemane experience He was betrayed, crucified, raised from the dead and returned to heaven. He bought our salvation with His own blood.
The gist of our lesson for today is twofold. First, we have to believe in God and His gift of His only begotten Son. We have to believe that Jesus died for us and that through Him only are we able to get into the Kingdom of God. My question of you is, “Do you now believe?” Belief is not just a head thing; it is believing to the saving of your soul. Your eternal salvation rests upon your ability to believe in Jesus as your Savior. The second point of the lesson is this. If you are having difficulty with believing any aspect of the gospel, ask Jesus to help your unbelief. Remember that the chosen Apostles didn’t quite understand what Jesus needed them to know until Jesus intervened and made His words clear to them. Look at the great men of God that they became after His intervention. Cry out to Him as the father of the child with a dumb spirit did in Mark 9:24.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
May God bless you.