It is Thursday evening, and the crucifixion will happen on Friday. Jesus is meeting with his disciples in the last meal, and in it, giving them instructions and assurances, and again predicting his death. Much of this did not register with the disciples, as indicated by their responses upon his arrest and desertion after the sham trial. But Jesus has some final lessons for his disciples, which will shape them and the early church after his resurrection and departure to heaven. Jesus now has final instructions for His disciples, both by way of warning and encouragement.
Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “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 16:29-33.
- Lessons of Faith from Understanding Jesus. Jesus now again reminds his disciples that to know Him is to know God the Father. Just as Jesus is obeying the will of His Father, even so they are to obey and follow Him, and thus be approved of by God. We see the growth of their faith even in the midst of fear and confusion – and even soon desertion. They will reflect back on these words after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and better understand what it means to be a disciple.
- Every Step of Faith Includes Hardship.Just as Jesus was betrayed and persecuted and crucified despite no fault on His own, even so the disciples will soon be scattered, will be running for their lives, will huddle in secret and fear wondering what is next, after Jesus’ resurrection,. There is no pretext in the Christian life. Faith includes hardship,. And hardship develops our character, that we will be and do according to the purposes of God. You will be scattered.
- The Model for Christian Success. It always comes back to the example and Person of Jesus. A disciple is not above his master. Jesus has warned: as they hated me, they will hate you. As they have persecuted me, they will persecute you. But in the end this leads to spiritual growth. And with it comes a promise. 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. Not only will they ultimately overcome the trials and troubles of this faith-walk, but they will have peace – that settling in our soul that we are living a life that counts for eternity. That exchange and result is priceless.
A life of faith is the best measure of understanding the troubles of life, and being promised a life fulfillment that is without comparison and full of joy, peace, and a measure ‘not lacking in anything. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4.
In the final analysis, from the start of our lives, to the finishing of our lives, we are promised approval by God. Amazing. Next we learn how to pray from the final hours of Jesus. Stay well.