John’s gospel gives us a lengthy account of the last visit Jesus had with His disciples before His betrayal, trial and crucifixion. After Judas left the group to betray Jesus, He was left with the faithful few. Even though they did not understand everything He had to say or was about to happen to Him, they were true disciples and loved Him. These conversations are recorded in John 13:31 through John 16. He concluded this time with a prayer to His Father on their behalf in John 17.
It is striking to note that several times in the midst of His discourse, He gave them reasons for what He was telling them. These are the passages examined in this study.
Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He (John 13:19).
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:25-26).
And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe (John 14:29).
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).
These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble (John 16:1).
But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:4).
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Read John 13 through John 17 in their entirety. Examine the statements above and answer the questions below.
John 13:19, 14:29, 16:4: Jesus knew that His time had come for God to be glorified in His sacrificial death on the cross (John 13:31-32). Before Judas left the room, John remarks several times that Jesus was about to be betrayed and that He was troubled in spirit. Still, Jesus included Judas in the foot washing. Can you imagine how Judas must have felt as He watched the Master wash his feet, knowing that he was about to betray Him? Only a heart that had been hardened by the world could experience such an act of kindness and still carry on his horrible plan. Jesus even warned the others that one of them would be excluded from their blessings (John 13:17-18).
Later, Peter denied Christ just as He predicted (John 13:38); however, Scripture tells us that Judas and Peter were worlds apart in their allegiance to Jesus. What was the difference?
John 14:25-26: In the very presence of the Lord, these disciples were warned of the trials to come as well as encouraged that Jesus would give them all the resources they would need for the challenging days ahead. The Holy Spirit did indeed remind them of the things that Jesus said. See Luke 24:8, John 2:22 and John 12:16.
Believers today have the indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus and His recorded words. Have you spent enough time listening to Him (reading His word) so that His Spirit can bring His words to your mind when you most need them?
John 15:11: This is one of the most incredible statements Jesus made to His disciples. How could Jesus feel joy at this time in His life? Compare Hebrews 12:2 with this passage. See another Word Focus, “Focus on the Fullness of Joy,” on this website for more insight.
John 16:1: One of His followers had deserted and betrayed Him. Judas was not a true disciple, but had followed Him along with the rest of the disciples for some time. The rest, although they were true believers, would have many chances in the future to leave as well. Although Jesus knew that they would not stand with Him during the days to come, He also knew they would band together after His death and become what He had trained them to be – witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). He was now giving them adequate warning that the temptation to stumble would come and He was preparing them for that eventuality.
How does His warning affect Christians today? Was it harder to be true to Christ then or now? In what areas of your life are you tempted to stumble?
John 16:33: This was the last thing Jesus said to His disciples before His prayer. If you are a Christian, you know that in the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, [Jesus] has overcome the world. In the midst of tribulation, do you experience the peace of Christ?
© Stephanie B. Blake
All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.