Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Devotion for Wednesday Morning before Easter - 23 March 2016, Anno Domini
1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:1-15)
The final words of life of a great friend to us is always of particular gravity and meaning. Does anyone not know who spoke these final words, “Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade there?” or “Et tu, Brute?” But what of the Words of our Lord here, and on the cross? Can there be any more memorable Words to the sinner than these: “It is finished!” (John 19:30 (KJV) What is finished? All things needful for our salvation. That which is FINISHED is just the beginning for us who believe. Though the Words in today’s text are not the very final words of Jesus, they are the final Words of His last days with us, and they are full of meaning and import to us. These are the Words of a great King declaring victory on the field of Battle for His Kingdom. He bids His loving followers to hear Him and not be despondent at His going. Though His counsel may be hard to bear, the fact that it is spoken in perfect love and kindness should make impact of lesser hurt and greater beauty.
1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. Christ is telling us that his intent is not to hurt, but to strengthen us in our dismay at the events of the coming hours. During this Holy Week, though our thoughts are on the sufferings of Christ, we must look upon the side of hope, redemption, and salvation accomplished by Christ in its pleasing savor to God the Father. Though the dark and threatening cloud looms on the horizon, we know that it shall soon pass and leave the Bright Son of Righteousness a victor of all battles.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. This sad prophecy has happened in the past, it is happening now, and it shall happen again before the end. Many strong and fervent Christians have been disowned by the churches of their nativity simply because they have refused to abandon truth and Christ. During the days of the Reformation, many were murderously tortured and slain for simply believing and teaching the Bible – and they were slain by men who did so in the ‘name of God.’ Have not many been beheaded or hung from the gallows in Islamic nations for their faith in Christ. After the ascension to power of an Islamic Imam in Iran, twenty one young ladies in their late teens and early twenties were publicly hung from the gallows in Teheran for refusing to recant their faith in Christ. And this was done in the name of Allah – a god of no mercy and no grace. Do we believe that appeasement of the people of God with such a faith as Islam will result in peace? Read the end of the story!
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. Why did they do these things? They do them because they know not the Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ. If we accept the truth of the Gospel, we must admit that moslems do not know God because they reject His Son. Allah is not the same as God the Father for Allah claims to be father to no one. Do not be deceived by clever arguments, Christians! I am sick and tired of hearing mealy-mouthed evangelist claim that “we worship the same God!”
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed. Christ informs us of these things to come so that we will not be dismayed and discouraged when they happen; perhaps believing that God is not with us. These things SHALL occur, and worse; yet, they treated Christ so, and they shall treat us with no less cruelty and contempt. Christ has not painted a prim-rose picture of ease and comfort for the Christian witness. It is, rather, a road fraught with sacrifice, suffering and joy!
5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? They have not asked because they have not understood enough to ask, but these realities will be revealed in their hearts when Christ has finished all things. We are as lambs in the flock of Christ knowing so little, but gaining so much benefit from Christ. He speaks in terms we cannot grasp until we are closer and know Him better. The disciples knew Christ far better AFTER the resurrection than they did BEFORE! We, too, will grow in knowledge and wisdom as we draw ‘near by faith’ and learn these beautiful mysteries hidden in Christ.
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. It must have pained the tender heart of Christ to inform His beloved disciples of the coming days. It was painful to Him because it was painful to us. Why can we not realize as well that what is painful to us (in our sinfulness) is also be painful to HIM? Isn’t that the role and meaning of COMPASSION? When we were children, our parents were often forced to scold us and correct in terms that were every whit as painful to them as to us, yet we could never grasp that principle because we were children.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. “Nevertheless!” In spite of the pain the truth may give, I (Jesus) must, out of an abiding love, tell you the truth. We are dismayed that Christ may take leave of us because we cannot understand the REASONS for it. He will provide His reasons for His dealings with us always in the fullness of time. Christ came in a physical body – both God and Man; however, a physical body has limitations that a spirit does not have. The Holy Ghost can address all our problems at once across great distances and all time zones. His purpose is to comfort us in the knowledge of the truth. He will be sent unto us by Christ who will be on the right hand of the Father and be cognizant of every move that His children make. He will intercede in love for us with the Father, and with the Spirit.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: In this one verse, Christ fully summarizes the full role of the Holy Spirit on earth toward the righteous, as well as the unrighteous. Judgment shall He measure, and righteousness shall He engender in the people of God. And to those without the gate, He shall reprove in their consciences and bring to light the judgment which God has reserved for them until the last day. The word, reprove, actually has a two-pronged meaning, I believe, here. The unrepentant wicked shall be reproved and condemn by the Word through the Holy Ghost, and the elect of God shall be convicted and converted thereby.
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me. The Holy Ghost will reprove the world of sin because they have rejected Christ. Had they believed, their sins would have been washed away; but since they have not believed, their sins follow them to the grave and beyond.
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more. This righteousness spoken of is that personal righteousness of Christ which the Holy Spirit shall bring to bear in the hearts of God’s people. Though Christ has risen to the Father, yet the Holy Ghost reminds us of all things relating to Christ in the Word. We may not see Christ with our physical eyes, but we may KNOW Him better than the disciples prior to His resurrection. This knowledge comes not through rote memory or reading of Holy Scripture, but by the reading and simultaneous promptings of the Spirit in gaining the full and heart-warming meaning of every Word.
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. This is not referring to end of the Book of Revelations, but to the impending sacrifice of Christ which will defeat and overthrow that old Serpent of the Garden who has mal-appropriated the souls of men and the provinces of God. Satan sought our eternal damnation, but Christ has redeemed us from that damnation making Satan powerless over the people of God to damn or condemn. Satan never paid a drop of blood to purchase the souls of men for the purpose of damnation, but Christ paid His last measure of Blood in Redeeming us – a thing Satan could never do even in hurting us.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Were Christ to share ALL of the happenings of the next days, surely, the disciples would have despaired beyond measure. Not only would their sorrow have been immense, their understanding as well could never have comprehended until they had seen the nail prints, the empty tomb, the risen Christ, and His ascension. Suddenly, after these had transpired, they understood fully and without words.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Please observe, if we observe nothing more, that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth. He does not come to show great wonders in the heavens, or to cause us to act in unnatural ways. He comes to reveal and not to confuse. The Holy Ghost will not perform to gain glory to Himself – He comes to point all fingers to Christ. Just as Christ spoke all things commanded by the Father, so shall the Holy Ghost speak all things heard and seen of Christ on High.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. The constant communion between the Holy Ghost and Christ is a perfect communion. It is three sided communion which puts each – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – in a constant communion and dialogue. Nothing transpires with One to the ignorance of the other. The Holy Ghost will reveal all things concerning Christ found in the Word of God.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. We are possessed of Christ – a choice and privileged state. But we are also possessed of the Holy Ghost who shares in all things of God the Father and God the Son. The mystery that resides in Christ is privileged between He, the Father and the Holy Ghost….and to us if we are IN Him! Do you share in this mystery, Friend?