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Day 264 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue John. Here’s the overview video for John 13-21.
Video – Read Scripture: John 13-21
Watch the video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUfh_wOsauk
How does this video help you better understand the second part of John?
John 13 – As Jesus prepares the disciples for the crucible of His death and His unexpected departure, what will they need? The same thing every generation of disciples need: not a pep talk, but a deeper understanding and experience of the gospel.
Jesus loved these men “to the end”—that is, to the completion of His work as the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45–49); “to the end” that God will be glorified in the redemption of ill-deserving sinners; “to the end”—to the fullest extent. No one loves us like Jesus, and nothing will ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:31–39). And His compelling love propels us into faithful service (2 Corinthians 5:14).
The water and towel, with which Jesus humbly washed the disciples’ feet, clearly anticipate the humiliation of His cross and blood, by which He would wash their hearts. Peter’s adamant refusal (literally “never to eternity”; John 13:8) demonstrates our innate resistance to God’s grace. Peter wasn’t being noble; he was being foolish, even self-destructive. Unless we submit to the criticism of our uncleanness indicated by our need of the washing of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross, we have no life in Jesus. Jesus is always more ready to meet us at the throne of grace than we are willing to meet Him there.
Jesus is our substitute before He is our example. The imperative to wash one another’s feet flows out of the indicative of Jesus washing us by His grace. Are we free (and lovingly compelled) to wash one another’s feet in our services of worship? Of course we are; but only as a gospel reenactment of the grace we have received, and when such an expression is accompanied by a lifestyle of servant love. Ritual without humble recognition of and response to the reality of grace is vanity, only fueling sentimentality and self-righteousness.
Jesus is the servant of Yahweh (Isaiah 52:13–53:12) who did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Through our union with Jesus, and the encouragement of His love, we are set free to honor one another above ourselves, and to serve each other in humility (Philippians 2:1–11).
The troubling of Jesus’ spirit in the upper room was simply the firstfruits of the agony He would experience later that same evening in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46). Earlier in his Gospel, John shared the legend of the healing waters of the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1–17). When the waters were “stirred up” (5:7; the same word translated “troubled” in 13:21), healing was reputedly given to the first person who stepped in. With Jesus, salvation is not merely reputed but is guaranteed for all who trust in Him. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Notice the stark contrast between John, the disciple who leans against Jesus’ side, and Judas, the disciple who betrays Him unto death. Only sovereign grace can explain the difference.
The newness of the new commandment can be understood only in light of the finished work of Jesus. God has always called His people to a life of neighbor love (Leviticus 19:18), reaffirmed by Jesus as the second great commandment (Matthew 22:36–40). But the new commandment presupposes a new paradigm. The greatness of Jesus’ love for us is now the motivation for our loving others. If we love Jesus truly and deeply, we will love what and whom He loves—the unlovely, the oppressed, those very different from us, and those whose actions have damaged us.
This confirming sign of our discipleship is not a badge of our commitment to Jesus; it is rather the beauty of Jesus’ commitment to us. Discipleship is not a program for which we sign up; it is a whole new way of life for which we have been raised up.
There is something comforting about seeing how slow the disciples were to understand Jesus’ teaching and how reluctant they were to own their brokenness. If Jesus could care for such as these, then there is hope for frail and faulty people such as we. Jesus is a patient teacher, and a most wonderful and merciful Savior. As in Peter’s life, Jesus not only foresees our betrayals; He also foresees our restoration.
How has Jesus restored you?
John 14 – Having withdrawn from the crowds of Jerusalem, Jesus pours His time and efforts into His band of apostles—whose lives and witness will be an extension of His own. In comforting His disciples, Jesus gives us an extraordinary summary of who He is and what He came from heaven to do on our behalf. Though most often read at funerals, these familiar words prepare us for life long before we face death. Present relationship, comfort, and security with Jesus is being stressed more so than our future place of residence.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. By boldly affirming these three categories, we can see how Jesus fulfills the three main offices God provided for His covenant people: prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, Jesus is the truth of the Father—He is the Word made flesh, the final word God has spoken to His people (Hebrews 1:2). As priest, Jesus is the way to the Father—He is both the sacrifice for our sins and the Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24). As king, Jesus is the life from the sovereign giver of life, the eternal Father—who gives life now and in the coming age for eternity (Hebrews 6:5). He is the King whom the Father has already installed in Zion (Psalm 2:6) and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).
The promise of “greater works” presupposes Jesus’ ongoing work in the world, as prophet, priest, and king—by which His purposes will be amplified by His multiplying believers and expanding the church. As the head of the church and the reigning King, Jesus continues His work in the world through His people indwelt by His Spirit. Our work for Jesus is really our work with Jesus. He is the One making all things new, and He does so in us and through us. He has made us to be a “kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Revelation 1:6)
Carefully note what Jesus actually says. If we love Him, we will obey Him. Jesus does not say, if we obey Him, He will love us. The gospel turns everything right side up. We can do nothing to earn or maintain a relationship with God. Our obedience merits us nothing; but our obedience is an essential affirmation of our love for Jesus. It is by Jesus’ obedience that we are saved, and it is by our obedience, compelled by love for Jesus, that we express our gratitude for so great a salvation.
As Jesus continues instructing His disciples in advance of His ascension, we enter the most profound teaching about the Trinity to be found anywhere in the Bible. There is much mystery here, but let us affirm what is clearly in the text. The better we know Jesus, the more Trinitarian we will become. The gospel is the means by which we enter the fellowship, love, and joy shared by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout eternity—a staggering thought indeed.
Jesus is the perfect Son whose obedience is counted as our own—the basis upon which the Father adopts us as His beloved children. The Spirit comes into our hearts as the spirit of sonship (Romans 8:15)—freeing us from our orphan-like ways, leading us into greater intimacy with the Father and the Son.
How does knowing the we have the Spirit of Jesus within you give you comfort and confidence to love people today?
John 15 – The metaphor of vine and branches underscores how our salvation, from beginning to end, is all of grace. Jesus is the faithful remnant of Israel—the true Vine and fruitful Vineyard (Psalm 80:8–16; Isaiah 5:1–7; Ezekiel 15:1–6). By the Spirit’s presence in our lives, we have entered into an organic union with Him—a union of branches to Vine (Romans 11:24). We are, as the New Testament puts it time and again, “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3–14). We are engrafted into the true Israel. Our lives are hidden with Jesus in God (Colossians 3:3).
Here Jesus says that He chose His disciples to be His branches; they did not choose Him (John 15:16). This reminds us that our calling, as Jesus present disciples, is not to trumpet our wise decisions but simply to abide—to dwell, to marinate, to go “deeper still” into Jesus. For apart from Jesus, we can do nothing and will bear no fruit. Failing to abide in Jesus does not suggest the possibility of losing one’s salvation; rather it underscores that salvation can be found nowhere else. Continuance in Jesus is a test of reality. The Bible teaches both the perseverance of the saints and that true saints will persevere. We strive ahead, yet even that striving is a gift of grace (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:12–13; Colossians 1:29).
Jesus defines the life of abiding as a life of love. Just as the Father loves Jesus, so Jesus loves us. Jesus loves us just as much as the Father loves Him. We cannot earn Jesus’ love. Our obedience to Jesus merits nothing, but it profits greatly. Jesus’ commands are not burdensome, for they are for our best, and He has fulfilled the demands and the judgment of God’s law that could condemn us (Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The radical grace of the gospel transforms servanthood into friendship. Only grace can free us to obey Jesus out of friendship and worship, and no longer out of fear or self-interest.
The more fully we give ourselves to a life of abiding in Jesus, the richer our fellowship will be with all three members of the Trinity; and intimacy with God will propel us into the mission of God. The more the gospel takes hold in our lives, the more we will be outward-facing in mission, not inward-facing in fear. Grace comes to us in order that it might flow through us. Thus, according to Jesus, we should not be surprised at growing opposition, even persecution, from the world.
Why does the gospel of grace elicit such violent opposition from both religious and non-religious segments of society? Grace is disruptive before it is redemptive. The gospel sabotages all forms of self-salvation. Our need is so great that it took the death of the Son of God to save people like us. The good news is that Jesus went willingly and gladly to the cross for us.
How do you abide in Jesus today and every day?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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