Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Side of the Cross: The Night of Jesus' Arrest Intro

In John chapters 13-16 we hear Jesus talking to His disciples just before His betrayal. Before morning Jesus would be arrested and soon on His way to the cross. Knowing that is crucial to truly understanding what Jesus is saying here. Jesus says things referring to the tumultuous time coming to help His disciples get through the next few days.  He says things like, "I will be with you only a little longer, Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God and in me."

John 13 starts with, "Jesus knowing that His hour had come, that He would depart from this world to the Father (this refers to His death on the cross not His ascension), loving His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." During everything Jesus says and does in these chapters Jesus is keeping in mind that He is going to die on the cross and be in the grave for 3 days. Everything He says and does here is to show love to His disciples. He wants them to see Him risen and to receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus explains in John 13:19 that He will be telling His disciples future events so that when the events happen they would trust in who He is. Here are some things Jesus says to them speaking of His coming death, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” "My body is given & broken for you," "My blood is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins," "You will all fall away because I will be stuck down," "After I have been raised..”  Jesus also predicted Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, & Peter's return.

At the end of John 16 (v29-33) Jesus' disciples said to Him, “Now we know that You know all things. In this we trust that You came from God.” Jesus answered them, "Now do you trust? Behold, there is coming an hour, and it has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and you will leave Me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that you might have peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble. But take courage, I have overcome the world." John 13-16 begins and ends with the same idea. Jesus loved His disciples. He spoke to them knowing His death and burial was soon to come. What He said to them was intended to give them peace, courage, & confidence in Him while He was arrested, on the cross, & in the grave.

Almost everything I've heard taught about these scriptures utterly leave the context behind and apply whatever is said to all Christians for all time. Jesus is speaking to a unique group of people at a very unique time. His disciples have not yet received eternal salvation because Jesus had not yet made it available through the cross. While we can benefit from any scripture not everything that is said should be applied to us. Even though not all of the commands Jesus said are for us today we can still benefit from the fact that Jesus cares enough about His people to prepare them for hard times. God did this for me the day my dad died before I was even aware of his death (see this post). Likewise Jesus did this for His disciples shortly before He was put to death.

In this series I will show that Jesus wasn't laying down miscellaneous instructions & commands to hopelessly burden all people for all time but instead sought to give His disciples hope even as they face their Master's crucifixion. This was the biggest event of their lives and the biggest event of all time. Jesus' words to them spoke to their upcoming situation. Removing these scriptures from context ignores the importance of the cross & the magnificent change it has made. Religion, Satan, legalism, & shame all point to man's behavior. God & the gospel always points to God and His behavior on our behalf, His love.

This Side of the Cross:  The Night of Jesus' Arrest
1. Intro
2. Jesus Goes to Prepare a Place in His Father's House † We Live in The Father
3. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments † I Will Love You So You Will Trust Me
4. Remain in Me † You are in Me

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