Another "Strengthener-Witherer" - Part One
I want to give an exposition from John 14 beginning with verse 15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Now in order to understand the fourteenth chapter of John, you need to look at something in the thirteenth chapter. The Lord had come with His disciples to the upper room. Remember that the disciples were rather ignorant fishermen, quite capable of great mistakes and failure to understand.
They had come to know the wonder that was in Christ, yet they did not understand much spiritual truth yet. Suddenly, as they were sitting up there in the upper room, Jesus dropped this fantastic bombshell. He said, "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come"' (John 13:33).
Well, this caused utter consternation! "Why, what do you mean He's going away?" Now He went on talking but I'm going to prove to you that they didn't hear what He said to them.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another"--they didn't hear any of this--"as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." If the Holy Spirit hadn't brought these words later to John's mind and had him write them down, we would not have this.
If you look at the next verse, you see that Peter came back into the room. His mind had been down the street with the idea: "He's going to leave us. Where's He going to go? What's He going to do?" As Jesus' voice went on, Peter jumped in and said, "Lord, where are you going?" See where his mind has been?
Jesus said, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow afterwards."
Peter said, "Lord, why can't I follow you? I'd lay down my life for your sake."
Jesus said to him, "Would you lay down your life for My sake? I tell you before the rooster crows tomorrow morning at break of day, you will have denied Me three times." (See John 13:36-38.) Oh, consternation! And Jesus said, "Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me ." "Don't worry, now, don't worry," Jesus is saying.
"Yes," reply the disciples, "but what is this fantastic thing?"
- Why do you think the disciples were so disturbed that Jesus was leaving?
- Do you think they had good intentions or did they realize what they were saying was wrong?
- How should we react when we realize something we believe about God has been wrong?
Pray that God would give us humility to follow Christ despite the presuppositions we might have.