There is a stubborn fact of history that no one has been able to disprove, although many have tried. Jesus’ tomb was empty, and no one has ever produced his body. Hear in John 20:1-18 about the first ones to encounter the empty tomb. Come, see, and believe!
All through the Gospel of John we have been hearing about Jesus’ coming glorification. In John 19:16-42, we finally reach it and discover that it took place on the cross. In this familiar account, the author of the gospel included fascinating details that point us to the meaning of the death of Christ and the response it requires from us.
Only in John 18:28-19:16 do we find details of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. We hear Jesus’ opponents making statements about him that are much truer than they understood. Putting these statements together, we have a clear although unintentional declaration of who Jesus is and why he came.
In his narration of Jesus’ arrest in John 18:1-27, John alternated between scenes focused on Jesus who acted in complete control, and Peter who was losing control of himself. We will likely be able to find ourselves in the story in couple of different ways, once because of our similar need and another time because of Jesus’ provision for our need.
After his farewell discourse with his disciples, Jesus prayed his longest recorded prayer in John 17:1-26. He prayed regarding himself, for his original disciples, and for his later disciples, but his overarching request was for God’s glory. Because God’s glory on earth is tied to how his disciples live, prayer for his disciples to do well is prayer for God’s glory.
Jesus concluded his final discourse with his disciples before his death in John 16:12-33. He developed previous lessons and added that they would have temporary sorrow that would change into lasting joy. In spite of our suffering in this world, Christians can have joy, peace, and courage, because Jesus has overcome the world.
After telling his disciples that they should love one another, Jesus began preparing them in John 15:18-16:11 to be hated by the world. Even so, he sent them out to be witnesses for him, but not on their own. He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to be the witness who would convince the world about the truth of the gospel.
In a world full of bad news, we are all wanting to hear good news. What we usually receive is good advice, which is welcome but fails to animate our lives. In Acts 10:34-43, we have an early sermon by Peter, in which he clearly and simple spelled out for us the good news about Jesus.
There is a word that runs through Jesus’ farewell discourse and appears eleven times in John 15:1-17 in one form or another. It can be translated as abide, remain, stay, continue, dwell. As we abide in our homes during the pandemic, we need to remember that we must abide in Jesus to bear fruit, to glorify the Father, and to be filled with joy!
Continuing the final conversation with his disciples in John 14:15-31, Jesus told them how to show their love for him and of the gifts he gives to those who love him. His Spirit, his presence, and his peace enable us to live as his followers these days and every day.