This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said, "Jesus loved him."
John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.
A devotion introduction for July
The passage known as the Upper Room Discourse in the gospel of John, chapters 13 through 17, takes us into the intimate thoughts of Jesus just before His crucifixion. Some have called this the
Holy of Holies of Scripture. That is, if you think of Scripture as a temple, this is the sanctuary, where you come into the very presence of God Himself. By means of Jesus' words to His disciples, we are permitted to enter into His thinking and emotions just before His crucifixion. Within hours of this time in the upper room, the Lord was hanging upon a cross. In less than twenty-four hours, he was dead and buried. These, therefore, constitute the last words of Jesus before His death.
Because all power in heaven and earth had been placed in Jesus' hands, He was, in a sense, directing His own death. He was in charge of the events. Rather than being a helpless victim of circumstances over which He had no control, He was Himself determining them as they occurred. We can see His authority in the garden when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, and He spoke to them with such power that they all fell backward on the ground! Who was in charge there? He was in command throughout all this amazing series of events.
In this deep and penetrating passage, our Lord is laying his heart bare before His disciples. He is seeking to impart to them the secret of His life—the secret that is the explanation of those amazing words that He spoke and those amazing works that He did. That secret lies in his relationship to His Father. And that relationship is what Jesus stresses as He talks with these disciples.
In this passage Jesus explains some tremendous concepts for their understanding and for ours as well. He tells them that He is sending a replacement for Himself to them—the Holy Spirit. Another Comforter, another Strengthener, is on the way. And when He comes, He will no longer be merely with them but within them. Their strength will no longer come from without, as when Jesus was their Comforter, but will come from within.
Thus he establishes the prominent characteristic of the day of the Spirit, in which we live. He tells them that the primary work of the Spirit will be to take the life of Jesus and release it to these believers. This is the great and marvelous truth that the Scriptures seek to set before us. When the Spirit came to release Jesus' life within His disciples, they were then able to live by Him, as He lived by means of the Father. This is the fantastic secret that makes possible the fulfillment of the high demands of Christian living. A Christian lives by the same principle as Jesus did. As he lived by means of the Father, in dependence and trust in Him, moment by moment, so we are to live by means of the Son, in dependence and trust in Him.
As we look carefully, then, at this passage, we will begin to see more clearly into the heart of our Lord, into His complete understanding of our needs—to see His preparations and provision for us and to understand more clearly how we are to bear the fruit that remains.