19 Aug Advance Notice – Words of Grace – August 19, 2022
How wise and kind of Jesus to give advance notice of what is to come for his disciples in the world.
We love advance notice. We want to know the dress code for the party, what the subject matter will be for the meeting, and if the event is a fundraiser. No one likes the unannounced drop-by that finds them unprepared for company. More seriously, to be blindsided with bad news can be painful. Some warning would be helpful. We like to know what to expect.
Jesus knows human nature. In the Farewell Discourse of John 14-16 he told his disciples what to expect after he left this world. This has been our theme at Grace Community Church for several weeks. We have heard Jesus say that he will come again and receive us to himself to be with him forever. He said that we are to love him and keep his commandments, love one another, and abide in him. He promised the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come to live in us.
Another message Jesus gave his disciples is more difficult to hear. This one is a dose of reality. Jesus gave advanced notice about the tribulation we will have in this world. He followed that message with the assurance that he has overcome the world. If we abide in him, we too will overcome (John 16:33).
Why is it important to hear the things Jesus said before he left this world? Jesus gave three reasons for giving advanced notice about the tribulations to come and his victory over the world.
Jesus wants us to remember his words in the hour of hardship (John 16:4). There is something helpful in knowing that Jesus already knew that tribulation would come. This gives us a sense of confidence that he is in control. If he can know our future, he is in control of it. He gave advance notice so we will remember this.
Jesus wants us to remain with him (John 16:1). He put it this way, “I said these things to keep you from falling away.” The advance teaching of Jesus is to be heard and heeded. As it is, we are strengthened by his words to pursue his call to follow him. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, brings the words of Jesus to us with power to sustain us in trials and tribulation.
Jesus wants us to have peace (John 16:33). Peace comes from remembering and remaining in Jesus Christ. Here, Jesus gives us two promises. The first is that we will have tribulation in the world. Being in the world as followers of Jesus is the reason for the tribulation. The world is hostile to Jesus, and so it is toward Christians.
The second promise is that Jesus has overcome the world. Here is the advanced notice that gives us peace. This world will be a hard place for the faithful believer in Jesus. The message of Jesus in John is that the world will not make peace with him, and the believer in Jesus will not be at peace with the world. But, the world, with its hostility toward Jesus, is not final and will not have the victory over him. The cross and resurrection of Jesus ensure that he will reign with his redeemed people in a new world to come. All who are in him by faith also overcome. “This is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Jesus told us what to expect in this world as his followers. It will be to our advantage if we remember these things, obey him, and live with confidence that he is Lord of all.
Pray about these things this weekend. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.