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Archive for March 2008

Jesus the Risen King

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86. Partake –Jesus the Risen King 

1 Corinthians 15v1-8:  Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

 

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb.  What do these four Gospels say about the resurrection and Jesus’ rising from the dead? 

Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended.  Some of the sequence events have more than one Gospel reporting them, but for brevity, I will only give one reference to Scripture.

The tomb is empty

  • Two Marys watch the burial: Matthew27v61, Mark 15v47, Luke23v54-55,
  • Roman soldiers guard the tomb: Matthew 27v62-66,
  • Women prepare spices then rest: Luke 23v56,
  • An angel rolls the stone away: Matthew 28v2-4
  • Women arrive at dawn with spices: Matthew 28v1, Mark 16v1-4, Luke 24v1-3, John 20v1
  • Angels appear to women: Matthew 28v5-7, Mark 16v5-7, Luke 24v4-8,
  • Women dart back to tell disciples: Matthew 28v8, Mark 16v8, Luke 24v9-11, John 20v2
  • Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: Luke 24v12, John 20v3-9
  • Peter and John go home: Luke 24v12, John 20v10
  • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: John 20v11
  • Mary sees two angels: John 20v12-13

 

Jesus’ appearances

 

  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16v9, John 20v14-17
  • Jesus appears to the other women: Matthew 28v9-10,
  • Women report to the disciples: Mark 16v10-11, John 20v18
  • Guards testify to the priests: Matthew 28v11-15,
  • Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32,
  • Jesus appears to Simon Peter: 1 Corinthians 15v5, Luke 24v34,
  • 2 report to disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24v33-35,
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: Luke 24v36-43, John 20v19-24
  • Disciples report to Thomas: John 20v25
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples and Thomas: Mark 16v14, John 20v26-29
  • Jesus appears to seven people: John 21v1-14
  • Jesus questions Peter 3 times: John 21v15-23
  • Jesus appears to 500 people: 1 Corinthians 15v6
  • Jesus appears to James: 1 Corinthians 15v7

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the resurrection:

  • The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus.  They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people.
  • Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so.  Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles.
  • The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.
  • The survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church.  If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people really have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

 

Dealing with Doubters

 

  • Lets say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.  Surely the authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement!  But they didn’t.
  • Secondly, would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus?  They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead.  After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.
  • Thirdly, somebody stole the body.  Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason?  How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb?
  • Fourthly, Jesus didn’t die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb.  Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life”.
  • Fifthly, they all went to the wrong tomb.  Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done. 
  • Lastly, Jesus didn’t die on the cross but somebody was substituted for him.  This is certainly untenable, given the rigidity and strict record keeping of Roman rule and with the eyes of the Jewish hierarchy watching.

Significance of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1v22; Acts 4v33, Acts 17v18).  But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

  • The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53v10-12; Acts 2v36; Acts 3v13-15; Romans 1v4).
  • Declared God’s approval of Jesus obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2v32, Romans 4v24-25)
  • Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15v12-58, Romans 8v10, 2 Corinthians 4v14; 1 Peter 1v3 & 21)
  • As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5v10; Hebrews 6v20, 1 Peter 1v21).

Jesus still meets people today

As Jesus is still living, He meets with people at the present time.  How does He do this?

  • Jesus walks with us, whereever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life.  Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who proclaim to follow Him (Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32)
  • Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24v27).
  • Jesus meets us in the Communion, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood.

For more to think about please do read John 20 & 21. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

 

Q1. How does my faith journey compare to that of Thomas’?

Q2. What can I learn from Peter and the responses he gave?

Q3. How do I still encounter the risen Lord in my daily walk with Him?

 

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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The book of Acts summarised in one minute with key verses and key theme... Paypal Donate If you have found this podcast helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider how little or how much you may like to donate. Thank you

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The book of John summarised in one minute with key verses and key theme…

Jesus,

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Jesus The Dying King

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85. Partake - Jesus The Dying King

Isaiah 52v13-14: See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—

Isaiah 53v10-11: Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Isaiah, centuries before Jesus’ birth, was speaking about Jesus. As we look together briefly at John 19, correlate the two passages and see how they interlink!

1. What of Jesus?

a. Jesus was Condemned

Pilate gave in an permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19vs. 1-3)

Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19v4)

Jesus’ refusal to answer stung Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19v10)

Jesus, however, corrected Pilate’s idea of authority and told him that although Pilate may have power on earth, his power did reach beyond earth (John 19v11).

Jesus knew that his work of bring people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor.

Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice.

Jesus was the true Passover lamb.

b. Jesus was Crucified

Jesus bearing his own cross, was killed as a common criminal (John 19v17).

Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19v21-22).

Clothes of condemned men were given to soldiers on duty (John 19v23).

Jesus showed concern for his mother, even when he himself was in agony, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19vs.26-27).

The crucifixion site “was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls… for sanitary reasons… the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by.” Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts.

Jesus’ final moments – “ I am thirsty.” (John 19v28) and “ It is finished.” (John 19v30).

The desire of the Jews (John 19v32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival.

The breaking of legs (John 19vs.32-33) sped up the process of death.

The piercing of Jesus’ side, and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19v34).

c. Jesus was Buried

Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus buried Jesus. The significance of “in which no-one had ever been laid” (John 19v41) is to demonstrate that the body of Jesus at no point came into contact with the decay of a dead body.

2. What Has Jesus’ Death Done For All Mankind?

a) Our natural state – Romans 3v23 – (We are all sinners).

b) Forgiveness – Ephesians 1v7 – (God forgives our sins).

c) Peace – Romans 5v1 – (We have peace with God).

d) Reconciled us to God – 2 Corinthians 5v19 – (No longer enemies with God).

e) Justified us – Romans 3v24-26 – (Makes us just before God).

f) Cleanses us from sin – 1 John 1v7

g) Makes us right before God – 2 Corinthians 5v21

h) Gives us direct access to god – Ephesians 2v18

i) Freedom from the power of slavery to sin – Galatians 5v1

j) Freedom from the power of devil – Hebrews 2v 14

k) Gives us Christ’s intercession – Hebrews 2v17-18

None of the above things are true if we do not follow Jesus.

3. Why did Jesus go to the cross?

3a The problem!

Sin is what separates humans from God and as a consequence leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Romans 3v23, Romans 6v23, Isaiah 59v2). In the Old Testament, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement as coverings for sin (Leviticus 17v11), for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9v22). A blood sacrifice is God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:

·It provided a covering for sin.

·It showed the great cost of sin.

·It was an exchange or substitution.

·It was only always going to be a temporary measure as it pointed forward to Jesus' death

3b. The Solution!

The solution lies not in continual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament because Hebrews 10v4 reminds us that the blood of animals cannot take away sin but was only a veneer or covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again! It is only through the death of Jesus, that sin is taken away (Hebrews 9:v11-15, 26-28), because Jesus is our permanent sacrificial substitute!

3c. Substitution

Jesus died for our sin, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3v18). That is how God is both just and the Justifier of sinners. That is why Jesus needed to be both fully God and fully human! If he lacked either, it would not be the full substitutionary sacrifice that was necessary to bear the permanent consequences of sin! When Jesus died on the cross, in our place, he bore the consequences of all sin – past, present and future. He therefore became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5v21) and it was His precious blood as a lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter 1:18-19) that fulfils God’s requirements permanently.

3d. Propitiation

Towards sin and sinful behaviour, God has great fury, anger and wrath (Jeremiah 21v5). Yet as Micah 7v18 “He is slow to anger and quick to forgive”. Propitiation basically means the turning aside of God's anger by the offering of the sacrifice of Christ. God's anger and judgment of sin falls on Christ, instead of us. We need to approach God to appease His anger, in order to accept it (Romans 3:25; Isaiah 53:5; John 2:2, 5:6).

1 John 2v2: He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4v10: This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice (or propitiation) to take away our sins.

3e. Redemption (Ransom) Mark 10:45

Not only was it propitiation, but also an act of redemption! In the time of the New Testament, this word was used to refer to the buying back of a slave - the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom. God paid redemption so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was paid (1 Peter 1:18-19) and so we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – He leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals.

What is our response to this to be? Sacrifice, substitution, propitiation and redemption can be summed up in one word: love. For 1 John 3v16 states: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” Jesus told us to take up our cross if we are to follow Him as His Disciple (Luke 9v23). Are you as a Christian Disciple willing to take up your cross and do all you can do to love others?

Price to pay for true followers

  • We must surrender completely to Him
  • We must identify with Him in suffering and death
  • We must follow Him obediently, wherever He leads.

For more to think about please do read John 18-19. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. In the light of Jesus teaching about suffering under persecution, how far am I prepared to go as His disciple?

Q2. Why was it necessary that Jesus be both fully human and fully God?

Q3. How is Jesus a king and how does that affect my relationship with Him?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you

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Jesus Last Prayer

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84. Partake - Jesus’ Last Prayer

John 17v1-5: Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it's time. Display the bright splendour of your Son So the Son in turn may show your bright splendour. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendour, the very splendour I had in your presence before there was a world.

After His last teaching on His last night, Jesus now turns to prayer. Firstly praying for Himself, then for His twelve disciples and then finally for all disciples that will follow, the church. This prayer is probably the pinnacle of revelation in John’s gospel. Here we see Jesus’ very words, revealing an unparalleled intimacy with His Father.

The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus prays for Himself

Central to this part of His prayer is glorification. That is the glorification of Himself in order that God the Father who sent Him will be glorified. Glorify is rarely used outside of church circles today. If ever it is, is usually in the context of somebody pretending to be better than they really are. Glorify means, in a biblical context, to have the person’s true nature disclosed. So in effect, Jesus is saying in John 17v1: “May people see me for who I truly am, your Son. And may they also through Me, see Your true nature, Father!” Praying as He does, just before He knowingly goes to His death on the cross, shows the importance of the cross. For it is through the cross that God the Father and Jesus will be glorified. Jesus’ death on the cross reveals a God of love, faithfulness and forgiveness. John 17v4 reveals that it was this purpose that He came, in order to complete the work given. Jesus’ entire earthly life has been one to show divine love. All His works and words were completed without even a hint of hypocrisy. His entire life was driven by the desire to see sinful people turn to God for reconciliation and forgiveness. At the cross and through the cross, this is achieved. Jesus confidently prays that having laid aside His glory by taking on human form, He will return to God’s right hand, having achieved the work of redemption. The theme of eternal life runs throughout John’s Gospel (John 3v15-16; John 10v28). Eternal life is knowing God personally and intimately, and that is only achieved by faith through Jesus’ death on the cross. It is a free offer and open to all. It is the responsibility of all people to take up the offer. Once the offered is taken up, the responsibility is then to tell others of this offer.

Jesus prays for His Disciples

John 14v6-8: I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me.

In this part of the prayer, Jesus prays for His disciples. Note how He describes them: they were chosen by God Himself, seen God in Jesus and have received God’s words and obeyed them (John 17v6). John 17v6, 9-10 tells us that the disciples were in the safe possession of both the Father and the Son. John 17v7-8 shows what the disciples know. Despite misunderstanding frequently what Jesus was talking about, the disciples still grasped that Jesus had come from God. Having taught that they will endure persecution and suffering because they are His followers, Jesus prays for their safety. They will be safe, not because of their own cunning, character or conduct. They will be safe because of God’s care and protection (John 17v11-12). As they are God’s possession, He will ensure that they are watched over and protected. This security is also borne from glorifying God and being witnesses for Him (John 17v10). God is glorified whenever His salvation plan is explained and told.

Who are the disciples enemies and why do they need protecting (John 17v11-12, 15)? The first enemy is the world who does not know God and is therefore in rebellion against God. The disciples were told of this prior to this prayer. Satan is also an enemy of the disciple and will do all he can to stop God being glorified in the life of the disciple. How will God keep them safe? Through His mighty name and nature. By remaining loyal to Jesus, obedient to His teachings and telling others about Him, God’s name & nature will therefore protect them.

Jesus also prays that they may be filled with joy (John 17v13) and be dedicated wholly and solely to Him. The disciples now have a mission and purpose to fulfil – to tell others of Jesus. This mission though whilst their responsibility is not theirs alone, but is the continuation of Jesus’ mission to bring people to reconciliation with God. Part of that mission is to live a holy life in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is the real and true pioneer evangelist! Living a holy life, means living a life not for themselves but for the glory and obedience of Jesus Christ.

Jesus prays for all Christian Disciples

John 17v24-26: Father, I want those you gave me To be with me, right where I am, So they can see my glory, the splendour you gave me, Having loved me Long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them — Who you are and what you do — And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them.

Now Jesus prays for all those who, through the work of the disciples, will become His followers. As such, it brings all Christian disciples into intimacy with Jesus and a part of a dynamic relationship with Him.

What does Jesus pray for His church of followers? Jesus prays for unity. That is unity is on various levels. Firstly it is unity on the invisible, supernatural level (John 17v21-22). The life of all Christian disciples are inextricably linked to each other, through the love and obedience of God the Son and God the Father. Christian disciples are united because Jesus imparts upon them, the glory given to Him by God the Father (John 17v22). This unity is also physical, in so much as through a visible unity, people will come to know Jesus personally and take up the offer of reconciliation with God (John 17v21, 23). This unity is also physically seen, through the telling of the message of reconciliation (John 17v20).

Remember Jesus’ words earlier in John’s Gospel? John 15v12-14: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. If the world sees Christian Disciples loving others sacrificially, then unity is seen and it is an effective witness to the reality of reconciliation with God.

For more to think about please do read John 17. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How am I as a Christian Disciple glorifying God and being His representative?

Q2. What are the hindrances that I face regarding evangelism and telling others about Jesus?

Q3. What can I, as a Christian disciple, do to maintain a witness of unity with other Christian Disciples?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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Jesus Last Teaching

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83. Partake – Jesus Last Teaching

“But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.” (John 16v5-7)

In these last few chapters before He is crucified, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples and giving them some final teaching before He departs. Several times He has told them He is going away (John 13v33; John 14v3-4, 19, 28). Today we are going to go quickly through John 15-16

Disciples must bear fruit for the kingdom! (John 15v1-16)

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15v1-2)

As usual Jesus uses Old Testament language, for in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is often seen as a vine (Jeremiah 2v21; Psalm 80). However as a vine, Israel had not produced fruit that God had expected as explained in Isaiah 5v1-2 “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.”

With Jesus describing Himself as the true Vine, the implication is clear that the nation of Israel was but an imperfect precursor to His perfect self. With Jesus as the vine, all believers are the branches, and all believers draw spiritual nourishment from Him. As part of this nourishment, sometimes pruning is required (John 15v2). Cleansing is also required in order that fruit be borne from the Christian Disciple. This cleansing is through regular confession of sin and partaking of Holy Communion as explained in the foot-washing scene of John 13. To prove to others they are His followers and His disciples, Jesus tells them they are to continue loving Him and also to sacrificially love others joyfully (John 15v12-14). By doing these things, which is now their mission statement, they will bear much good fruit for God’s greater glory (John 15v8). The same is true of us today, if we are Christian Disciples.

Disciples will suffer for the kingdom (John 15v18-27)

John 15v18: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

Having spoken of love and bearing fruit, Jesus now declares a warning and the context into which He is sending them. We learn from this passage that opposition to Jesus’ message is unavoidable. The first opposition is that of the old nature attacking the new nature. Christian Disciples, Jesus said, were called out from the world (John 15v19). Christian Disciples upon conversion belong to a different place and are heading for a different place . Secondly, opposition is to be expected simply because of who Jesus is (John 15v21). Christian Disciples share in the life of Jesus and the way the world treats Jesus is the way the world treats all His disciples (John 15v20-21). Thirdly, opposition comes through revealing evil. Jesus, as the Light of the World, exposed evil and sin through His words (John 15v22) and works (John 15v24). At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus commanded all those who follow Him, to also be “lights of the world” (Matthew 5v14-16). This is done by consistently ensuring that our works and words match our lifestyle and that no hypocrisy will be found. Opposition brings persecution, and regularly throughout history, Christian believers have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus. In our own time, perhaps the most persecuted century of all. Being a Christian is not an easy decision, but it is worth it. It is also endurable because of three things: God still remains Lord God despite all; .we share in Jesus’ own sufferings and therefore have fellowship with Him (Philippians 3v10) and by being persecuted, it shows we belong to Him (John 15v19).

The main reason all opposition can be endured is because the Christian Disciple is not alone. God the Holy Spirit witnesses with the Christian Disciple (John 15v26). Not as a supplementary person filling a perfunctory role, but rather as the pioneer going out to testify about Jesus ahead (John 15v26) of the Christian Disciple (John 15v27).

Disciples will have resources in the Kingdom (John 16)

The first resource that Christian Disciples have is, as we have already seen, the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the real evangelist. In conjunction with Him, the Christian Disciple has three resources to use: proclaiming, counselling and discipling.

Proclaiming (John 16v1-7): this is the proclaiming and elucidating work about Jesus that the Spirit performs. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection (John 16v14). If Jesus did not go back to glory, and the Holy Spirit was not sent, then the pioneering work of the Holy Spirit would be missing from evangelism and mission. Not only does the Holy Spirit direct people to Jesus, but take them to Him.

Counselling (John 16v8-11): As well as proclaiming about Jesus, the Holy Spirit speaks to people’s hearts personally – one to one. He convinces people hearing of God’s Word of three things: their own sin (John 16v8); their separation from a righteous God (John 16v10) and also in regards to the judgement of Satan and all who follow him (John 16v11). In these three things, a person is led to the Cross in order to confess their sin and need of Jesus Christ and the salvation only He can provide.

Discipling (John 16v12-16): Once bought to faith, the Holy Spirit performs several tasks for the Twelve Disciples: He will guide them into all truth and develop what is coming in the future (John 16v13). The New Testament is the product of this work and that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For the Christian Disciple today, the Holy Spirit helps them to apply the Bible to their life in order that Jesus Christ be glorified (John 16v14).

The second resource available to the Christian Disciple is Jesus Himself! (John 16v16-33)

His presence! The twelve disciples will experience sorrow and loss when Jesus is crucified. But after the resurrection, their sorrow will turn to great joy – similar to the exceeding joy after the pains of childbirth! Christian Disciples today also have Jesus’ presence with them, particularly when engaged in doing the work of an evangelist!

His provision! Through answered prayer, joy abounds (John 16v24)! Prayer is gong to be of prime importance for the twelve disciples as it is a way to ensure unabated joy!

His position! Jesus has overcome the world (John 16v33) and nothing can prevail against Him!

For more to think about please do read John 15-16 and ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. As a Christian Disciple, what fruit am I producing?

Q2. Why do I suffer and endure persecution for being a Christian Disciple?

Q3. How does knowing that the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus before me, help me in my evangelism?

Q4. When was the last time I showed exceeding joy for the reasons Jesus gives in John 16?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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