2016-12-11 – John 16.25-33 – Yet I Am Not Alone

John 16.25-33 – Yet I Am Not Alone
Jesus said to the Disciples, starting in verse 25:
25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father.

26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?

32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

Good morning everyone – Thank you all for joining us today (guests).
Besides all the blistering cold and snowy weather coming upon us, many people, all around the world are preparing for Christmas. The Christmas lights are coming up in our neighborhoods and Christmas movies and songs are being played. All to celebrate Santa Clause, right?  No.. but instead we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus some 2010 years ago. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that fact, as the commercial world frequently steers the shoppers in a different understanding of what all this Holy-day is truly about.

You might be interested to know that 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote in our Bible these words: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” What profound words to describe our Savior Jesus Christ. And in a few weeks we celebrate His birth. Not that it actually occurred on December 25, but we recognize and celebrate the fact the He was in fact born, the King of Kings, God in the flesh, Jesus the Christ the Son of God. Amen and Amen

That same Jesus is providing us a message today in His own words. At this point, Jesus and the Disciples have been meeting in private and He is giving them some final instruction before He is taken away to the cross. The feeling in the room was probably similar to what it might be in a locker room huddle right before the big game. Or maybe like when you and your family are preparing for surgery with the doctor and he is giving the family a brief of what was about to happen. It was a closed briefing with only the twelve of them. And their mentor, savior and King was giving His final message.

And now let us move together into God’s Word and see what message Jesus has for us this morning from our Bible, John 16.25-33 – Yet I Am Not Alone, Page 111 in the Pew Bible.  Which is the Inspired, Infallible, and Living Word of God  [Prayer]

Jesus said to the Disciples, starting in verse 25:
25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father.

Jesus was a master story teller, He told many parables to the people he met. He knew that through the stories, people might understand the message and principles that were tied to the messages. It is also because of the parables, that many people memorized scripture so easily. They didn’t have Bibles as we have today, but they remembered the stories that Jesus told to get a point across.

A parable is basically an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. When Jesus first started telling parables to the people, His disciples asked, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10). Jesus’ answer to the question was quite revealing, He said: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.”

So the unwillingness of the people to receive Jesus’ message of the kingdom was also a reason that He taught in parables. The truths of the kingdom of God were heard by them but not understood. It was not because God was hiding the truth from them, but instead they really did not want to hear in the first place. So sad.

Jesus also used figures of speech because we have a limited ability to understand. Our minds are clouded by what we think is the truth but there is so much about life and the afterlife that is way beyond our comprehension. Jesus was saying that one day the scales will be removed from our eyes. One day we will have the capacity to understand and then He can speak to us plainly. When we get to heaven we will know. Until then we have to trust. Until then we have to have faith to bridge the gap of our not fully understanding. Reminds me of that old song, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory!”  I can’t wait for that day.

26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”

Two times before Jesus addressed the fact that they should ask in His Name. And I will restate that what He intends is that we should ask in according to His will. And Jesus’ will is in line with what Father God’s will, so we ask in the name of Jesus, we are effectively asking for what God already wants. And if that is the case, of course He will give it because He loves you so. The key to all this is knowing God’s will, and to know God’s will we need to be reading His Word.

I like how Jesus said here that He came from the father and then came into the world. And now although He is leaving the Disciples, He is returning Home. And like He said before in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”. Where Jesus is about to go, Home; that is also where we will go one day, Home. If you are a Christian, then this is no longer your home. Our home is in Heaven with Jesus and Father God. I am soo looking forward to that day.

29 His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.”31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?

Jesus asks of them that day, and He asks of us as well. “Do you now believe?”

What Jesus did for them and did for us; and what Jesus said to them and effectively said to us, is what actually happened. These Gospel truths in the Bible are not made up fairy tales. Millions of people have died over the years because of these words that Jesus said. We frequently take light of God’s Word because we are not actively being persecuted. Jesus was God incarnate, He was God in the flesh. Jesus did in fact go before us to prepare a place for us and He sent the Counselor, the Holy Spirit to watch over us and guide us through this dark world until the day comes when we are reunited with Him once again.

32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

It wasn’t long after Jesus died that the Jews were in fact scattered. Just 40 years later the Roman army decimated Jerusalem. Over a million Jews were killed and 90,000 Jews were taken captive. The Jewish people were scattered throughout the earth just as Jesus prophesized in these verses. For the next 1900 years, the Jews would be denied the land that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They had the opportunity to be great, but because they chose not to recognize Jesus as Christ, they paid with their lives. We also as a nation, one day will pay a price I am sorry to say. But praise be to God, because my home in heaven is secure.

What follows now is the real Lord’s Prayer. What we frequently refer to the Lord’s Prayer is actually a suggestion or a pattern for prayer that Jesus gave us and we love so much. But this next whole chapter 17 that I will read is Jesus praying for the Disciples, and Jesus praying for you and me. So I invite you now to just listen and soak in the words of our Savior to His Father God for you and for me:

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Isn’t that a most beautiful prayer? So caring and thought provoking. Notice He didn’t plead for God to spare Him for what was to come. He could have removed Himself from the situation, but that is the whole reason He came in the first place; to die for our sin, so that we can be with Him in Heaven. Thank You Jesus.

With this last prayer, Jesus finishes His earthly ministry, and He prepared the Disciples for what was about to occur. In the next Chapter 18, Jesus is captured and it will kick off a string of events where Jesus will be crucified, raise from the grave, and then ascend into heaven.

Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to Him in the hours to come, but He did it anyway. It reminds me of a movie that Adeline and I recently watched at the movie house called Arrival. What a great movie; I think it was rated 8.5 out of 10. The basic theme was that some aliens visited our planet for the first time (let me clear the air and tell you I don’t believe in Aliens). Anyway, all the global powers that be were trying desperately to communicate with these aliens and everyone is in a panic. I am not going to give the movie away, but one dynamic that came out is the aliens didn’t live in linear time like we do. Instead time is like a place in a catalog that you can dial up and visit anytime. Wouldn’t that be cool!  Well I believe that God operates in a similar dynamic. The technical term is called omnipresence. Omnipresence is one of God’s characteristics of being present to all ranges of time and space. Just look at the prayer He just prayed, verse 5 says:

So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

This shows that Jesus always was. It is a hard concept to grasp for us, but it is true. This idea is also spelled out in Psalm 139:7 perhaps better than in any other passage: “Where can I go from Your Spirit; or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, You are there.  If I make my bed in death, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”

King David is painting a mental picture here that is all-encompassing: from east to west; from high to low, you cannot go anywhere where God is not!

Although God is, and God has always been God, and He is above time, and in all time space, yet He cared enough to be with us in person, so that we might also know Him personally. So we might choose to want to trust Him, to Love Him, and live for Him. I want to live for Jesus. I know He has a place prepared for me and I want to serve Him more and more daily, and my hope is that you do as well.

There is one other verse in Jesus’ prayer that I want to call your attention to. Chapter 17, verse 17, says: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  When you choose to follow Jesus Christ and become a Christian, for the rest of your lives we will undergo a refinement to become more Christ-like in character. That is sometimes referred to as Sanctification or the process of becoming sanctified. This verse here conveys a truth that I hope you can implant upon your head and your heart. God’s Word is the key for becoming more like Jesus. More in His Will, more in keeping with what Jesus would like you to become. The Bible is God’s Word, and if you want to become a better man, or if you want to become a better woman, or person, then reading and knowing and living out God’s Word is the key. And just like Jesus prayed, we need to pray. So with His Word, the Bible, and with Prayer we are equipped to take on anything.

Finally and before we go in to an alter call followed by the Lord’s Supper, I want to present to you that just like Jesus prayed for them that day, we are also instructed to pray for each other. That is one of the many valuable benefits of being a member of this church. When in the Bible it refers to ‘each other’ it for the most part means church members.

According to Pastor Rick Warren, over 50 times the phrase “one another” or “each other” is used in the New Testament. We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, sing to each other, submit to each other, and be devoted to each other. As members of this church, I want to encourage you to do that and I will endeavor to do the same for you. God loves you and He wants us to show that same love to one another.

The title of this message today is Yet I am not alone. That what Jesus said in our verses today, and that is what we can say as well. We are never alone if we have Jesus. So in love, and being that we are now moving into this wonderful Christmas Holy-day, I offer you the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ, the reason for the season, as your personal Savior and Lord.