Jesus, knowing he would be arrested and crucified only hours from now, gathered his 12 disciples one last time. Stunned and confused by the news that he was leaving them, Jesus pressed home vital truths his beloved disciples would need to carry on without him. His final words to them are recorded only in John’s gospel, chapters 13 – 17.
Below is the second in a short series of teachings Jesus shared during their Last Gathering. (John 13-17)
Jesus lavishes love and promises
Five full chapters describe Jesus’ final conversation with His 12 disciples in the hours before His arrest and crucifixtion. Usually called “The Upper Room Discourse” (John 13-17), this teaching is considered a high point of the four gospels.
Jesus lavishes love and promise after promise on His closest disciples and all who would come after them. Then He seals it with a prayer to the Father to fulfill all the promises made. Moreover, He states that soon He will be seated at the right hand of the Father’s Heavenly throne. There He will intercede personally for His own until He sees them gathered around Him for eternity.
He tells them He is leaving, but goes to prepare a place for them. He will come again to get them and take them there with Him. However, until that day they won’t be left on their own, for He is sending another to them like Himself. The Holy Spirit, who will advocate, help and lead them into Truth.
The most common word in these five chapters is “love”. “Having loved His own, He loved them to the end.” In spite of themselves, or anything they did or ever will do, He loves them infinitely and always will. His love is unconditional and eternal.
Love is the dominant reality of the Christian life.
Jesus pours out promises of all He will do for them. These promises are active for all His disciples even now. He promises among other things: His indwelling Holy Spirit to teach and help; love and the capacity to love others; a home in Heaven; provision for all needs; spiritual fruitfulness; joy; victory during persecution, power to proclaim the gospel; answered prayer.
Finally, He prays in the disciples’ hearing for the Father to fulfill all His promises. All these things and more already belong to those who are truly His.