From Sorrow To Joy

Jesus continued preparing his friends for his impending execution (198).

“In a little while you will not see me anymore, but then a little while later you will see me again.” Some of his friends did not understand this at all.

But Jesus understood that his friends wanted to understand, so he said to them, “When I leave, you will be very sad, but the world will be glad.  However, your sadness will soon become gladness. This is what I mean:

“When a woman is about to give birth, she is sad because her hour of suffering has come.

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“But when the baby is born, she forgets her suffering, because she is happy that her baby has been born into the world.

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“In the same way, now you are sad, but when you see me again your hearts will be filled with joy, the kind of joy that no one can ever take away from you!

“When that day comes, you will no longer ask me for anything. God himself will give you whatever you ask him — in order for you to serve him like me.

“Until now you haven’t asked him for anything.  But soon you will ask for & receive from God whatever you need in order to serve him like me.

“This continuing, direct connection with God will make your joy complete.”

 

(198)  John 16:16-24

The Way: Truth & Choice

Then Jesus told his friends a little more about the work of the Holy Spirit in the world (197).

“I didn’t tell you these things before, because I was still here with you. But now it’s time for me to go back to God who sent me.

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“I know it’s not easy for you to ask me about this, because your hearts are full of sadness. But please believe this: it’s better for you that I leave you, so God’s Holy Spirit can come to you.  The Holy Spirit of God is powerful.

“When the Spirit comes, he will show people the truth about sin & righteousness & God’s judgment – which is basically this:

  • People sin against God by hanging on to their old independent self-lives.
  • People become right with God by letting go of those old lives & embracing the new life which I offer them.
  • And all people, including the ruler of this world, will be judged for the choices they make between the old life & the new life.

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“There is always much more for you to learn about God, but this is enough for now.  When the Spirit comes, he will reveal to you more & more truth about God.

“He won’t speak on his own authority; instead, he will give me glory by speaking to you what I tell him, all of which I have received from God.”

 

(197) John 16:4-15

The Way: Persecution & Help

Jesus taught his friends a little about how he would help them in the midst of persecution (196).

“When the world hates you, remember that the world hated me first. If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you. But I’ve called you to love God & to be separate from this world; that’s why the world hates you.

“Remember that I told you: ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ So if the world persecutes me, the world will definitely persecute you, too.

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“But, if people do the things I’ve taught, then people will do the things you teach, too, because you are connected to me!  They may not have known God, but through me they can know God, and through you they can know me.

“The people of this world would never have understood that they are guilty of their sins before God – unless I had taught them this, and unless I had done miracles among them.  But now, the people of this world can no longer plead ignorance of their guilt before God.

“Nevertheless, many people will still choose to love themselves & hate me.  And anyone who hates me hates God also! This simply fulfills what was written in the inspired scriptures: ‘They hated me for no reason at all.’

“In the midst of all this persecution, the Holy Spirit will help you bear fruit for God.  I will send the Spirit to you from God.  He will continue to teach you about me, so you can continue to teach others about me.  I chose you from the very beginning for this very purpose – to be my witnesses.

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“I have told you many things about God & his plan for you.   Remember everything I’ve taught you, and hold on to your faith in me — even though people of the world will persecute you because of your faith in me!

“They will expel you from the synagogues, and they will even kill you, thinking they are serving God! They’ll think that way because they do not really know God & they do not really know me.”

 

(196) John 15:18-16:3

The Way: The Main Thing

Repeating himself for emphasis, Jesus insisted on this particular point (195).

Love each other, in the same way that I love you.

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“You are my true friends.  I can’t call you students any longer, because a student doesn’t really know everything his master is doing.  Because I’m telling you everything God is doing, I can truly say that you are my true friends.

“Doing the things I’ve taught you is what will show the world that you are my friends.  For example, the greatest love you can ever experience is to give up your independent self-life for your friends.

“You didn’t choose to become my friends; I chose you.

“Now you’re being sent out to bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. For this purpose, God will give you whatever you ask for, just as he has done for me.

Just don’t forget this main thing: Love each other.”

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(195) John 15:12-17

The Way: How To Be Joyful

In the gardens on the Mount of Olives, Jesus continued teaching the eleven chosen witnesses (194).

“I am the true vine, the real vine, and God is the gardener. God breaks off every branch of mine that does not bear fruit.  And God trims every branch of mine that does bear fruit, so that it will be able to bear even more fruit. Now, you have been trimmed already by the things I have taught you, so you are definitely ready to bear much fruit.

“Stay connected to me, and I will stay connected to you. This is very important, because you know a branch can’t bear fruit by itself; it can only bear fruit if it stays connected to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you stay connected to me. As long as we stay connected, you will be able to bear much fruit.

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“But anyone who doesn’t stay connected to me will wither & die.  When that happens to branches, they are gathered up and thrown into the fire.

“If you stay connected to me & if you remember all that I’ve taught you, then you will receive whatever you ask for. God’s glory is revealed when you bear much fruit, so God will give you whatever will help you do that.

“I love you completely, the same way that God loves me.  I’m telling you this because I want you to experience the same joy in my love that I experience in God’s love.

The way you stay connected to my love & experience this joy is by doing the things I’ve told you. That’s exactly how I stay connected to God – by doing the things he has told me.”

 

(194) John 15:1-11

The Way: Powerful Peace

Then Judas (also known as Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus) asked Jesus a question (193). “Master, why will you reveal yourself to us & not to the world?”

Jesus continued: “Whoever loves me will do what I have taught. God will also love that person, and we will come to live with him.   Anyone who does not do what I have taught does not love me.  And remember, what I have taught has come directly from God.

“After I’ve gone, God’s Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need to know.  The Spirit will also help you remember everything I have taught you.

“I am giving you peace – not peace as the world understands it, but the peace of God.  This peace is so powerful that you won’t be worried & you won’t be afraid.  You will be bold!

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“Listen, you should be glad that I am returning to God, because there is nothing greater than being with God.  I’ve told you all this now, before it happens, so that, when it actually does happen, your faith will grow stronger.

“But, we can’t talk much longer now; the powers of this world are coming for me.  Although they have no power over me, God’s plan of redemption requires my submission to them at this time.  From my example of submission, you will understand that the way to show love for God is to do everything that God commands.”

Jesus concluded, “Come, let us leave this place.”  Then, after singing a song praising God, they left the upper room & went out to the gardens on the Mount of Olives.

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(193) Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, John 14:22-31

The Way: The Power Of The Spirit

Jesus began teaching the eleven remaining witnesses about the ministry of the Holy Spirit (192).

“The words that I have spoken to you don’t come from me. My words & my works come from the power of God, who lives in me.  Please believe the words that God is telling you through me, and please believe the works that God is doing through me.

“If you believe in me, God will work through you, too.  In fact, after I have returned to God, God will do even more works through you. In order to bring glory to God, I will cause to be done any works that you ask God to do through you.

“If you love me, do what I’ve taught you. To give you power do what you’ve been taught, I will ask God to send you the Holy Spirit.

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“The Spirit will stay with you always; he will always reveal to you the truth about God.

“The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit of God, because the world doesn’t know God.  But you already know God’s Holy Spirit, because he is always with you, and he is now living in you.  So when I have gone, you will not be left alone.  And then, at the right time, I will come back to you.

“Even though the world will not have any connection with me after I’ve gone, you will always be connected to me.  My life continues, so you will continue to have life in me, even after I’ve gone. When the day of my departure comes, you will realize that I am always in God. You will also realize that I am always in you, and that you are always in me.

“Actually doing the things I have taught you is how you will show your love for me.

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“God will love anyone who shows love for me by what they do.  In the same way, I will also love that person & reveal myself to him.”

 

(192) John 14:15-21