When I was a teenager, my mom always had last minute instructions for me when she was leaving the house or when I was going out. She would remind me of tasks to complete, behaviors to maintain, and she would tell me she loved me. Standard operating procedure.
Leaving the ones we love can be hard. We want them to be okay. We want them to thrive. We want them to remember.
John’s Gospel spends several chapters on Jesus’ last words and instructions to His disciples. Beginning in chapter thirteen when He washed their feet and extending through His prayer in chapter 17, Jesus focused on those closest to Him.
His words to them are for us today as well.
In chapters 15 and 16, five verses begin with the words “These things” and speak to Jesus’ reasons for His instructions and reminders to His disciples. They are His wishes and His desires for His followers. All the instructions and commands He left them are so these things might be found in them.
These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11
These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:17
These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be offended. John 16:1
These things have I told you that when the time shall come, you may remember that I told you of them. John 16:4
These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
- Jesus wanted His disciples to have joy. Times would be hard when He was not walking with them in the flesh every day. His joy would still be available to them.
- Jesus wanted His followers to love one another. This was and is crucial. It was so important He used the word ‘command’ here.
- Jesus wanted believers to stand strong. Many trials and difficulties lay ahead. Offense would be easy, but He left the words they (and we) needed to make it through the persecution.
- Jesus wanted them to remember. He had warned them of false teachings and tribulations. They didn’t understand at the time, but He told them to remember His words when those difficulties arose.
- Jesus wanted His disciples to have peace. They would walk out into a world at opposition with God, but they knew the Victor. They could trust and rest in Him.
We continue to wait for Jesus’ return, and the world is not a kind or gentle place. This seems like a good time to look at our lives to see if Jesus’ instructions hold true for us.
- Joyful, rather than filled with despair; Joy that is not of this world
- Loving each other – in word and deed
- Standing strong in persecution, instead of wringing our hands
- Remembering Jesus’ words and instructions
- Walking with the peace of God through this world of chaos
I love to read through Jesus’ words and realize how applicable they are to my life today. He not only prepared His disciples; He left His words to prepare us, too.
We hear a lot of information that people today tell us is important, but you know what is really important?
John 14: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Several years ago, the pastors at our church taught a series of lessons on “these things”. That was my first recognition of the importance of these words in Jesus’ message. Now, the phrase ‘these things’ often comes to mind when difficulties arise in my life. I am thankful that Jesus provided preparation for ‘these things’.
Photo – Sunrise is Coming Maine, Beth Mims