25 January 2010

John 16 - I have overcome the world

< John 15 | Index | John 17 >

In John 16 Yahshua explains further to his puzzled and anxious disciples, and he does so very plainly so that by the end of the chapter they are beginning to understand something of what he is saying. Trouble in this worldIt must have been hard for him and for them.

Hard for him because he was living in a human body with a human mind, and just as he longed to avoid the death that lay ahead of him (much as you or I would have done) perhaps he also had some lingering anxiety that even at this late stage the disciples just weren't getting their heads around what was happening and might not be able to continue after he was gone.

In the first case he prayed that, if possible, the cup might be taken away, that another way than a cruel death might be found. 'Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done, Father.' (Luke 22:42) In the second case he would have been in the same place we are sometimes - knowing what Father has told us will happen but not seeing it beginning yet and knowing that time is running out. Have you ever felt like that? I know I have. We need faith in those situations and so, I imagine, did the earthbound Son of the Most High.

Hard for them because he was telling them what logically could not be. Surely he doesn't mean... death? That's obviously wrong, what would we do if he was no longer here with us? Of course, they couldn't imagine having the Cousellor Spirit within them, they had no real idea what that meant. They didn't know whether to prevent him doing what he plannned, or whether to just give up and go home (It's all finished guys, the dream's over. For a while it seemed that he really was the Messiah but it was just wishful thinking on our part.) Later they tried both courses of action as we shall see in chapters 18 and 21.

The real difference between Yahshua and the disciples (or between Yahshua and us) is that his trust in his Father doesn't reach breaking point, whereas ours does. He knew the heart of the Father, he knew it was impossible that mere circumstances would get in the way of ultimate victory. And that, perhaps, is why his feeling of abandonment on the cross was so deep, so severe, 'Eloi, Eloi, why have you forsaken me?'. At that point he really was defeated, alone, lost, without hope. But his Father was not defeated and we all know what happened three days later!

Here in John 16 it's clear that Yahshua understood very clearly that he was going to die but that he would be returning for a little while (verse 16) before finally leaving again to be with the Father. And events proved him right. So it's hard for us to understand the abandonment, the forsakeness. Perhaps he was expecting even this but once the link with the Father was severed it was more than he could bear. Perhaps this loss of oneness with the Father was the true price of sin, paid in full on our behalf.

Did you notice the shallow basis for the disciples' faith in verse 30? They believed that he came from the Almighty because they wanted to ask a question and he knew what it was before it was asked! Like them, our faith wavers and is unsure, but then rises high again because of some minor circumstance. Our faith sometimes depends on 'evidence'. What we (and they) forget is that true faith is the evidence of things unseen. The true basis for faith is trust, not evidence!

In this chapter Yahshua shares the events of the coming weeks so that when these things happen, the disciples will remember that he told them. What they don't understand now, they will understand soon. 'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' (verse 33)

< John 15 | Index | John 17 >

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