Jesus carefully prepared his followers for what they were about to experience. Just hours before his arrest, conviction, and crucifixion, he gave special instructions which are recorded in John 13-16. We spent five months looking carefully at the things that Jesus taught on that night. What we learned will benefit us now.
Jesus developed three important ideas as he instructed his followers that evening. His disciples would need the vital truth that Christ shared with them in order to have great victory in the face of many trials. These truths will serve us well, too.
First, Jesus repeatedly promised his followers that although he was leaving, he would surely return. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me,” he said. The Early Church lived in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return. Our spiritual vitality will be enhanced by that same anticipation.
Second, Jesus wanted his followers to understand that they could depend on the Presence and power of God’s Spirit in their lives. After Pentecost, when God’s Spirit was poured out on all Jesus’ followers, mighty and wonderful things happened. The same Spirit of power and wisdom inhabits God’s people today. By walking in the Spirit we can see God accomplish marvelous things in us and through us each year.
Finally, Jesus emphasized the importance of prayer in his followers’ lives. Jesus was opening up unprecedented access to God. In Old Testament days the worshiper was faced with walls, doors, priests, altars, and veils that stood between him and God’s personal Presence. In his name, Jesus’ followers could begin to speak directly to God and know that he hears and answers.
Consider this carefully. Never before had anyone prayed in Jesus’ name. Many of us were raised hearing prayers always offered in the name of Jesus. As children we were taught to pray in Jesus’ name. We may not fully appreciate what a great privilege it is to approach the throne of grace with confidence knowing that we will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Prayer is the key that enables us to understand God’s plan, which will climax with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Prayer also helps us to stay in step with God’s Spirit, living in the power and understanding of God’s personal Presence.
So, remember that Jesus is alive and he is coming back for you. Learn to lean on the power of God’s Spirit dwelling in you. And pray in Jesus’ name, knowing that God hears and answers you.
May God’s Holy Spirit do a mighty work in us and through us always,
Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR