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the Last Supper: 'I go to the Father who is greater than
I; the Holy Spirit shall teach all things'.
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Volume 1, Study 7
Jesus said 'If a man love me, he will keep my words. My peace I leave with you. Let not your heart be troubled.' Jesus speaks (giving information and promises to the apostles) during the Last Supper. They will experience much in the coming days that will shake them to their core; i.e. the core of each apostle established in Christ through sufficient time with him. To repeat: The following words are information and promises. Jesus’ words shall abide in the apostles because -
22-24) Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love [i.e. agape] me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. [For] He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear [of me] is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
This passage is entirely wrapped up in the ongoing distinction between the things of God and God’s kingdom and the things of the kingdoms of this world. This is ‘why thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world’.
Jesus belongs to the Father. The apostles belong to the Father. Jesus’ words to the apostles belong to the Father. Even as Jesus and the Father keep the apostles, so the apostles ‘keep’ the ‘words’ and ‘sayings’ of Jesus and the Father.
There are many other things, but here Jesus is informing and promising about ‘keeping’ and about ‘words and sayings’…in as much as these are distinguished from the ‘world’ and from the world’s knowledge and promises and words and sayings.
(Yet, the world and its kingdoms belong to Christ Jesus, absolutely committed unto him by the Father…though he has not yet taken possession: see Volume 1, Study 6.)
25-26) These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
The words just spoken (and all the preceding words spoken during the Supper) are paramount. Paramount also is the ‘Comforter’, the Advocate ‘which is the Holy Ghost’. Dear reader, please note that the Holy Ghost is sent especially (and I suggest: entirely) regarding Christ and the Purpose within his work for the Father. This was true before Christ came as the man Jesus and of course it continues in Jesus Christ.
Regarding a person or a group when truly used of God (once, or from time to time, or often) I suggest that the Holy Ghost might well be working and energizing during the process. And if so, then the work is only as God sees fit and only within the limits of the Purpose of the work that is being energized.
There are too many things worked by Christians and church members that are claimed to be workings “of the Holy Ghost”, which instead are really workings by well meaning men and women in human effort.
On the other hand, as we study scripture, we see exactly the affects of the Holy Ghost. Passages containing ‘Holy Ghost’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ demonstrate expressly what Jesus is saying here in this passage to the apostles.
The very Purpose of Christ (and for which Christ Jesus was sent from the Father) is the express Purpose for which the Holy Ghost is sent from the Father. And only in that Purpose does the Holy Ghost operate. This was true before Christ came as the man Jesus and of course it continues in Jesus Christ, in that ‘the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name’.
The Church (in its many splintered parts and factions) has errantly assumed that Paul presents the Holy Ghost as primarily “working during a meeting”, which of course was set up according to “our agendas and/or programs”, or at such time that we decide to “witness for Jesus”, etc. We assume, indeed we claim, that the Spirit is “here and working” even though a newcomer might only observe a normal church meeting or observe a normal Sunday school class, etc. Some such meetings might be calm and orderly, while meetings of other Christians might be quite the opposite. These are determined by the particular concept of church or group in how they define “the Holy Spirit is with us”.
Therefore, dear reader, perhaps you might read again 25-26 where Jesus was speaking, ‘being yet with’ them, to the apostles. For they knew when Jesus was with them and they very well knew when the Holy Ghost came to work in and around them, of which we read in scripture as they clearly wrote of those times. Today, how often does our claim of “the Holy Spirit is working” match up to those Bible passages?
27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus’ words are owned by the Father. This ‘peace’, however, is Jesus’ peace given to him by the Father; and he is giving it to the apostles. Just as the words spoken by Jesus are not of this world, neither is this ‘peace’ of this world. The distinction between the things of this world and the things of the kingdom of God continues.
Because Jesus is giving his ‘peace’, he instructs (or commands) the apostles to function within his ‘peace’, and not to allow their oft-fluttering hearts to become troubled to the point that they might slip out of his ‘peace’.
In other words, IF each apostle would not allow such fear to take control, then the ‘peace’ given by Jesus to him would be in control. However, in the days following (though each apostle owned this ‘peace’) each apostle allowed fear (which was natural to their circumstance) to rule their actions. After the Resurrection, their fears abated somewhat; yet, it was when the Holy Ghost arrived to them that they could remember and be encouraged (i.e. ‘comforted’). Indeed, from that time onward they would function mostly within this ‘peace’. Consider the life of Paul in scripture: we see him walking in this ‘peace’, which was with him nearly all of the time.
In my book, God’s Hook, the same concept is proposed regarding ‘faith’. If a Christian will allow the faith of the Bible (given of God to him or her) to operate freely in a particular circumstance, then in that circumstance he or she will be operating in faith (as faith is meant to operate); and therefore he or she will be acting as ‘pleasing before God’ (see Hebrews 11:6).
28) Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
‘I go away, and come again unto you’: This continues to demonstrate the distinction between the world where the apostles walk and work within the continuing Purpose of Jesus and places outside this world where Jesus continues his work.
‘If ye loved [i.e. agaped] me’ demonstrates that the apostles do not yet ‘agape’ Jesus. The best indication of the meaning of the word ‘agape’ is John 3:16 ‘For God so loved [agaped] the world, that he GAVE his only begotten son…’ In John 3:16, to ‘agape’ is to give oneself unto another…even as God gave His son, as Jesus gave his life, as Moses gave Isaac upon the altar, as a father and a mother would give their lives for their children, as a man is called by God to give his life as a covering for his wife and children, as a woman is called to under-gird her husband… … This, in fact, is agape. Now return to verses 22-24 and read them again with this concept of ‘giving of oneself’ in mind.
I trust, dear reader, that you see that such giving is the giving of the soul in purpose for others. It may be a giving of soul unto one person, or unto several persons, or unto God and His Purpose in sending His son. Indeed, it is this latter Purpose which has entirely captured the apostles. It is the Purpose of their ongoing lives.
The apostles did not know how much ‘ye would rejoice’. Dear reader, how much do we not know of future rejoicing? Regarding which, if we only knew “we would rejoice”? I believe that all the books of men could not contain all of the Promises that will engender in us such rejoicing. Ah, but if we knew just a smidgen of it then our joy would perhaps consume us.
And if the Father is greater than our Lord Jesus Christ…then how truly Great is the Father? Truly, I do not know!
29) And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe [i.e. the action of Biblical faith].
The word ‘believe’ is the verb or action of the Greek word for ‘faith’ or ‘belief’. The word can be used for a person’s mental believing of something, or for his Biblical believing of something…which are two different things.
Indeed, the ‘peace’ given of Jesus to the apostles shall not keep them from being troubled in the upcoming days. Ah, but the faith that ‘ye might believe’ shall sustain them even as their fear fearfully shakes them.
My book, God’s Hook, is 350 pages dealing with this subject, Biblical faith, because so many members of the Church have so many differing concepts of it and claims about it. God’s Hook is mostly made up of Bible stories of men and women amidst God’s dealings with them…told in such a manner as to emphasize faith and faith’s actions during such dealings. The book begins with Rahab the harlot and ends with Mary the mother of Jesus. Between their stories the reader will find Peter walking on a stormy sea, Gideon destroying an altar to Baal, the prophet Balaam in his misguided attempts to oppose God’s purpose in raising up Israel to conquer the land. Also there are chapters on Jacob and Caleb (two chapters to each man) and the birth of baby Jesus (though not told as a Christmas story). These Bible stories reveal Biblical faith through portraits of God working individually among individuals.
30) Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Continued is the distinction, and here it is between the Prince of the kingdom of heaven and the prince of the kingdoms ‘of this world’. Jesus’ time with his disciples (now they are apostles) has drawn to a close. There will be a special time for Jesus to be with them after the Resurrection, but soon after the Holy Ghost will come to be an ever present advocate with them toward the Father, even as Jesus Christ is an advocate with the Father toward them.
In this passage, Jesus yet abides in ‘this world’ and is entering a very difficult task for the Father. Christ (as the man Jesus, in his low and weak human form) is yet in the domain presently ruled by ‘the prince of this world’…who is approaching toward Jesus to hopefully derail the Purpose of the heavenly Father.
Ah, but here is the good news: ‘the prince of this world’ (presently ruling in this world-domain) ‘hath nothing in’ Jesus (i.e. authority, etc.) with which to affect Jesus’ mission. Yes, ‘the prince of this world’ can do a lot of damage (as he did in torturing Jesus’ body), but he could not negatively affect the mission. Actually, Satan did perform his work upon Jesus, as it was scheduled for him in God’s Plan of the Ages, even as the Plan of the Ages never skipped a beat.
And this is good news for the child of God who walks before the Father humbly and lowly in doing his or her little part in the Plan. If ‘the prince of this world’ approaches the child of God (and if the Father allows it) Satan can do much damage, but it would only be within what is allowable, and would be within the actual Purpose of the child’s walk before the Father. The Holy Ghost was Jesus’ helper in his walk. The same Holy Ghost has been sent in Jesus’ name for the same Purpose to the child of God who walks in the same Purpose.
31) But that the world may know that I love [agape] the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
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- C. Ronald Johnson at Christian Wilderness Press -