Lessons from the Upper Room Part 4
In my previous post I traced the words of Jesus as recorded in John 13:33, where He said, “and as I said to the Jews”, back to their origin in John 8:21, which is the occasion where He is speaking with the Jewish authorities, to which He is referring. As we read the text of John 8, we can see that the authorities are having great difficulty in understanding what Jesus is saying about Himself.
Following the incident with the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus has just proclaimed Himself as the ‘light of the world’ and having done so, the authorities begin to question His self witness. However, they failed to identify Jesus with God, even though He told them “I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me”. Just think about that for a moment… just as in John 14, where Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life”, He uses the name God gave Himself to Moses, “I AM”… so too here He says “I am One”. Not only is there reference to the great “I AM”, but also to something else the Jews should not have missed… “Hear
this O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”. Jesus is here identifying Himself with God and as God, something He confirms again later in John 8:58 when He says to them “Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM”. And this time, I think they must have understood full well what He was saying, because they took up stones to throw at Him.
However, in the upper room it is evident that His disciples are having a similar problem. When He said, “where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterwards” Peter said to Him “Lord, why can I not follow You know? I will lay down my life for your sake.” Which lead Jesus to predict Peter’s denial. When He said, “where I go you know and the way you know”, Thomas said to Him “Lord we do not know where You are going and how can we know the way?” Which lead to Jesus declaring Himself again as the “I AM”, who is the way, the truth and the life. When He said to them “If you had known Me you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Which leads to Jesus spelling it out for them, and for us, when He said, “He who sees Me has seen the Father”.
As Jesus teaches His disciples, it becomes most evident to us that this teaching is of vital importance. Eternal life it seems, depends on it. John must have learned this imperative lesson right there in the upper room and recounts later in his gospel, that as Jesus prayed for Himself (John 17:3), He said “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Knowing God is eternal life. And how shall we know God? By knowing Jesus Christ. If we know Jesus Christ, we know the Father also. How? Because He and the Father are One. Through the humanity of Jesus, He is very man. Through His divinity, He is very God. And as He said to the Jews, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”.
Beloved, this is not a threat, as some would have it, this is a comfort… Let not your heart be trouble; you believe in God, believe also in Me”. This is not a message of exclusion, but of inclusion… that whosoever believe on Him, should not perish, but have eternal life. This should not be received as bad news, but as good news. It is the gospel of Christ… for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew fits and also for the Greek.
The scribes and the Pharisees were right when they said that God alone has the power to forgive sins, but they missed the point, that Jesus is He. Forgiveness of sins is man’s greatest need and therefore, in Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift. And the gospel is the message of the church, that God will forgive all your sins through Christ Jesus and faith in Him. For the righteous are justified by faith and we are each saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Only God has the power to forgive sins, He and He alone has the right to justify the sinner and declare the guilty innocent… and this is the wonder of the gospel and the uniqueness of Christianity. Jesus Christ is One with Father God. If you know Jesus, you know God and can know the forgiveness of sins… and this is eternal life, that you may know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent for your sake.
I pray that if you have not already done so, that you might come to confess Jesus Christ as Lord… that you may come to know the Father through the Son and inherit eternal life in Him… for
if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Praise Jesus