Turn in your Bibles to our Scripture reading, the fourteenth chapter of John, reading verses 28 through 31, the end of the fourteenth chapter. John chapter 14, Jesus is speaking as we begin in verse 28, "You have heard how I have said unto you, I go away and come unto you. If ye love Me, you would rejoice because I said I go unto the Father, for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me, but that the world may know that I love the Father and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here." May God bless this reading to our hearts as we shall study it in a few moments.
Now let us look to the Word of God in John chapter 14. We are studying, of course, as you know, in the series in the book of John and this will be the final portion of this chapter, the comfort chapter, as Jesus closes out His comments on the area of comforting the disciples in view of His departure. And these last verses are very, very interesting and rather subtle. You could read them through several times and not really catch what He is saying here. But as you study it in more detail, it becomes more clear. And really these verses deal with what the cross means to Jesus, what His death means to Him, not to us on this side of the cross, not to the disciples on that side of the cross, but to Him, what Jesus death meant to Him.
Now as we look at the cross from this side, almost 2,000 years later, we know what Jesus' death meant to us. We are aware of that. We rejoice in His death. We joy in His death. His death is the key that unlocked all hope for us. His death provided forgiveness for sins, access to God, the righteousness of Christ became ours, God's judgment was staid and we became the object of His love and children of Him. We celebrate His death, we sing about it, we talk about it, we testify about it. We meet together around the Lord's table and we share in His death. It's a beautiful thing and a glorious thing to us. On this side of the cross we understand what His death means. We say with the Apostle Paul, "I preach Christ crucified." Paul, who also said, "I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Paul who also said at the end of Galatians in chapter 6, he said, "But God forbid that I should glory save in the death of Christ." And so this is the glory of the believer. We sing, "In the cross of Christ I glory." We sing, "I love that old cross, I'll cherish that old rugged cross." And so the cross to us on this side of it is beautiful, meaningful, rich, containing everything we hope for, everything that we long for, everything we put our trust in for in it Jesus Christ liberated us from the bondage of sin and set us free to commune with the living God. And so we're very clear as to what the cross means to us as we look at it two thousand years after it happened, and as we see it detailed in interpretation for us in the epistles and in the gospels of the New Testament.
But looking at it from the other side, think about these eleven disciples. They were looking at this cross from the prophecy side of it. Even though they were only a matter of hours away, it still hadn't happened. It still was not something they could comprehend. And these disciples were listening to Jesus talk who had said, "A corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die or it abideth alone." They had heard him say much earlier, "If the Son of Man be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself." They had heard Him say that, "If you destroy this temple, in three days I'll raise it again." He had repeatedly talked about His dying. He knew He had to go to Jerusalem. He set His face to go to Jerusalem because He was going to go there to die. He knew that He would be despised, rejected of men, and told them so much. And so they were looking at the cross from only the side of the words of Jesus and from absolutely no historical fact at all. They hadn't seen the cross yet. They hadn't seen anything about the cross. Their whole faith was a prophetic faith. Their whole faith was a believing that Christ was telling them the truth about the future because they had no history to verify it. And the Messiah had just come. The best they had to hinge their faith on were the miracles and the words of Jesus that He had done in His ministry. They had not the great dynamic events of Calvary and the resurrection and the ascension, they were still future.
And so they looked from the prophetic side of the cross to the cross and did not understand it and were confused. And all they knew really, at this point, was that their lives and their dreams and their hopes and their ambitions and their desires and everything they had, even their own physical bodies, had been placed into the service of this Jesus Christ and repeatedly now He was beginning to talk about dying and they didn't like the sound of it. They had loved Him and loved Him deeply enough to want Him. He had supplied their needs in every possible way. He supplied their physical needs, their psychological needs, their emotional needs, their need for love, their need for companionship, their need for wisdom, instruction, teaching. He supplied every need they had. He was everything to them, every resource for everything. And now when He began to talk about leaving, they reacted with shock, first of all, and then they reacted with fear, and then the anticipation of loneliness began to set in and they had kind of a premeditated loneliness while He was still there. And they couldn't imagine life without their beloved Master and Teacher.
And, you see, all they could see really in His dying was His leaving. They couldn't imagine what His death would mean to them. To them it appeared as though His death would only mean tragedy. On that side of the cross, they couldn't understand it and so they were left in deep despair and sorrow. And they begin to entertain doubts in their minds about whether or not Christ was really the Son of God, whether or not He really was the Messiah. They became confused. They wondered about His person. They wondered about His ministry. And they wondered about their own security and their own hope and whether or not they had perhaps been wrong all this time. And so with this kind of attitude in their minds, Jesus has spent from verse 1 through verse 27 giving them promises to comfort them. He has given them the richest legacy in existence. He comforted their troubled hearts with promises that are beyond imagination, promises that are super-human, supernatural, divine promises, like some dying father who gathers his beloved children about him and on his deathbed he speaks to them and tells them he is leaving them, he is going away but for them not to worry because it will be good for them really that he goes, it will allow them to begin to cultivate their own lives, their own independence, their own personality, develop their own characteristics, their own abilities. And he says, "Besides that, I've left full and permanent provision for each one of you children, you will be well taken care of." And then that Christian father passes away but before he leaves he may say this, "My children, beloved of my heart, I will see you all again in glory when we shall be together forever." And that's the hope of a Christian and certainly that was what Jesus was saying in John 14. He gave them all these promises and right in the middle of it all, He had told them, "I'll be back and we'll be together forever."
So Jesus, like that dying father, gathers His little flock about Him and He tells them how good it will be when He goes because they will have the power to do mighty works, because they will have the provision for their needs, because they will have a special helper, the Holy Spirit, who will dwell in them, they will have a new life that will waken them to the dimension of God. They will have a beautiful oneness with the Father and the Son. They will have the Spirit of God indwelling to teach them. They will have an abiding, permanent peace in their hearts. And He leaves them this legacy and it's all kind of culminated in the beginning of the chapter when He says, "And some day we'll be reunited forever because I'll come back to get you to take you where I am to dwell with Me in the Father's house." And so Jesus says to them, "It's better that I go, don't fear, don't be in despair, don't be in sorrow, it's going to be better for you now and soon I'll be back to take you where I am and you'll remain with Me forever."
Now I'm sure that when He gave them all these promises, and we've been studying them now for several weeks, that that kind of softened the blow a little bit. But faithlessness was still there to some degree and they were still showing evidence of being troubled. You say, "How do you know that?" Well, after all the promises, look at the end of verse 27. After 27 verses full of promises, what do you see at the end of verse 27? "Let not your heart keep being troubled, neither let it keep being afraid." In other words, after that, they were still in the same bag that they were in verse 1 of chapter 14. And the verbs there, the idea of stop being troubled, stop being afraid. They were continuing to be afraid even after all these promises. They were continuing to be despairing after all those promises. And so He has to repeat the very same thing that He says at verse 1 at the end of verse 27.
Now you say, "Well why would this be so? I mean, it seems to me with all of those promises that they wouldn't have still remained troubled and in despair and fear." Well have you ever met a Christian who was in fear of death? I've met an awful lot of them. Did you ever meet a Christian who didn't know how to claim all the promises Christ gave him? I've met a lot of those, too. Most Christians, in fact, don't.
Well they had a simple problem, really. Their problem, first of all, in the general sense, was that their faith was weak. But more than that, you know why they remained in despair? Simple, one word, selfishness. They were sorry because they were selfish. They loved Jesus' presence and they didn't want any substitute for that. They wanted Him around because He took care of them, He supplied their need, He fulfilled their love. He gave them everything they needed and they wanted to hold on to that. And so you, watch this now, they are looking at Christ's leaving purely from their own perspective. Don't go because we won't like it...see.
Many times when I go to a funeral of a Christian, I see this same kind of reaction. Frequently a Christian father dies and the children are heart broken and naturally so, and weeping and crying and oftentimes you hear Christians even saying, "Why, God? Why did You have to take our father?" And then you see this kind of continues, and this kind of attitude continues and you wonder whether or not they understand what's going on because, you see, if they really understood what was happening to that father, they would also understand that all their sorrow is purely selfish because what he's experiencing is absolutely total joy. He is fulfilled in the way that God designed him to be fulfilled in absolute perfection in the presence of God and Jesus Christ. And the moping around and the crying that continues on a protracted basis here is purely selfish for we should joy in what he's experiencing. Do you see what I'm driving at?
Now these disciples are in the same boat. They are exhibiting selfish sorrow. They think only of how Jesus' death affects them and the absence of the one they love only in their own perspective. And as I say, that's very much like many Christians. When death approaches their family and finally arrives, this is how they respond, in great sorrow, feeling really only what they feel and not being able to sense what the other individual who has died is experiencing...which should produce joy. And sometimes you'll see a funeral situation, someone will die and weeks later there's someone just crying and just carrying on and moping around and somebody will say, "Oh, it's because they loved them so much." And I always say, "I don't think so, I think it's because they didn't really love them enough."
You say, "What do you mean by that?" Love, Paul says, seeks not...what?...its own things. Love says it hurts, it's painful and I cry a while, but I rejoice in what you're experiencing because I know you're experiencing the things you were made to experience in the presence of God.
And so the disciples are kind of moping around brooding, stewing over their own dilemma as to how Christ's death is going affect them, selfishly showing their own despair, all based on their own little needs, and their own little problems and their own little desires and little thought for how Christ's death is going to affect Him. You see? And so Jesus hits the issue right at its heart. And He says, "Men, your lack of love is showing." Their love was rather superficial. It was a love based on need, not on the best welfare of the one they loved. That's the essence of the purest kind of love.
Look at verse 28, He says, "You have heard how I said unto you I go away and come unto you. If ye loved Me...what?...ye would rejoice. If your love was really all that it was cracked up to be, you would be rejoicing because of what this death is going to mean to Me." Have they even thought in their selfish preoccupation of what His death means to Him? I think you see what He's saying. When a Christian dies, sorrow is normal for a while. Tears are healthy. But when a person continues to cry in despair and continues to question God, he's guilty of a superficial love and a serious selfishness. And if we really loved that person as we say we do, we would rejoice because they're with God. True love always wants what's best for the object of its love. And if death is the best thing, and for a Christian it is the best thing, then it is satisfied with death. For example, in the famous poem entitled, "Go Down Death," it's not really a poem but it's entitled, "Go Down Death," and in it the author describes the death of an old black saint in these words. "She saw what we couldn't see, she saw old death, she saw old death coming like a falling star. But death didn't frighten Sister Caroline. He looked to her like a welcomed friend. She turned and whispered, 'I'm going home.' And she smiled and closed her eyes and death took her up like a little baby and held her in his icy arms but she didn't feel no chill. Then death began to ride again, out beyond the evening star, up beyond the morning star into that glittering light of glory and up into the great throne. And there death laid Sister Caroline on the loving breast of Jesus and Jesus took His own hand and wiped away her tears and smoothed the furrows from her brow and the angels sang a little song and Jesus rocked her in His arms and kept-a-saying, 'Take your rest, take your rest, take your rest. Weep not, weep not, she is not dead, she's resting in the arms of Jesus.'"
And certainly if we listen and really understand what God is saying to us about the death of a believer, if we really love that believer, their death is joyous for we see it for what it means to them, not for what it means to us. And that's what Jesus asks the eleven disciples to do right here. He's saying, in effect, if you can't get joy because of what this means to you, will you please look at it from what it means to Me?
What did it mean to Jesus? I want to show you four things that His death meant to Him that should cause those eleven men to rejoice. First of all, His person will be dignified. His truth will be documented. His foe will be defeated. His love will be demonstrated. And these are really thrilling and each one of them is loaded with truth. They are repeated in the New Testament. Each one of these four things are one of the four great characteristics of the work of Christ. In His work His person was dignified, His truth documented, His foe defeated and His love demonstrated. These are the joys of Jesus in dying.
First of all, His person will be dignified. Verse 28, the second part. "If ye loved Me ye would rejoice." Why? "Because I said I go unto the Father for My Father is greater than I." He says here you ought to rejoice in My death because it means I will finally be glorified. I will finally be dignified. I will finally receive the dignity that I deserve. And this is a reference to His exaltation. He was leaving the world. He was going to the Father. He had finished the work God gave Him to do. He was now going to go and receive the reward of the good pleasure of God. And He was to be eternally exalted.
Over in John 17 verse 4, Jesus said to the Father in this prayer in the garden, "I have glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." He wanted to be restored to that pristine glory that He knew prior to His humiliation. He says, verse 6, "I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest to Me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me and they have kept Thy Word. Now they have known that all things whatever Thou hast given Me are of Thee, for I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me, they have received them and have surely known that I came out from Thee and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them. I pray not for the world but for them whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine and all Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world but these are in the world and I come to Thee, holy Father."
In other words, Jesus says I'm going back to You. I'm going back to the full expression of My glory that I knew before I came here. And Jesus is saying in verse 28 of chapter 14, "Men, if you only know what this means to Me, it means I'm going to be restored to full glory again." The humiliation of Jesus when He came into this world as a human being and took upon Himself flesh was a bitter humiliation, it was hard. A sinless Son who deserved only the glories of the eternal God had suffered as a man, He suffered the hatred that other men gave Him, men whom He loved infinitely and undeservedly. And now He could sense that it was almost over and death meant that it would be done and the sooner He got to the death, the sooner He'd get to the glory that God had waiting for Him. And so He says, "Men, can't you joy with Me because I'm going to My Father and all this humiliation and hatred and abuse will be over and I'll be back in the place of glory where I was from all eternity."
I suppose we can weakly imagine how Christ felt, just to realize that He was in eternal glory. As John 1 says, "proston theon(??)" face-to-face with God. You can imagine Him face-to-face with God, and all that that implies, with an infinite love fellowship with the Father that we couldn't even understand or comprehend. And then all of a sudden to be separated from the Father, sent to earth, spit on, maligned, despised, hated, rejected, abused, finally nailed to a cross, made a laughing stock and in His heart He senses all this and He may feel the pain more and more bitter as He approaches the cross and He says it's good to be here with men, but, Father, I long to be with You. Ephesians 1:6, you remember, says that Jesus is the Father's beloved. It talks about us being accepted in the beloved one. The Son is the beloved of the Father. And so Jesus says, "Men, rejoice with Me, I'm going to My Father. I'm going to receive the glory I've waited for. I'm going to be back in the closeness of intimate fellowship with Him. All the attributes that I've set aside I can pick up again. All that has been restricted in My humiliation will be fully expressed in My glory. I'm going back to that glory again."
Notice at the end of verse 28 He says, "For My Father is greater than I." Now that verse has been the hew and cry of Unitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses and who knows what else, everything from soup to nuts religiously have jumped on that one and said that proves that Christ is inferior to God. It doesn't prove anything of the kind. If you read the rest of the Bible it indicates that He is. In the very same chapter, verse 7 says, "If you would have known Me, you would have known the Father." And then Philip says, "Show us the Father," and He says, "Take a look, you're staring in His face." Jesus repeatedly claimed equality with God. Over and over again He said, "I am God in human flesh. I am God come to this earth." And now you come to a verse like this and some people go completely bananas at this point and say, "Oh-oh, that shows that He's not equal to God."
Friends, that statement, "My Father is greater than I," is a present statement that Jesus made indicating that in Jesus' role as a humble servant, at that point the Father was greater than He for the Father was in glory and He was humiliated in the earth. But it was only a present statement which soon would be changed, that's the whole point. He's saying, "Rejoice because now in My situation as obedient to the Father, He is exercising authority over Me in the terms of position, He's in glory, I'm humiliated, in that sense He's greater than Me. But...He says...I'm going to My Father." In other words, "I'm going to end that and it's going to be equality again in the full expression of all My glory." He longed to be dignified with the Father whom He now served. Certainly He in His humiliating role as a servant had put Himself in a lesser place than God. While He was in the garden praying He said, "Let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not My will, but...what?...but Thine be done." In other words, He assumed the place beneath the Father as a servant and did the Father's will. And now He says yes, now I am a servant, the Father is greater than I but I'm going to the Father. I'm going to change that. I will cease the servant role. I will be lifted again to the glory that I knew and that is Mine by right of nature and essence. And in going to the Father the Son would certainly experience a vast improvement on His situation, the difference between His present humiliation and His coming exaltation. Sure, when He was on earth, when He was humbled and spit on and hated and abused, He was in the role of a servant and in that sense the Father was greater, not in the sense of essence. He's not talking about His nature. He's not talking about His deity. He's only talking about His role as servant.
And so He says, "If you only understand, men, I'm going to My Father and this humiliating role in the flesh is going to be over and I'm going to be able to be what I ought to be, be what I rightfully can be." Look at the cross from My standpoint. You see, they loved Jesus but they loved Him not with the clarity and understanding of a deep true love, a love that would have given them joy for Him, no matter what was going to happen to them. They should have been able to see in the cross the exaltation of Jesus Christ. But they didn't. They were too preoccupied with their own problems.
I think Paul had this in view, of course, when he wrote Philippians 2:5, listen to this, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God." That is, He thought it not something to hold on to and hang on to, His equality with God. "But made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man." In other words, He was there, He was equal with God. He was equal with God but He didn't think He had to hold on to that, He was willing to come down to earth. "Became a servant, was made in the likeness of man, being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." So Christ came, became a servant, and died. Then verse 9, Paul says this, "Wherefore," that is on the basis of what He did, "God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess...watch this...that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." In other words, just because He was humiliated, just because He's a servant doesn't mean that men are not to confess that He's Lord God also, in fact the opposite is true. When He was exalted to heaven, every knee is to bow before Him and indeed confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
So when somebody comes banging on your door and says, "Look with me at John 14:28," you can just unload. That's talking about His role as a servant, not His essence. And then you can take them to Philippians chapter 2 and you can say, "Brother, instead of talking like that, you better fall on your face prostrate before Christ for the Father has exalted Him and declared that your knee is to be bowed. He is Lord."
And so, Jesus Christ seeing the glory that awaits Him in heaven with the Father and the restoration of all that He knew as fully expressing Himself as God before His humiliation, as He sees that in anticipation, there's joy in the cross for Him. He'd come all the way down, all the way to a stinking stable, all the way to a life where He had no place to lay His head, suffering the hatred and abuse and the jeers and slurs of evil men, rejected by His own people, forsaken and mocked by the leaders, He was despised and rejected.
Somebody always comes along and says, "Well, you know, He didn't probably know that was going to happen when He came. He probably wasn't aware of it." My friends, if He ever read the book of Isaiah, you can read the whole account of the crucifixion. And if that doesn't suffice, read Psalm 22, those are old prophecies far earlier than Christ's birth and Christ could read the Old Testament. That was no problem. He wrote it. He knew exactly what was going to happen. Came anyway. It was a bitter cup but He was willing to drink it. In 2 Corinthians, I love that verse 8-9, listen to it, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich." In other words, He condescended to share His riches with us. In Hebrews there are several passages that come to my mind, Hebrews 2:9, we see Jesus who is made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, what happened after He had suffered death? "Crowned with glory and honor that He by the grace of God should test death for every man." Verse 17, "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, for in that He Himself had suffered being tempted, He is able to help them that are tempted." In other words, He became one of us, just that simple. Suffered what we suffered, went through what we went through, in order not only to redeem us but to be sympathetic with us. Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame." Now what was the joy? The joy wasn't the shame because He just despised the shame. What was the joy? This, "He has set down at the right hand of the throne of God," that's the joy. In other words, He was joy...He had joy in His heart because He knew that the result of the cross would be His glorification and He could go and be with the Father at His right hand. Hebrews chapter 5 perhaps also is a good passage on that.
So we see then that Jesus Christ had cause to rejoice in His cross because His person would be dignified, restored to the place of glory. The garb of loneliness was about to fall off of Him. And if we really and truly love Jesus Christ, there will no more be the thought, "Well, this is bad for us," but the thought of joy in our hearts for what it shall mean to Christ, the thought sweet to us that our Savior, our brother, our friend will be restored to glory set on high at the right hand of the Father for all eternity and that every knee shall bow to Him who is Lord. And so His person will be dignified.
If that's not enough, He says to the disciples, secondly, "You should have joy in My death because My truth is documented." His truth is about to be documented. Now Jesus had made many claims to the disciples. You know that. He had said many things about who He was to them. And they were really having a little difficult time believing it all. They wanted to believe it. I think they did believe it in a sense, but very easily doubt would creep in and kind of rattle them a little bit. They had their doubts. They believed He was Messiah. They believed He was the Son of God, the balance of belief. But they had unbelief. "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief," that kind of thing. And they had a difficult time fighting off the doubts about who He really was. So Jesus had devised a way in which to nail down and secure their faith and that was this...to predict events and then wait till they all came to pass and when they all came to pass the disciples would say, "Oh yeah, that's right, that's what He said. Look." See, and one after the other these events came to pass and every one of them was like a great big railroad stake that was just driven into their faith and just rooted them in the ground. And by the time the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, those eleven guys and the addition of Mathias, twelve, exploded all over the world. They were nailed down, why? Because Christ predicted things that would happen and one by one they came to pass and everyone of them was like a spike driving into their faith, nailing it solidly to a foundation.
Now notice that in verse 29, "And now I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass...what?...ye might do...what?...believe." In other words, "Men, I've been telling you all these details, I realize you haven't got a grip on all of them now, but, man, when these things start happening, you will believe." I personally believe and I think this is a fair statement, th at the greatest proof of the truth of the words of God are fulfilled prophecies. I believe that prophecy carries the weight of proof for the Word of God farther than any other element of Scripture. Fulfilled prophecies are a little difficult to argue with when you see it happen. In fact, I was talking to a guy not too long ago from a seminary where they're not too sure there is such a thing as prophecy and he was saying to me that Israel had no place in the plan of God and so I began to talk with him about the fact that Israel was being regathered and placed in the land. And I said, "What does your theology do with that?" He said, "It wiggles a lot." He said, "Frankly, I don't know what to do with that." Prophecy is a devastating verification of the words of God and Jesus said, "I'm going to die," and Jesus said, "I'm going to rise again." And Jesus repeatedly told them all these details and when they started happening one by one by one by one, their faith became secure.
Now He says to them, "I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass you might believe." Believe what? Now I want to show you another verse, 13:19, here He says the same thing. He has just told them about the betrayal of Judas. Now don't you know that He told them that Judas was going to betray them for a reason? Why? Watch it, verse 19, "I tell you before it come that you might hate Judas," right? No, "That when it is come to pass ye may...what's the next word?...believe." You can imagine what happened when those disciples were standing in that garden, especially Peter, and Judas walked up and kissed Jesus and the soldiers grabbed Him. Can't you imagine the gong that went off in their heads right back to John chapter 13 the night in the upper room? Oh, He said it would happen. Mine own familiar friend lifted up his heel against Me. And it happened, that was the first in a chain of prophetic things that came to pass.
Now notice at the end of verse 19 it says, "That you may believe," now watch this, "that I am...period." The "He" is added and it doesn't need to be. What did He want them to believe? That what? "That I am." That I am whom? God, that's God's name, isn't it? I am. He says I want you to believe that I am, that is that I'm God. I want you to believe in My messiahship and my deity, so I've given you these prophecies and when they come to pass one by one from the traitor-ship of Judas to the coming of the Spirit of God on Pentecost and everything in between your faith will be solid. You'll believe. And so the prophecies and the promises would nail down their faith.
He told them He was going to send a helper. Can't you imagine what their reaction was o the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them? And they all said the Helper came just like He said. And that was the last in a long-line of fulfilled prophecies and promises. And He told them, "I'll give you peace." And can't you imagine when that peace flooded their hearts again on the day of Pentecost they said, "He said He'd give us peace...He said He'd give His peace." And later on when Peter and John were out there preaching, instead of being cowards they told them to shut up and Peter and John said, "You tell us whether we ought to obey you or God?" You have to have peace to act like that. And one by one the prophecies came to pass and with every one of them another stake was driven into their minds and their hearts and they trusted all the more.
You see, the prophecies that Jesus Christ gave were given to document His truth that He was God. Only God can foretell the future. Jesus designed to tell them things they couldn't understand that when they came to pass their faith would be strong. Isn't that a beautiful thing? Because, you see, that meant that Christ wanted to leave all the sooner because the sooner He got out of there, the sooner their faith would be strengthened. Some people might say, "Well why didn't He stick around and keep on talking and keep on talking?" Listen, He had said all you could say. Verse 30, "Hereafter I will not...what?...talk much with you." The talk has gone far enough, men, now I want to get out of here so all these things can start happening and really nail down your faith. He said He would die lifted up on a cross and He did. He said He would rise and He did. He said He would ascend to the Father and He did. He said the Spirit would come and He did. He said that I will supply life and they got it. He promised them a supernatural union and they experienced it. He promised them a teacher living in them and they received it. He promised them peace and they knew it. And right on down the line, every detail came to pass. And their faith was as solid as a rock. And every prophecy and every promise was fulfilled to the very letter. His words were thus documented and His faith and their faith cemented. So, you see, Christ knows that if the message is going to be guaranteed, if anything is going to happen, He must believe to let this begin to take place. So rather than stay around and talk some more, He wants it to happen. So He knows the message must go forth when He leaves. He knows these men are holding in their hands the truth of God and if they blow it, it's blown. They must carry the message. And the only way they're going to carry it is if they're strong and they're going to have to fire right into the full blast of Satan's fire. They're going to have to go right at it, head strong, right straight into the teeth of the gale and carry the message and in order to do that, they're going to have to have faith that is as solid as a rock. And the only way you'll ever have that faith is to see these events that were foretold and promised come to pass one by one, nailing down their faith.
And so, Jesus says at the beginning of verse 30, no more talk, fellows, action, for action alone is going to settle your confident trust in Me. What's He saying here? He's saying, "Men, if you really loved Me and you really wanted the world to hear My gospel, then you'd rejoice because I'm leaving because when I leave you'll be made strong and then My gospel will go out. Quit looking at yourself, men, and look at it from My standpoint. When I go, the truth is going to be documented in your lives, you're going to move out with the gospel all the faster to the world. The longer I stay, the longer it's postponed."
They should be rejoicing then because His person will be dignified and His truth will be documented. It will make them strong and they'll carry the message to the world. And they did it. The third thing that made Him rejoice in His cross, His foe will be defeated. And this is...there's so much here, we'll just...I hate to do it...but briefly look at it. You remember now, when Jesus came to earth it was to redeem men back to God. Man had fallen in Adam and fallen out of fellowship with God, out of communion with God, out of the life of God, moved away from the knowledge of God. He was separated from God. And so Christ came to bring back fallen man to God. Now in order to do that, He had to enter into direct conflict with Satan and He had to defeat Satan totally to bring man to God. And that is what He talks about in verse 30, notice it after the first statement. He says, "For the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me."
Now what is going on here? Just watch this. The prince of this world, who is that? That's Satan. This is Satan's domain. He says, "Satan is coming." And don't you think that in the back of His mind He was sensing the movement of Satan? I believe He may have even sensed Satan's movement at that moment as He was already indwelling Judas and pushing Judas into the garden to begin to activate the very betrayal itself. He could sense Satan coming to take Him. He was saying, in essence, I'm finally get at it, I'm going right now into the dread death battle conflict with the devil.
Now Christ had battled Satan all through His humiliation. Satan tried to kill Him from the start to the end. You remember when He was a baby, what did Satan do? He had Herod make a decree to kill all the children, the male children, right? And tried to get Him that way. The Bible doesn't tell us about what happened through His life, but you can believe that Satan never let up for the thirty years that we don't know anything. And then when Christ began His ministry, Satan immediately took Him up into the wilderness right after His baptism, took Him up on those high mountains in that bleak country and tempted Him and tried to shoot Him down at that point, and tried to get Him to bow down to him and failed. And then through His life of ministry, those three years, he tried everything he could do, he continually confronted Him with hate, with people who tried to kill Him. He confronted Him with demons who tried to stop His work, demons which Jesus had to constantly cast out. He confronted Him with blinded men who couldn't see the truth. And Paul tells us the god of this world has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them. He blinded men, he threw demons in the way of Jesus. He threw men in His way who tried to kill Him. He tried everything he could do to stop Jesus and Jesus had been in a lifelong conflict with the devil from the day He got here until this day, the night before His death. And finally in His death that conflict would be resolved. And, friends, that has been going on since the fall of Lucifer eons of time before, since Lucifer was booted out of heaven, you can read about it in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, since he was booted out of heaven he had been in conflict with God throughout the ages of eternity and time. And now all of that ages and ages and eternity of time had come to this one moment when Christ would enter into the absolute final conflict with the devil that would decide the ultimate victory. He was tired of fighting Satan. He was tired of the struggle against evil. He was sick of hassling with the demons. He was ready to act. He was always looking for the victory over Satan. Back in chapter 12 verse 31, Jesus looking forward to His cross said this, listen to it, "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out." And verse 33 says, "This He said signifying what death He should die."
In other words, He was looking forward to getting to Satan. In chapter 16 and verse 11 He said, "Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged." As He went to the cross He was thinking of the cross as the final blow to wipe Satan out in terms of his power. Satan was to be defeated. And I believe Jesus could sense Satan's moving in for the kill. And I'll never forget the words in Luke chapter 22 when Jesus was in the garden and the soldiers finally arrived, Luke 22, listen to this, 52 says this, "Then Jesus said unto the chief priests and captains of the temple and the elders who were come to Him, 'Are you come out as against a thief with swords and clubs?'" Is that how you come after Me? "When I was daily with you in the temple you stretched forth no hands against Me." Listen to this, "But this is your hour...now watch this one...and the power of darkness."
Oh, you know what He was saying? He says this is the hour for My judgment on you and on the power of darkness. Who is the power of darkness? Satan. He looked at the cross in the light of conflict with Satan. Satan as Genesis 3 has said, had bruised His heel and now He was about to bruise Satan's head. Hebrews 2:14, listen to this, "For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood...listen...He, Christ, also Himself likewise took part of the same, became flesh and blood, a man." Why? "That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." You know, He looked at death as the destruction of the devil. In 1 John 3 and verse 8, listen to this, "He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth form the beginning, for this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil." Jesus looked at His cross as a conflict with Satan. And He defeated him at the cross, He gave him a death blow.
You say, "He's still running around." Yeah, but he's stunned and he's going to...the whole thing will come to an end, Revelation tells us. Ultimately in chapter 20 verse 10 he'll be cast into the Lake of Fire, the final sentencing. He's already been wiped out and in your life, my friends, he has no power unless you give it to him. He's been stunned. He's been rendered helpless. The blow was fired. It's all over with, the prisoner of Christ, and shall be cast into hell.
And so Jesus says to His disciples, "Can you look at the cross from My side for a minute? I'm tired of battling Satan. I'm tired of being beaten and buffeted by him. I'm tired of this endless conflict. I'm sick of that cursed cursing rebel. And finally when I go to that cross I'm going to enter into conflict with Satan and I'm going to destroy him. And that should be cause for joy. Do you see the cross from My standpoint? Your sorrowing and moping around cause I'm leaving. Listen, boy, I'm going in there to defeat that enemy for eons and eons has troubled us." Can't you imagine He was excited to realize that all the moves of Satan to get Him were only to set up His final destructive blow at Satan?
Then I what it says at the end of that verse. It says, "The prince of this world cometh," and is ki, let's translate it "but." "The prince of this world cometh but hath nothing in Me." Boy, is that important? What does it mean? It just means this, Satan had nothing on Christ for which to condemn Him. He's coming to get Me but he hasn't got anything on Me. Now the Bible says, " The wages of sin is...what?...death." Did Christ sin? No, could He sin? No. He didn't and He couldn't. Satan had nothing on Him, no vulnerable spot, no weakness, no place where Satan could make accusation at all. Christ could not sin. Satan had nothing against Him. Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with our feelings of infirmity, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin." He was absolute total sinless. Verse 26 of Hebrews 7, "For such a high priest was fitting, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens." He could not sin. He did not sin. And Satan had nothing on Him. He had no right to kill Him. So Satan enters into a conflict and he has really no vulnerable spot on Christ and Satan in this conflict will be destroyed.
Can't you see how this would be in the mind of Christ? And so He says you disciples should rejoice not only because Christ will be dignified, because His truth will be documented, but because His foe will finally be defeated. And even though the foe has nothing on Jesus, He's going to go into the conflict. That brings us to the last point.
Fourthly, He says we should rejoice because His love will be demonstrated. Listen to this now, are you ready for this? The end of verse 30 says, "Satan has nothing on Me," right? If Satan had nothing for which to kill Christ, if He had done nothing to deserve death, then why doesn't Jesus stop Satan from slaying Him? The answer is He wants to demonstrate His love, verse 31, "But...why are You dying, Jesus. I mean, if Satan's got nothing on You?...but, here's why, that the world may know that I love...whom?...the Father." Did you see that? You might think that it would say that I love the people and I'm dying for them. No, no. In this He is portraying Himself in the role of servant obedient to God. So He says I'm doing it, not because I deserve it but because God designed it, because that's God's plan and I am going to show the world that I love the Father and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. I am going to show the world that I love the Father, that I obey the Father. Oh, that's so beautiful. Here Christ...certainly Christ died for us. He loved us. But here He's emphasizing His love for the Father, over against the phony love of the so-called religious leaders going around saying, "Well, we love God," and they obviously didn't love God because what's the test of love? Obedience, and they never obeyed at all. And Jesus has said three times the test of love is obedience, 14:15, 14:21 and 14:23, and now He says, "I will show you living proof that love is tested by obedience. I am going to die not because I deserve it, I don't. But because the Father designed it that way and I am submitting myself to the will of the Father, whatever the cost." God designed the redemptive plan to bring man back from sin and Jesus said, "I'm going to die because that's the way the Father wants it."
What a beautiful, beautiful picture of the submission of Jesus Christ. He said, "O My Father, let it be...if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Living proof of His love. He loved the Father so much and He was going to prove His love by dying a death He didn't deserve, but one the Father had designed to redeem men.
So the disciples should rejoice in His death for it allows Him to show His father how much He loves Him, and it allows Him to prove to the world that He loves the Father, even though the world would never admit it. The Pharisees who were always going around saying they loved God and constantly disobeyed, were liars. Jesus was truly obedient to the Father.
A little footnote. This is the only time in the New Testament that Jesus ever spoke of His love for the Father as such. But He spoke of His obedience to the Father repeatedly and latent in everyone of those passages where He speaks about obedience is love. But here He specifically talks of His love for the Father, the supreme act of His love to allow Satan who has nothing on Him at all to kill Him just because it is the Father's will.
How does that measure up to your obedience? Would you give your life if that's what God asked? How far would you go in obedience? That will determine how much you love Him. We talk about loving God, we sing about how we love Him. How far does our love take us? To the person next door? Where does it take us? Measure your love by your obedience. How much we're like those eleven, always selfishly thinking about ourselves, always wanting what we need, always worrying about our own problems, never really able to glory in the glories of the Savior. Our prayers are full of asking and void of thanks. We beg and don't praise. Maybe we can catch a little of what Jesus is saying here. Let's start looking at things as they effect Christ, not us, selflessly. We might pray, "God cure us of ourselves that we may see everything in the light of what it means to Jesus Christ."
So Jesus presents four causes for joy in His departure. They have nothing to do with us, only to do with Him. When you look at those four, no wonder the Bible says He endured the cross, despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him.
Father, thanks for teaching us this morning again these truths. Help us to see in everything that we experience not so much how it affects us but how it affects our blessed Christ. May that be the measure of everything we say, everything we do that we are totally obedient to the Father and totally concerned with how it affects Christ. May we not be selfish but selfless. This we pray because of Christ. Amen.
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