“I Guarded Them”

12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold. – John 17:12 NLT

Protection

Even though we call the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, it is really an example of how we should pray. This prayer in John 17 is the Lord’s priestly intercessory prayer for all of God’s children. The ones that God had given Jesus to accompany Him on His earthly journey and all the others from then on including you and me. God had given them and us to Jesus because of His obedience. They would now bring glory to Jesus and to God. Jesus protected them by using the name of the Father and now that He is leaving, He is putting them and us in the hands of God to protect us by the power of His name. Once we accept Jesus and become the children of God, we are in His hands for safekeeping. There is nothing or no one that is more powerful than our God, There is no way we can be taken from His hands. Paul tells us “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love”

Nothing Can Separate Us 

We have God living in us, we have God praying for us and we have God keeping us. What more could we possibly need? Knowing this should cause us to be faithful and fearless in our witnessing for Jesus.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Because I Have Overcome the World”

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Take Heart 

​As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world.

4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)

​How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And I Will Tell You Plainly”

25 “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. – John 16:25 NLT

John 16:25-28 – NLT

When Jesus said that He had been speaking in figures of speech, He was referring to the parables He had used to explain things to the disciples and His followers.

13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while​ ​seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they​ ​understand​—Matt. 13:13 (NASB)

For the rest of His time on earth before the Crucifixion, He would only be teaching His disciples so He could now speak plainly to them. Jesus is starting here with an explanation that from now on, they (and now we) have to do the praying (led by and assisted by the Holy Spirit which He is sending). This is all based on the love of God for His children. God’s children are those who believe and love His Son, Jesus Christ. If we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, God will give us whatever we ask in the name of Jesus. Now, we know that Jesus is in heaven interceding for us and the Holy Spirit prays through us and for us. This isn’t “pie in the sky” or “get rich quick” praying, this is agreeing with what God Himself (after all, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God) is praying for us. This is down on our knees, heartfelt, fervent “get me through today” prayer. We just need to get plugged into the current and access the power that God has made available to us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“You Won’t See Me Anymore”

16 “In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” – John 16:16 NLT

John 16:16-19 NLT

​The last few days before the crucifixion of Jesus must have been very perplexing to the disciples. They had expected that Jesus might set up an earthly kingdom. Instead, He keeps talking about leaving and they won’t know where He is going and they can’t come with Him now. What could Jesus possibly mean that they would not see Him for “a little while” and then they would see Him? What could He mean by saying they couldn’t come now, but they would come to Him later. Jesus could have been referring to two events. “A little while” could be the 3 days He will be in the grave. But since God is not bound by the way we measure time and since He said that He was “going to the Father”, the little while could be from then until ​the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost.  Either way, it was a disturbing and sad time for them. A time that we will never have to endure. Since God has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell each of us that accepts Jesus as our Savior, we will never be without Him.
We will never be alone. I am reminded of the old hymn “Have Faith in God”

“Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.​”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“So That You Won’t Abandon Your Faith”

“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. – John 16:1 NLT

John 16:1-5 NLT

Jesus is warning His disciples and us that there will be times when the path will not be so smooth. There will be times when we are mistreated and offended for the Gospel’s sake, but we need to press on. Paul thought he was doing a service for God when he was persecuting and killing Christians. He was walking in darkness but he encountered a powerful Light that changed his life. As long as Jesus was here with the disciples He knew that He would be the target for all the abuse. But now that He was leaving, He knew that He had to reinforce the things He had been teaching them. We need that same encouragement every day in our lives. It is easy for us to become frustrated and want to give up, but we have a friend that sticks closer to us than a brother. He is always with us. As Paul learned after his life-changing event, we must suffer with Christ. There is a cross for each of us to bear. But we must remember and hang onto the conclusion that Paul came to in his journey.

18 The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us. 19 Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.—Romans 8:18-19 NCV

6 God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again–Philippians 1:6 NCV

“But I Will Send the Advocate”

26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry. – John 15:26-27 NLT

Though the disciples don’t know or understand at this point, this is the 2nd greatest gift that God has promised. His best gift was His Son, Jesus, giving His life for us. Now, that Jesus is leaving, God the Father is sending us a Helper. The Helper will tell us more about Jesus and our Father. Jesus has been telling the disciples what the Father says and He has been showing them what the Father is doing. Now this Helper will do the same for each of us. Our job is to tell others what we are told. These are exciting times to be alive! With all the junk that is going on in the world, God is still in control and our Helper will show us the way home. Not only that, but He will teach us how to live and how to pray. Just as the disciples learned when they received the Helper, so are we learning now. Their sadness turned to joy and so should our lives reflect the joy of the indwelling Helper.

“And Even Greater Works”

19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  – John 14:19 NLT

John 14:18-24 NLT

Jesus was always teaching His disciples and encouraging them. He knew that until the Holy Spirit came, they would feel alone and discouraged. He assures them and us that we will never be alone. He isn’t here physically with us now, but He is here abiding in our hearts and guiding us. If we love Jesus, we will be obedient children and the Father loves all of those who love Jesus. Every word that Jesus spoke came straight from the Father, so it is Truth. Everyone has the same opportunity to answer the call to come to Jesus. It is difficult for us to understand why some do and some don’t. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, a person has to work hard to get to hell. The wages (salary, pay) of sin is death. It is hard to understand why anyone would continue on that path when the plan of salvation is free and open to all who will accept. So, each of us has a choice to make, we can accept salvation full and free or we can earn our way to hell.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And Even Greater Works”

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. – John 14:12 NLT

John 14:12-17 NLT

It is hard to imagine doing greater things than Jesus.I don’t know of a greater miracle than raising someone from the dead, so Jesus must have been talking about “greater” in quantity, not “greater” in quality. He could only be in one place physically while He was here on earth, now that the Holy Spirit abides in each of us, He can be all over the world at the same time. We now have access to the same power that Jesus had. If we ask for and believe that we receive it, we can actually have it. I once asked a Pastor since this is true, why do we not see more miracles today? He answered that it was because we don’t love like Jesus loved. While that is true, I think it is because we don’t believe like Jesus believed. If we truly believed that we had access to the same power that Jesus had when He was here and has now in heaven, we would ask for and receive it.

6 The Lord said, “If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Dig yourself up and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it would obey you.–Luke 17:6 (NCV)

We, like the Israelites in the desert, have limited what God can do for us and through us.

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power:—Psalm 78:40-42a (NKJV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And the Father Is In Me”

11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.​- John 14:11 NLT

John 14:7-11 NLT

Sometimes, even when you know what someone thinks of you, it hurts to hear them verbalize it. After three years of being with the disciples, I wonder how Jesus felt when he heard Philip say that he still needed to see the Father to believe that Jesus was who He said He was. You can almost hear the disappointment in His voice as He asks; “Do you still not know me, Philip?” If you can’t believe what I say, at least, believe because of what you have seen me do. When we have walked with Jesus for years and then we deny Him by our words or our actions, I imagine He feels the same hurt and disappointment that He felt then. I think if we could see His face at that very moment, it would bring tears to our eyes and us to our knees in repentance. Still, we are forgiven, just as Philip was that day. We can rejoice in the knowledge that His great love for us will never allow anyone or anything to take us out of His hand.

12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.–John 17:12 (NASB)

He is still holding onto each of us that God has given Him to keep.

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees.—Romans 8:24 (NASB)

So, just believe!

“Speak Comfort to Jerusalem”

2 “Speak [a]comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. – Isaiah 40:2 NKJV

40:1-5 

​As we read in the books of the Old Testament, we find that the children of Israel were inconsistent in their faithfulness to God.  ​There would be times when they would worship Him faithfully and God would bless them abundantly.  In those times, they were blessed with peace and comfort.  Then they would become prideful and forget that it was God who gave them victory over their enemies and fed them abundantly.  Then God would send plagues and enemies to defeat them.  Then there would be times of lack and constant troubles in their land.  Eventually they would turn back to God and he would bless them again. Our nation is repeating history in doing the same things. God cannot and will not bless us until we turn back to Him. As long as we are stubborn and rebellious as a nation, we can expect our problems to increase until we humble ourselves and return to Him. Let us continue in prayer that we will do that today. Then and only then will we receive the comfort that comes from honoring God and lifting up the Name of Jesus.