Lord, teach us to root ourselves in Your coming kingdom, not our present realities. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read John 15-16
John 15 Jesus uses the metaphor of a vineyard—and another “I AM” statement—to describe how believers stay in God’s protection and family: by bearing spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit is practicing divine love, acting on Jesus’ words, and obeying His command to love each other. By doing this spiritual work, believers become actual family members and co-laborers with God. Identifying with Jesus means access to God’s power and care; it also means being misunderstood or rejected by dominant society. Though dominant society will confuse and oppress believers, Jesus sends His Spirit as a teacher, who will advocate for Christians as they walk along the path of God.
Notice that Jesus is now expounding on his “I AM” claims. He not only connects Himself to the God of Abraham and Moses and thus further explaining His role in the Trinity. Jesus is also explaining that He is the only way for people to be connected to the Father.
IF THE WORLD HATES YOU
Watch this short video on how proclaiming the Gospel will result in persecution.
Proclaiming the Exclusivity of Jesus Will Result in Persecution by Alistair Begg. Copyright Ligonier Ministries. Used by permission. All rights reserved www.ligonier.org.
John 16:1–24 Believers should expect opposition from those in the world who haven’t heard or seen God. Jesus explains that He will leave the first disciples to reunite with the Father. But while He’s away, the Spirit will guide believers to new levels of understanding and action. It won’t always look like God’s in control, but Jesus promises that after the season of difficulty and suffering, He’ll bring permanent, joyful contentment. Until then, believers can use Jesus’ name to ask the Father for anything they need.
John 16:25–33 When people love and believe Jesus, the Father accepts and loves them as co-heirs with Jesus. They can relate directly to God, who already has established the perfect life in His kingdom. Finally, the disciples say they believe fully, and Jesus tells them to prepare to be scattered by suffering—first Jesus’, then their own.
Notice that Jesus asks the disciples to believe He’s overcome the world even before His death or resurrection. Faith in Jesus’ claims has to be established outside of circumstances or appearances.
22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
- Jesus commands believers to go to God with all their needs and requests. Like Jesus, believers should have a holistically dependent relationship with the Father. Are there areas of your life that you still try to handle on your own? Think about what subjects might be omitted in your prayers: Finances? Certain relationships? Everyday plans? Addictions? Sexuality? Other?
Jesus taught the disciples to understand and have faith through difficult seasons, even before those seasons actually came. It’s too late to try developing a right view of God and reality after suffering has already hit; believers need to solidify their identity as citizens of God’s kingdom beforehand. Talk with a fellow disciple about how this section of John could:
- Shape your identity in the current world as someone waiting for a better reality;
- Inform your perspective on temporary opposition or suffering.
- Do you remember the MOR faithfulness report? Are you still asking God to give you opportunities to share the gospel? How have you seen your ability grow? Your boldness?