Chapter 13 contains three important lessons for all Christians. One is a lesson of humility. The foot- washing was not an ordinance, but an example. In Oriental countries it is the slaves who wash the feet of visitors; so Christ is here taking the place of a slave. He makes this clear to His disciples (verses 13-16). If He has washed their feet, and He is their Lord, they should treat each other with the same humility. This must have been a striking rebuke to the twelve. Just that evening they had been debating who was to be the greatest!
Chapter 13 also contains a lesson on holiness. Christ's words to Peter in verse 8 are important: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part (no communion) with me." There is a difference in the Bible between union and communion. Peter was in union with Christ, as one of His own through faith, but his sin had broken his communion with the Lord. There is also a difference between sonship and fellowship. Only as we allow Christ to daily cleanse us can we remain in fellowship with Him and enjoy His presence and power.
Another lesson found in chapter 13 is a lesson on hypocrisy. Judas was in the Upper Room, pretending to be one of Christ's own. In verses 10 and 11 Christ made it very clear that He knew one of them was not saved. So careful was Judas' deception that even the other disciples did not realize he was a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a counterfeit, one who only resembles the real thing.
Today, many of our church members are playing the role of a hypocrite. They look, act, and talk like Christians part of the time, but their hearts have never been changed. Just as in the case of Judas, all of us today may fool our families, friends, and associates, but Christ looks on the heart. He knows the heart of every man. He knew Judas was the deceiver. If there has not been a genuine change in your life, and if you have never repented of your sins and received Christ as Saviour, you may fool the world, but God can never be fooled.
John 14 closes with the words, "Arise, let us go hence." This suggests that the next two chapters were spoken on the way to the Garden. It is probable that Christ and His disciples were passing some vineyards or the Temple, with its golden vine decorations, when He gave the parable of the Vine and the Branches.
Chapter 14 is probably one of the greatest chapters of comfort given in the Scriptures. The first six verses of this chapter are appropriate to preach at funerals. Jesus tells us that our hearts should not be troubled because there are many mansions in His Father's house which have been prepared for those who believe in Him. Those who received Christ as their personal Saviour and have now departed this life, are today with Him in paradise. Perhaps you have recently lost a loved one or you may know of someone who is bereaved. These verses can be a real comfort. God has prepared a place for His children, and He is coming again to receive His children unto Himself, and reunite those saved ones who may have gone on before. This is the hope of the Christian, the joy of the Christian. One day we will see our loved ones who have gone on before; we will meet them face to face in glory, where together we will praise our blessed Saviour for all He's done for us.
When Jesus told His disciples that He was going away, He promised them a Comforter. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit of God who is dwelling in the hearts of each and every believer. His chief job in the world today is recorded in verse 26. The verse reads, "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." Notice the last part of this verse, "and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Any spirit that does not speak of the Lord Jesus Christ is not of Christ, but of the devil. Whereas Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for the saints, the Holy Spirit is very active here in the world, and indwells the body of every believer. He is striving to convict those who are lost and dead in trespasses and sin, and striving to draw them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
In chapter 15 Christ is presented as the True Vine. Those who are saved are grafted by faith into Christ and become branches of the True Vine.
This chapter is divided into three sections: a parable (verses 1-11); a commandment (verses 12-17); and a warning (verses 18-27). A parable teaches one main truth. The truth Christ is teaching in this parable is the importance of abiding in Him to bear fruit. The word "fruit" is used six times and "abide" at least 15 times (not always translated "abide"). The main point here is fellowship, not sonship. To be a branch in the Vine means we are united to Christ and share His life. As we abide in Him, His life flows through us and produces the fruit. It is possible for the carnal Christian to produce "works," but only the spiritual Christian can bear lasting fruit. Note that the fruitful branches are "purged" (verse 2--same word as "clean" in verse 3), so they bear more fruit. God cleanses us through the Word, chastening, etc., to make us more fruitful. This helps to explain why a dedicated Christian will have to go through suffering. As the Christian moves from fruit to more fruit (verse 2), to much fruit (verse 8), he glorifies the Father. The evidences of an abiding life are: a sense of the Saviour's love (verse 9); obedience to His word (verse 10); answered prayer (verse 7); and joy (verse 11).
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