Last Words, Lasting Presence

Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper


Chapters thirteen through seventeen in John’s Gospel, containing Jesus’ last words to his disciples, are recognized to hold some of the richest and fullest portions of Jesus’ teaching. In this short series we walk through these familiar, life-changing passages of Scripture about lives lived for Jesus in the power of the Spirit.

In John 13.33, Jesus says, “I will be with you only a little longer.” This fact sets the context for all that follows. For three years Jesus has walked through life with the disciples, sharing every moment. Now he is leaving them – at least in bodily form. In this final conversation he equips the disciples (and the church along with them) for the next stage of redemptive history: the Age of the Spirit. These are the words with which Jesus equips his followers for the challenges and joys of life in communion with the Father and Son by the Spirit.


His message, in sum:


For three years, Jesus has been among them, revealing the Father to them in a unique way. Now he is leaving, but he will return; though he will soon die, he will rise from the dead. But after the resurrection, he will be in and with his followers by the Spirit. Then, upon our death or his bodily return at the end of the age, he will come and take us home, to be with him forever. 


In the meantime, His followers belong to heaven - they are citizens of another world so they don’t fit in here. They are called to a heavenly life, one of love, service, obedience, abiding, fruit-bearing, witness, and unity. They are given heavenly gifts: his presence, his love, his joy, his peace, his word, his eternal life. And they walk with a heavenly companion – the Spirit of God – who equips them for a holy life and empowers them to put his presence on display.


February 20: A Life of Love for Others, John 13:1-35; 15:9-17


February 27: Missions Sunday


March 6: A Life in the Love of the Father, John 13:36 - 14:14, 14:23, 17:1-11


March 13: A Life Empowered by the Spirit, John 14:15-31, 15:26, 16:5-15


March 20: A Life of Abiding in Jesus, John 15:1-8


March 27: A Life as a Citizen of Heaven, John 15:18 - 16:33


April 3: A Life that Brings Glory to God, John 17:1-26   Handout