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					              You’ll Never Walk Alone John 14:15-31
It’s the last night before Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is eating with his
disciples and Judas has left to betray him. Jesus tells the disciples that he
is leaving them. The disciples are confused and distressed. This isn’t the
way they thought it would happen.
Defeat, not triumph.
Abandoned by the one they’d put all their hope in. How would they
continue on without Jesus there to teach them, to lead them?

There are times when I’ve felt a bit like that. Have you? You ask, deep in
your heart:
“Where is God? I used to feel close to God, but now I feel alone. Has he
stopped caring for me? Why does he let life get so hard?”

In today’s passage, there’s wonderful answers to these questions.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, you know how weak our faith is at times. You know
that there are times when we feel like giving up. Please speak to us through your word
today - bind up the weak, stir up the complacent. Encourage us and strengthen us, so
that we might keep going, living to please and honour you. Amen

In the earlier part of this chapter, Jesus assures the disciples. He’s going
to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house. He will come back and
take them to be with him forever. And in the meantime, they will do the
works of God. They will take the message of salvation out to all nations.
But how?
Where will they find the courage, the strength, to do great works for
God?

In today’s passage, Jesus promises that they will never walk alone.

Before we look at the great promises Jesus gives to his disciples, I want
us to see the context of these promises.
     Firstly - Why is Jesus going?
     Second, who are the promises for?




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1.    Firstly, Jesus tells us why he’s going.

In vs. 30 Jesus says that the prince of this world is coming. The prince of
this world is Satan. He has blinded the eyes of people so that they don’t
recognise the truth of Jesus and instead reject him and kill him. Jesus’
death is more profound than some Jewish leaders being jealous of him
and Judas agreeing to betray him. It is Satan’s attempt to overcome God’s
plans for his people.
 Now Satan has no power over him, Jesus says there in vs 30. That’s
because Jesus lived the perfect life - he committed no sin, and so he gives
his life of voluntarily.

In order to rescue us, Jesus will allow Satan, through human agents, to
put him to death.
    But Jesus’ death will be a display, not of Jesus’ weakness, but of
      his strength.
    It is a display, not of defeat, but of victory.
    It will display his love for the Father - a gutsy, bloody, self-
      sacrificing love that completely obeys the Father. (vs.31)

Jesus doesn’t hide from this terrible death - vs. 31 - “Come, let us leave” -
Jesus is ready to submit himself to shame and torture and death to do the
work of God. The work of paying our penalty and setting us free. It’s
Jesus’ love for the Father that compels him to go out to his death.

2.    Secondly, Jesus tells us who these promises are for.

We see, they’re not for everyone. They’re not for the “world” - those who
ignore Jesus, reject Jesus, live their own way.
Vs. 19 - “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will
see me.”

So who are the promises for? Those who have a real love for Jesus. Not
an acquaintance. Not a mushy, sentimental love. A love that is gutsy -
that has substance and staying power. A love that is costly. The same
kind of love that Jesus has for his Father. A love that is seen in
obedience.

Vs. 15 -
Vs. 21 -
Vs. 23 -




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Now Jesus isn’t teaching that we can earn the promises by our loving
obedience. We can’t earn our relationship with God - we must receive it.
But the promises that Jesus makes are only to genuine disciples. The
reality of our faith will be seen in a white-hot love for him. This love for
him will be displayed in our obedience to him.

So do you love Jesus? Do you love him more than your pleasures, more
than your comfort, more than your home, more than your career, more
than your family, more than your life? Do you seek to obey him? Are
your plans for yourself or for him? Does how you use your time, how you
spend your money display your love for him? Or are you doing your own
thing?

These promises we’re about to look at aren’t for the half-hearted, the
cowardly, the self-focussed. They are only for those who have a real
saving faith in Jesus, seen in gutsy, costly, obedient love for him.

3.    You’ll never walk alone

I want to look at 3 amazing promises that Jesus makes to his disciples in
this passage.

First, they will have eternal life.
The disciples are afraid. In less than 24 hours, Jesus will be dead. But in
vs 19, Jesus assures them that this is not the end for him, or for God’s
plans. (READ)
They will see Jesus again. His victory over death is not just for himself,
but for all those who are his. Do you believe this?
       Jesus said he would rise again. Did he? Yes!
       Jesus promised that we will also live with him.       Will we? Yes!
In those times when we doubt or fear, this promise of eternal life is an
anchor, it’s evidence of God’s goodness and love for us.

Are you confident that you will live forever? If you’re confident of that, it
will revolutionise your life. Jesus’ resurrection transformed the disciples
and it transforms people today - we can go anywhere for God’s cause. We
can endure anything for god’s cause. We no longer fear death.




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The second promise: the Father will give them another “Strengthener”.
(16) The Greek word “Paraclete” is difficult to translate. The Bible
translation we have here uses the word “Counsellor” - that’s OK, but
could be misunderstood - it isn’t meaning someone who will listen to our
problems and give advice - it has the idea of legal counsel. Among the
various suggestions for the most suitable word, I think “Strengthener”
best fits with what Jesus is saying. Jesus knows that the disciples aren’t
able to carry on God’s work of taking out the message of salvation in
their own strength. That’s why he sends the “Strengthener”.

Who is this Strengthener?         Vs 17 - Spirit of Truth
                                  Vs 26 - the Holy Spirit

Notice that we are given another “Strengthener”. The Holy Spirit will do
for the disciples what Jesus had been doing. Jesus’ ministry won’t stop
when he goes to be with the Father. Just as Jesus prepared and
strengthened the disciples, so will the Holy Spirit do that for them, and
for us. He will be with us forever - we won’t be on our own at any time.
Not only with us, but in us - a picture of being grafted together, of being
transformed by him.

We will know the Spirit, but the world around us won’t. We’ll be like
people with normal sight trying to explain colours to people born blind.
(17 b)

This “Strengthener” will have a special ministry to the disciples, Jesus
says in vs 26. (READ)
The things that the disciples heard from Jesus need to be passed on. The
Holy Spirit will enable them to do this. In this way, the teachings of those
first disciples, the apostles, are the words of God. Notice that they will be
taught and reminded of all things. Some religious groups that say that
there are other words from God - that God gives them new words - they
are contradicting what Jesus clearly teaches here. (vs. 26 - all, everything)

Just as Jesus is the Truth, so the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He will
correct us and guide us - he does that as we read the words of the
apostles, here in the Bible, which were taught to them first by Jesus and
then by the Spirit.




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So Jesus promises that because he lives, we also will live; and he
promises that he will give us another Strengthener who will live in us and
teach us.

Jesus makes a third promise here to calm the fears of the disciples. He
promises that his followers will be drawn into deep and profound
relationship with the triune God.

This passage shows us the profound nature of God - one God in three
persons - Father, Son and Spirit. We call this the Trinity. Though distinct
from each other, each of the three persons works in complete unity of
purpose.
    So in vs 16, the giving of the Spirit is from the Father at the asking
      of the Son.
    The words that Jesus speaks are the Fathers words (24).
    As we love the Son, it is the Father who loves us (vs 21)
    The Spirit lives in us; but he is not independent of the Father and
      the Son - so as we have the Spirit in us, we also have the Father
      and the Son in us (vs 23). So in the future, our home is with God;
      now in this life, God makes his home in our hearts. This is
      something even greater than what the disciples then had - Jesus
      living physically among them for a short time. What an amazing
      assurance and comfort.

So what we see here is that through Jesus’ saving work on the cross for
us, and his rising to new life, he binds us unto this other-centred, gutsy
loving relationship that is ultimate reality - the relationship that has been
enjoyed eternally within the three persons of the trinity. We now share in
that relationship. Is there any room for fear?

4.    My peace I give you

In vs 27 Jesus shows us the obvious outcome of believing and accepting
these three amazing promises. (READ) There’s often promises of peace
in this world. Most often, they’re from humanists - people who reject God
and believe that humans are basically good and will become better as we
try hard together.




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Did you know that January 21st was World Hugs Day? Lee Rhiannon is a
member of the NSW parliament for the Greens party. She wrote this in
support of World Hugs Day: “World peace is achievable and record hugs
will help deliver that day”.
The message : God is irrelevant; we can do it ourselves.

Others suggest meditation or counselling can bring peace. (Sometimes
they can, in a limited way).
But the world can’t find real peace, because it ignores and rejects Jesus.
    Jesus brings us (those who put their trust in him) peace with God
      by his death on the cross in our place.
    And he gives us peace in difficult circumstances. Not by blocking
      out those circumstances for a short time. He gives us peace by
      being with us, and never letting us walk alone.

Just a month ago, Duncan, our middle child, began kindergarten. He has a
somewhat quieter, more sensitive nature than our other two, and going off
to big school was a huge step. Each morning for the first two weeks he
would start getting teary as we left the house. He’s fine now, and
enjoying school. One of the things that really made a difference for him
was having his older brother Callum there at school. Every recess and
lunchtime, Callum would seek him out, sit with him while they ate lunch,
and then invite Duncan to join him and his friends in their games. At
those times out on the playground, Duncan didn’t have to walk alone.

In a much greater way, Jesus assures us, as we walk through this
sometimes very difficult life, we will never walk alone. For those who
trust him and show a real love for him by their obedience to his teaching,
Jesus gives great and precious promises. We will live forever with him.
We have the Strengthener, the Holy Spirit living in us, guiding us in truth.
We are loved by God and united with him - Father, Son and Spirit
forever.

Let’s pray:
Lord, how great and wonderful you are. As you reveal yourself to us, one God, Father
Son and Holy Spirit, we realise that our minds can barely begin to comprehend your
greatness. We praise you.
How gracious you are. Thank you for your great love in paying our penalty for sin
that we might be forgiven; thank you that we have eternal life with you. Thank you
that in this life we needn’t fear, that we will never walk alone. Please help us to truly
love you and obey you. Amen




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