Jesus Leaves Us For Our Good

Pastor Tom Ascol addresses John’s Gospel, Chapter 16, verses 1-33. In this passage Jesus, with his trial and crucifixion close at hand, seeks to rally His disciples and continues to provide assurances to them of His care and provision for the coming time of trial. Even as the disciples try to understand the significance of Jesus’ words He gives them courage, insures their loyalty, and prepares to destroy their enemies.

Continuing His Upper Room Discourse, Jesus gives five promises to his followers, followers which include present day believers. While these promises are designed to keep us “from falling away” (v. 1) we need to be on guard against marginalizing Jesus in our lives, considering Him something less than He truly is. This guarding ensures we may rest confidently in His promises.

The first promise is of persecution. True believers will be persecuted. This does not necessarily mean persecution unto death but could include discrimination, social ostracism, or other trials and challenges during our walk with and for Him. Remembering Chapter 15, Verse 19’s teaching that God “chose [us] out of the world,” that we are God’s chosen ones, should give the courage to persevere. We are, however, destined for some persecution. Knowing it is coming eliminates some of the surprise and better enables believers to cope. A lack of persecution should lead us to either broaden our understanding of the word or search our hearts to make sure we have a saving knowledge of, not merely an intellectual assent to, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The giving of the Holy Spirit is the second promise. He will continue Jesus’ work in our lives and in the world, convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment and convincing the called about the truth of the Christ. We see a distinct Trinitarian reference. All that the Father has He has given to the Son and the Spirit seeks to glorify the Son as he declares Jesus’ words and teaching.

The third promise is joy. After a time of weeping and sorrow (v. 20) Jesus’ return in the Resurrection offers comfort and joy. Believers, trusting in the One who overcomes death itself, truly can take rest in an indestructible, unmovable joy. Verses 23 through 28 provide the fourth promise, an intimate personal relationship with God. Believers are offered the same access to approach and plea before the heavenly throne as Jesus had. Finally, promise number five is one of peace. Though the hour approaches when, in fear and cowering, the disciples would forsake the Lord, and though Jesus clearly teaches believers will have tribulation, Jesus ends this portion of the his discourse assuring his disciples “in me you have peace” (verse 33).

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have secured for true, sincere, sold-out believers all they need for eternal security and peace in Him.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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