John 17

Jesus’ prayer falls into three divisions:
(a) verses 1-5, for himself;
(b) verses 6-19, for the immediate circle of disciples;
(c) verses 20-26, for the great company who should afterwards believe.

  1. The hour of Jesus’ supreme has come (verse 1; cf. 2:4; 7:6, 30; 8:20; 13:1). How is this related to the glorifying of the Son and the Father (verses 1-4)?
    Already the glory of God has been seen in Jesus (1:14); how is it seen also in his disciples (verse 22)?
    When will they see the full glory of the Son (verses 5, 24)?
  2. In verses 6-14, note how many things Jesus has already done for his disciples.
  3. What does our Lord pray that the Father will do for those whom he has given him?
    Is this prayer being answered in you?
    Are you ‘truly sanctified’ (verse 19)?

Notes

  1. Verse 2. ‘Authority’, the whole of humanity lies within the sphere of Christ’s commission. Cf. Ps. 2:8; Matt. 28:18,19.
  2. Verse 5. A prayer that the glory, of which for a time he had ‘made himself nothing’ (Phil. 2:6, 7), might be restored to him.
  3. Verses 17, 19. Note the repetition of the word ‘sanctify’. Jesus sanctified himself to the holy Father in fulfillment of his perfect will, particularly in offering himself as the sacrifice for sin. Cf. Heb. 10:5-10. This shows what true sanctification involves.

John 16:16-33

  1. ‘A little while’. In the light of verses 16-22 do you consider that this refers to the time between the death of Jesus and his resurrection; between his ascension and Pentecost; or both?
  2. Notice in verse 23, ‘You will no longer ask me anything.’
    With the Spirit to enlighten (cf. verses 12-15) and the Father to supply our needs, what do we learn in verses 23-28 about the place of prayer?
    On what do we rely when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ?
    Cf. 14:13, 14; 15:16.
  3. In verse 33 Jesus sums up the situation.
    In what two opposing spheres would the disciples live?
    What would be their experience in the one and in the other?
    What can be the ground of your courage and confidence?

 

John 15:26-16:15

  1. What evidence do you find in 16:1-7 that the disciples were cast down by Jesus’ words?
    Why did he say that he had not spoken of these things before, and why did he speak of them now? Notice, however, that he did not lighten in any way the dark picture he had drawn, but rather shaded it more deeply (16:2).
  2. What new force, does Jesus say, will be brought to bear upon the world, and through whom (see 15:26, 27)?
    What threefold result will follow (16:8-11)?
    How would this make Jesus’ departure an advantage instead of a loss?
  3. What results ought this situation to have on the disciples:
    (a) in their dependence on the Holy Spirit, and
    (b) in the place of the Holy Spirit and the person of Jesus Christ in their thinking?
    Is this true of us? Se 16:14, 15.

 Notes

  1. 16:2: ‘Put you out of the synagogue’: see Note on 12:42.
  2. 16:5: The questions of Thomas (14:5) and Peter (13:36, 37) concerned their own following of Jesus. No-one was now asking about the glory to which Christ was going in his return to the Father.
  3. 16:8-11. The Holy Spirit will convince men of their false standards of sin, righteousness and judgment (cf. Is. 55:8, 9).
    He will show them that the essence of sin is unbelief in Christ; that true righteousness is not that of the Pharisees (works of the Law) but the righteousness seen in Christ, and declared in the gospel; and that judgment awaits all who follow the ruler of this world.
    At Pentecost the heavens were convinced by the Spirit’s witness through the apostles, exactly as Jesus says here.
  4. 16:13. ‘Tell you what is yet to come’: i.e., interpret the significance of Christ’s impending crucifixion and resurrection, as well as other divine actions.

 

John 15:9-25

  1. People think of the Christian life as a joyless observance of rules.
    What answer to this contained in these verses?
    Is it your experience?
  2. If we are disciples of Jesus, why must we expect hatred from the world?
    Why did many hate and persecute Jesus?
  3. Love not only feels, but acts.
    By what actions is:
    (a) the love of the Father shown to the Son,
    (b) the love of the Son to his disciples, and
    (c) the love of the disciples to one another?
    Cf. 3:35; 5:20; 1John 3:16-18.

John 14:25- 15:8

  1. The disciples were distressed at the thought of Jesus going away and leaving them alone in a hostile world; cf. 16:6. What promises does Jesus give in verses 25-29 to answer their fears?
    Why does his going to the Father bring greater benefit than if he had remained as he was?
    What also does verse 31 teach about Christ’s reason for facing the cross?
  2. What does the parable of the vine teach about:
    (a) the purpose for which the branches exist,
    (b) the vinedresser’s dealing with the branches, and
    (c) the dependence of the branches on the vine?
    With verses 3 and 7 compare 14:15, 21, 23; see also 8:31, 32.
    What kind of fruit do you bear?
    Cf. Gal. 5:22, 23.

 Notes

  1. 14:28. ‘The Father is greater than I’: cf. 10:29, 30. He is not greater in being more divine, but with regard to the earthly submission to him by Jesus. (See NBC, p. 1056)
  2. 14:30. ‘The prince of this world’: cf. 12:31; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19. The RSV ‘has no power over me’ gives the true sense of these words.
    There is nothing in Jesus over which the devil can claim possession, and therefore domination.

John 14:15-24

  1. Three times in this passage Jesus speaks of loving him (verses 15, 21, 23).
    How does our love for the Lord Jesus show itself?
    Is this true of you?
    Since love is personal, can you see to what personal relationship this love leads?
  2. In what sense does Jesus ‘come’ to us (verse 18)?
    How is this related to the coming of ‘another Advocate’ (see Note 1)? Give examples of ways in which Jesus proved to be the first ‘Advocate’.
  3. Why cannot the world ‘see’ the Spirit or Jesus (verses 17, 19)?
    Cf. 1:11; 3:19; 5:37; 7:34; 8:19, 47; 12:37-40.
    What explanation did Jesus give here in answer to Judas?
    How can the eyes of men be opened to see him?

 Notes

  1. Verse 16. ‘Counselor’: literally, one called to one’s side to plead on one’s behalf. ‘Advocate’ is a better translation. Cf. 1 John 2:1.
  2. Verse 22. Cf. 7:4. The disciples also naturally expected that the Messiah would display his power to the world.

John 13:33 – 4:14

  1. Trace the connection between 13:33-37 and 14:1-6.
    Where was Jesus going?
    Why could they not follow until later?
    To what event does ‘I will come back’ refer?
  2. In what respect were the questions of both Thomas and Philip short-sighted?
    How is Jesus the way, the truth and the life, especially in relation to the Father?
  3. What prospect does Jesus set before his disciples as a consequence of his return to the Father?
    See verses 12-14.
    Do you know anything of this in your experience?
    Why are the works of the believer called ‘greater works’?