Bible Reading for NOV08: John 13-15

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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