John 13:1-37 (Part 1)
When Jesus’ closest friends asked him, “When will these things happen and what are the signs to look for?” v4 They were expressing a common anxiety to understand the bigger picture of what is happening around them as well as reassurance that it is all going to be alright in the end. We want to be able to plot our path through life and even beyond through death. It is natural to want to know how and when God will complete his work of salvation and new creation. Jesus had just pointed the most loved and venerated buildings in Israel, the temple, and said every stone will be throne down. The temple was much more than an iconic building it was the place where God met man and man could come to be reconciled to God through a sacrificial system. Jesus was in one way prophesying its obsolescence through his own sacrifice.
The disciple’s question starts a long interwoven discourse preparing the disciples for life following his ascension. The period Jesus then goes on to describe has continued to the present time and as such is deeply relevant to ourselves. Jesus discourse however is complicated and has been interpreted in a variety of ways over the centuries some of which have led people away from the gospel and faith in Jesus. Jesus warns of this within the discourse. vv21-23
Jesus is describing a world that has become corrupted, he is not only describing the corruption of mankind he is including the natural world as well. We have become aware of this living through the latest world wide pandemic. Each generation since Jesus will have seen signs as Jesus described. Watching an animation of the rapidly and continual changing national boundaries in Europe over the last thousand years makes one realise that there has never been a time when there were not rumours of wars and wars, or nation was not rising against nation.
Jesus is warning them and us to expect to be living in difficult times and this will be made yet more challenging if you are his disciple and engaged in gospel work. However, God has a plan. He will keep his word. He will return with great power. We are to see current and growing turmoil as a sign that his return is nearby. vv 26-31 They are all the unavoidable “birth pains” v8 of the coming new creation of which Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruits.
How Jesus says his disciples are to behave during this current age will be tomorrows reflection.
Give thanks that God has a plan that is being fulfilled through Jesus.
Give thanks God has not left us alone through life’s trials.
Heal our nation