We’ve seen the character and confrontation of Jesus’ enemies, which made Tuesday very controversial. But there’s no fear in our Lord. After he silenced the Herodians, Sadducees/Sanhedrin, and Pharisees, he publicly blasted the pharisees and scribes for being religious hypocrites. Toward the end of Tuesday, after Jesus and his disciples leave the temple, he teaches them about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that Jews trusted in (more than GOD even), gives a glimpse of his return, teaches them crucial principles about final judgment: readiness, faithful service, a gathering and separation, resulting in an eternal inheritance for some and eternal departure for others. This was the last time Jesus would teach in the temple and his teaching was full of judgment. There’s no record what occurs on Wednesday, so all four gospel writers turn our attention to Thursday’s events (first day of unleavened bread, connected to passover) and Thursday is most characterized as a day of fellowship. Jesus had been longing for this special fellowship with the disciples. It all begins and is absorbed at the passover meal, aka the last supper. This is when Jesus communicated the new agreement with GOD by his blood and washed the feet of the 12. All of this sets the stage for Jesus’ final conversation or farewell discourse with his disciples. As we observe the first two parts of his discourse, we will learn three encouraging aspects of deep fellowship with Jesus: trusting in the Father and Son, remaining in the Son, and hatred from the world.
But before we learn those things, there’s bad news that Jesus has to get off of his chest during dinner: “One of you will turn on me”. Which means there’s false fellowship in this circle. All of them are shocked and confused as to who it is, except one! Judas Iscariot! They all asked him is it me, then Judas does too. Jesus indicates to John it’s him when he dips a bite of bread in broth and hands it to Judas, and says gone head and do what you gone do quick! But Judas knew all along. At the end of Tuesday, they were all at Simon the lepers house in Bethany and a woman broke an expensive jar of oil and anointed Jesus body. Judas was highly upset that it was sold and money given to the poor, and it influenced other disciples to say the same. But he was pretending. The truth was he was a thief and full of greedy gain. He then found time to slip away and join Jesus’ enemies and help them on how to arrest Jesus, all for money! John says satan cast these thoughts in his head, and now satan entered him to execute it.
Application: Anyone ever been turned on by somebody? Jesus can fully identify with your feelings. I questioned myself how could someone be that close to Jesus, witness his love and compassion, travel, laugh, and minister together, be trusted as the treasurer, and experience one of the highest symbols of fellowship at dinner, but then turn on him. The truth is, is that he was physically with Jesus, but his heart wasn’t. All the lessons Jesus taught on covetousness and love for money didn’t penetrate! Satan didn’t make him greedy, it was his own desires. Satan found opportunity to cast a treacherous plan on the foundation of his heart of greed! So then I asked myself, is there any desire in my heart that satan could do the same and I would turn on Jesus? Let us pray for GOD to search us, that there’s no such desire or evil in me.
But ultimately it was all part of GOD’s plan! Judas leaves, now Jesus can get to the heart of his farewell and fellowship discourse. Difficult to do when you have a two-faced disloyal traitor in the mix. Jesus knows time is short and tells the now 11 that he’s about to leave and they can’t come with him. They are sad and resistant at this. So Jesus encourages them by faith and hope “I’m going to prepare your room in my Father’s house” and “You know the way there”. But the disciples are confused as to just where Jesus is actually, so Thomas questions him about the way. Jesus strongly affirms that the only way to his father and his house is through him, meaning he is the only link. And in fact they know and have seen the father. That confuses Philip, because he hasn’t seen visions of the heavenly throne. Jesus strongly affirms that all that they’ve heard and seen in him is the Father! Therefore believe! As a result, the Father through Jesus, will work through them so the Father will be glorified and praised. They will also see him and recognize the full circle of fellowship and love. In order to demonstrate and experience this love and fellowship full circle: keep his commands and word!
Application: For them Jesus hadn’t left yet but he pointed them to how they can follow after him. For us, Jesus has left but it applies to us the same. Jesus is the only link to arriving in the eternal presence with the father. First we must believe the reality that the Father and Son are one in everything. Then, in order for us to experience the full circle of fellowship with the Father and Son, we must love him! We demonstrate love and loyalty to Jesus by sticking with his commands.
Next Jesus not only tells them the path to the father and how to experience full fellowship, he tells them to decisively remain in fellowship with him using a vine as an allegory. But not just remaining, but being productive according to the life of Jesus and the care of the Father. If not, the Father will remove unfruitful branches. Thus this is a command to maintain fellowship with Jesus and his love and be fruitful, and that is done again by allowing Jesus’ words to live in us and being obedient! When they are fruitful, they bring glory to the father and prove they are his followers. Then Jesus stresses that they keep fellowship with one another by love, that’s his command. Not just any love, but how he has loved them, sacrificially! Not only be productive within self, but with one another! This is again accomplished by love and signifies their fellowship with him, because it is his commandment. Lastly there is fellowship with Jesus because his disciples share in the hatred from the world. We are hated because of our ID with Christ. The reason for such hatred is because those Jews and Gentiles don’t know the Father. As a result, they hate the Son and the Father, and consequently followers of Jesus.