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  • Famous Last Words

    A Study of John 14-16

  •     Copyright 2014, Brian Kannel. All Rights Reserved.

    2..........................................................................................................................................Introduction

    4.......................................................................................................................How To Use This Book

    6..................................................................................................................................About the Cover

    7..................................................................................................................................Gospel Practices 10...........................................................................................................................................Week One:

    Through Jesus

    22...........................................................................................................................................Week Two: Through the Spirit

    34........................................................................................................................................Week Three: Through the Vine

    46..........................................................................................................................................Week Four: Through Persecution

    58...........................................................................................................................................Week Five: Spirit Work

    70..............................................................................................................................................Week Six: The Promise

    82.......................................................................................................................................Week Seven: I Have Overcome the World

    93...........................................................................................................................Acknowledgments  

    TTTaaabbbllleee   ooofff   CCCooonnnttteeennntttsss   

  • IIInnntttrrroooddduuuccctttiiiooonnn  From our point in history, the situation is a poignant one; but for the disciples, it was likely just another Passover meal. As they had several times before, Jesus and his disciples gathered to celebrate the Passover, this time in a borrowed room somewhere in Jerusalem. As they gathered, there was no servant available to wash their feet. As they looked at one another, Jesus stepped into this lowest of roles. Quite odd, for sure, and very memorable, but not out of the ordinary. It must have seemed to the disciples that Jesus was constantly doing some odd things: talking with women, yelling at the religious leaders, hanging out with those whom they knew to be unclean, challenging the interpretation of the Sabbath regulations—mustn’t this have just seemed like one more?

    As the meal continued to unfold, Jesus spoke to them. Was this more or less than He would speak at a typical Passover meal? We have no way of knowing. John graciously records this discussion, but there is no record of the meals from previous years. Again and again throughout the evening, Jesus spoke of leaving them. On the other hand, ever since Peter had declared the truth about Jesus’ Deity (Mark 8:29), Jesus spoke of leaving them. Did they recognize this conversation as anything different? Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit to guide them into this new way of living. However, we have no evidence that they understood whatsoever what He was talking about. In fact, the last words they spoke to Jesus prior to His ascension show that they were still clueless on quite a few things He had taught them. (Acts 1:6)

    Regardless of what they understood in the midst of that moment, Jesus continued to teach them. In fact, John 14-16 records one of the longest sections of Jesus’ teaching in all the Scriptures. Paired with His teaching in John 13 and His prayer in John 17, it’s by far the most we hear Jesus speak at any one moment throughout all four gospels. Whether or not it was understood then, with the benefit of history we can recognize the profound importance of these words. In what would literally be a period of hours after He finished these teachings, Jesus would be arrested. In the hours that followed the arrest, He would be accused, condemned, tortured, mocked and, ultimately, brutally murdered on a Roman cross. The words of Isaiah would come to startling reality: “As one from who men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3) But all

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  • of that was still to come. In the peace of that borrowed Upper Room, the quiet but confident voice of Jesus taught them with clarity, grace, and assurance. He warned them of the persecution that was to come, the suffering they would face, and the endurance they would need. “But take heart,” He said, “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Famous last words. During this Lenten season, we will attempt, along with the disciples, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen as He teaches us in John 14, 15, and 16. Theologians call this section of Scripture “The Upper Room Discourse”—an extended series of teachings from Jesus intended to prepare the disciples for life on the other side of the cross. Jesus taught them what it would mean to be disciples and, as those who follow Christ on this side of the cross, there is much for us to learn. The lessons, however, are no easier for our modern ears to hear than they were for the disciples. Yes, we have the perspective of history. But our modern minds quickly challenge notions like a singular path to God, supernatural involvement in the world, full dependence on Christ, and maybe most difficult, a rejection of comfort and ease and an embrace of suffering and persecution. No, these are not easy lessons for us to hear in 21st century North America—but they are vital ones. In fact, they are likely just as vital for us today as they were for those eleven men more than 2,000 years ago. With that, I would like to invite us all to sit at the feet of Jesus. I have been incredibly challenged as I’ve personally sought to listen to His words for my own life and for our lives as a church. I believe that these truths are not only vital, but they are incredibly timely. My prayer is that, through this study, through engaging the gospel practices, and through intentional co-pilgrimage with the community of faith, God would transform our lives in new and profound ways and that, as we journey, despite the hurdles and obstacles, we would experience joy. Maybe it’s best stated by Rich Mullins, the late musician, writer, and devoted disciple of Jesus: “The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart… It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.” Jesus, may we have the courage to not just hear you, but to truly listen. Grace and peace, Brian Kannel York Alliance Church

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  • HHooww  ttoo  UUssee  TThhiiss  BBooookk   This book is designed to be used as a companion resource to the Lent 2014 sermon series at York Alliance Church. Each Sunday’s message will provide the central teaching of the Scripture passage for that week. You will receive most benefit from this study as you utilize it in conjunction with both the Sunday messages and a weekly LIFE group gathering, a small community with whom you are able to discuss and apply these truths. If you are unable to attend one of the Sunday morning gatherings for any reason, the sermon audio can be found at www.yorkalliance.org/resources.

    Please be aware that studying the Bible can be a challenging endeavor. Of course, there are very few worthwhile things in life that don’t require some effort on our part. But beyond the difficulty of study in general is the fact that we have a very real enemy who is actively opposed to our understanding of the Word of God. Paul tells us that our battle is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, again the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Therefore, if as you study you find yourself feeling discouraged, frustrated, or unable to understand something, I strongly encourage you to stop and pray. Ask God to guide your heart and thoughts and to give you understanding. Also, don’t do this study in isolation. While most will complete the actual studies individually, I would encourage you to get connected to someone else who is doing this study and then connect with that person each week to talk about what you’re learning. Along the way, if you have frustrations or are confused about something you’re studying, dialog with another person can provide encouragement and guidance as you journey through the study together. Of course, if you get stuck along the way, you should feel free to skip a section, or even an entire study, and move to the nex