Your Survival Kit for a 'Jesus-less' World (John 14:25-27)
Topic: One Mission: Through Many Tribulations Passage: John 14:25–27
Did you notice that word in the message title? “Jesus-less”. “Jesus-less”. Hmm. Look again at the message title: “Your Survival Kit for a 'Jesus-less” World”. Now, some of you might be thinking, “This is not a 'Jesus-less' world. Didn't Jesus say, 'And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age'” (Matthew 28:20)? Didn't he also say in Matthew's Gospel that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (18:20)? Others might come to that same conclusion a different way: “This is not a 'Jesus-less' world. Aren't we as believers the body of Christ? Isn't he the head of that body (Ephesians 4:15)? Isn't he present in this world through us? Paul said in Ephesians 1:23 that the church is 'his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.'”
Of course, if you're thinking along any of those lines you'd be correct. But we also want to be very careful not to miss or minimize the words of Jesus himself, words about that very thing: a 'Jesus-less' world. Let's look at those words by turning together to John 13.
II. The Passage: “Peace I Leave with You” (14:25-27)
Before we begin tackling that issue in John 13, let me briefly talk about this part of the book; this section of John's Gospel; the broader context in which we find ourselves this morning. As we've been reading in Our Bible Reading Plan, we've come to the end of this 'book of signs' that John has deliberately constructed in John 1-12. While Jesus did many miracles or “mighty works” (cf. Matthew 11:20) throughout his ministry, John highlights seven of these miracles, describing them as signs, indicators, proofs that Jesus truly was who he claimed to be: the Christ/Messiah, the Son of God. Some of you may recall John's explicit purpose statement given in 20:30, 31...
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
This past Monday we read about His seventh sign: the raising of Lazarus from the dead. John 11:45 tells us this stunning miracle did, in fact, inspire many to believe in Jesus. But we read in chapters 11 and 12 that this miracle also solidified opposition against Jesus. Shockingly, John 12:10 tells us the religious leaders sought not only Christ's death, but also the death of Lazarus, who was living, breathing proof of Jesus' incomparable power.
We also find in chapter 12 language indicating a conclusion and a pivot: John 12:23, “And Jesus answered them, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.'” But faithlessness was prevalent and persistent: John 12:37, “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him”. Simply go back and reread verses 44-50 of John chapter 12. You'll see how that passage is a very fitting and stirring conclusion to the first half of the book.
So what do we find when we arrive at chapter 13? We discover the beginning of a new section of John's Gospel. This next section, which includes chapters 13-17, covers just a few hours on a Thursday night, and contains mainly teaching from Jesus. But notice how it begins in 13:1...
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Ah! There it is. John doesn't mince words. The “hour” was coming when our world would become 'Jesus-less'. How? Jesus would be betrayed. Jesus would be arrested and abandoned. Jesus would be unjustly condemned. Jesus would be crucified. Jesus would be buried. Jesus would rise from the dead. Jesus would return to the Father. He was leaving, and he stresses that fact over and over again in chapters 13-17. John 13:33, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you... Where I am going you cannot come.’ John 14:19, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more...” John 14:28, “I am going away... I am going to the Father...”. John 16:5, “...I am going to him who sent me...”. John 16:28, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
Can you imagine the dismay and despair this caused among his disciples; those who had been with him for so long; those who still didn't understand God's plan, most likely believing that somehow Jesus would be widely accepted as the Messiah and would soon rule in Jerusalem? You can hear that dismay and despair in their questions and comments throughout this section. They were grappling with the reality of a 'Jesus-less' world. Brothers and sisters, friends, that's the reality in which we live. Our Master, our Teacher, our King no longer walks among us in the flesh, to enlighten, to lead, to heal, to comfort, to correct. On top of that, His absence coincides with a period of deep hostility against his word, his work, and his people. For any who genuinely love him, the absence of Jesus will invariably tempt us to dismay and despair.
But... if you read chapters 13-15, then you know Jesus graciously anticipated our struggles in light of his absence. Wonderfully, what we find in these chapter is a kind of 'survival kit for a 'Jesus-less' world'. It's his provision, it's God's provision for us as followers of the ascended Christ, as servants of the coming King... until he returns. The question we need to ask is this: Am I utilizing or experiencing what Jesus has provided for me to spiritually survive (and even thrive) until he comes again?
Let's start to unpack this 'survival kit' by looking together at 14:25-27. Jesus declares there...
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remem-brance all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The most important part of this survival kit is mentioned first. Verse 26: “the Father will send”...
1. The Spirit of God (14:26)
The first time Jesus actually mentions the Holy Spirit in these chapters is earlier in verses 16–17: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth...” So how does the Spirit help us in light of Jesus' absence?
Well, amazingly, John 14:17 reveals this about the Spirit: “he dwells with you and will be in you.” Now look again at what our main text tells us about the work of the indwelling Spirit of God:
(v. 26) “he will teach you all things and bring to our remembrance all that I have said.” This is echoed in 16:13 where we read that “he will guide you into all the truth”. In 15:26 Jesus declares that “the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” Similarly in 16:14, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
While the New Testament will go on to reveal much, much more about the Spirit, what's unmistakable is how, in these chapters, the work of this “Helper” is clearly to help believers abide in Christ. “Abide” is the word Jesus used repeatedly in John 15. The Spirit would help the disciples to remain focused on Jesus; to remember his words, and even walk in those words. We also read in John 16:8 “when [the Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”. What an encouragement for continuing Christ's work in the world.
So if these men were concerned that without Jesus present they would be lost and ineffective, the promise of the Spirit should have been an incredible consolation. It should be for us as well. But in our main passage we also read about another element in this 'survival kit'...
2. The Peace of God (14:27)
Look again at 14:27... “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Did you see how Jesus qualified that word “peace”? Christ's provision of peace is not the same as that peace the world often pursues. That peace is simply the absence of conflict; or maybe the enjoyment of peaceful circumstances.
But the peace Jesus will leave when he returns to the Father will be an inward peace. That's clear from the next phrase in v. 27: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” While the world's peace is not a bad thing, the peace of Jesus is far, far better. In this age, we simply cannot and will not experience outward or circumstantial peace all the time. In fact, Jesus goes on to tell us this about “the world”: (Look over at John 15:19)...
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
In a 'Jesus-less' world, a world that hates the true Jesus (15:18), we've been given the incredible gift of heavenly peace; heavenly peace in spite of the earthly suffering we will inevitably face. Where does this peace come from? Well, Paul would later teach us that peace is, in fact, a supernatural manifestation or a fruit of the indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5). But just listen to a few the peace-inspiring, peace-producing truths Jesus gives to these men. In fact, receive them in faith this morning, and let them inspire His peace in you...
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1–3)
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Now, let me share with you one more item from this 'survival kit'. There are certainly more 'items' in chapters 13-17, but we simply don't have time to look at all of them this morning. But this last one is also clear and key to living in a 'Jesus-less' world. I'm talking about...
3. The Love of God (13:33–35)
Turn back a chapter earlier and look with me at 13:33-35. Jesus tells his followers...
“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The relationship here between the absence of Jesus and the presence of brotherly love is unmistakable, isn't it? When Jesus returned to the Father, these disciples would need to come together, in love, in a way they simply hadn't (and couldn't) before. Soon Jesus wouldn't be present to love them in person. So they would need to be present, in love, for one another; in fact, to “love one another: just as I have loved you.” He even provided a picture for them in 13:3-17; a picture, an example of humble and loving service: he assumed the position of the lowest servant in a household and... washed their feet. Verse 14: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
Brothers and sisters, this community of disciples, this faith family, this church, was given to you by Jesus in order to help you survive and thrive in a 'Jesus-less' world. When a church is healthy, it should be a place of humility and love and service; a place where we regularly bless one another as we (by the power of the Spirit) regularly look to the example of Jesus. In some way(s), we will always do this imperfectly. But just read John's first letter (I John) to see how importance this new commandment was in the life of the early church. Let's pursue that love!
III. What are You Doing with This Kit?
So let's go back to that earlier question about application. You may recognize and affirm these 'items' (I hope you do), but are you utilizing or experiencing what Jesus has provided for you to spiritually survive (and even thrive) until he comes again? Some of you are struggling precisely because you have neglected these things. Some of you are going the right direction, but God is calling you to 'press in', even more. So when you feel the ache, the rub, the hunger, the pains of life in a 'Jesus-less' world, a world in which you cannot seem him face to face, open this 'survival kit' and, in faith, give thanks for and lay hold of the Spirit of God, the peace of God, and the love of God that's available from the people of God. Pray for wisdom to utilize and experience these things. Ask a brother or sister about utilizing and experiencing these things. Dig into Scripture and meditate on verses that speak about utilizing and experiencing these things. And do all this in faith, remembering who spoke these words to us. His sacrificial love for us went beyond the washing basin, didn't it? It took him all the way to the cross... for you. Until we stand in His presence, let's take full advantage of the amazing provision he described in these chapter, to not only survive, but to thrive by his grace.
More in Our Bible Reading Plan (2021-2022)
September 25, 2022Why Justice is Worth Singing About (Revelation 15)
September 18, 2022How to Conquer the Dragon (Revelation 12:11)
September 11, 2022The Heart Where Jesus is Knocking (Revelation 3:20)