I doubt the eleven disciples lingering around the table after the Passover meal had any idea of what was about to happen. I’m sure the threats from the Jewish authorities were in the back of their minds, but they were with Jesus. I imagine it as an almost electric combination of risk and excitement. Tensions were high, and something big would surely happen soon. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Surely nothing really bad could happen to Him. Even if there were a showdown with the religious leaders, they were able and determined men. They would almost welcome a chance to fight for their honor, and that of their Master. Determined to be loyal (and perhaps encouraged by each other’s bravado), they each insisted they would stick with Jesus to the death.
But Jesus’ words and demeanor just were not fitting together with their expectations. So while they were perhaps thinking of victory and honor, and helping their Master gain His rightful place on the throne of Israel, Jesus was talking of leaving them. He was explaining a journey beyond the grave, into the imminent reality of the eternal world. The Gospel of John records this beautiful discourse of Jesus in chapters 14-16. Harold Martin’s latest article discusses the first 27 verses of this discourse.
Today, we can look back on the events of Jesus’ life and see how they fit together. But as we read Jesus’ timeless words, we are compelled to consider a time still future even for us. We live in a continual tension between what’s past and known, and what’s future and not fully known. It’s here that decisions are made which set the course of eternity for each individual. It’s here, between the bedrock of facts and the vision of faith, that God has called us to glorify Him. Keep pressing toward the mark! That which is promised will come!