Jesus is preparing His Disciples for the coming trouble related to His Death and Resurrection work on the cross. Adversity is about come mightily and will not waver for anybody.
The incredibly long preparation can be found in the following Scriptures, which you may use for reference purposes: Mark 13-14:42; Matthew 24-26:46; Luke 21-22:46; John 12:2-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
We see the following in preparation: Occasion of the Prophecy about the destruction of the Temple; inquiry for further light from Peter and James and John and Andrew on Christ’s Second Coming and the End of the World; Sign for the destruction of Jerusalem:
- False Christs;
- The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (The Parable of the Fig Tree).
Readiness is urged by a series of Parables:
- The Parable of the Porter
- The Parable of the Master of the House
- The Parable of the Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant
- The Parable of the Ten Virgins
- The Parable of the Talents
- The Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Picture of the Judgment)
The Whole Story on Eschatology
Jesus explains what we need to know, which is what He taught to His Disciples in regards to eschatology. This was serious, as Jesus told them the time is near. Let’s explore…
Jesus had spoken through Parables and other teachings about going away and Returning in Glory, to which would be the climax of the age introducing the Triumph of His Kingdom and Final Judgment. His Disciples have connected the dots on these events well, and know about the predicted destruction of Jerusalem. However, they connected the Second Coming of the Messiah with the predicted destruction of the Temple. They asked Him what significance these events would occur before these final events of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age.
Jesus told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were not (necessarily) connected with the Return of the Messiah or the end of the age. They were not to believe rumors they might hear occasionally about the Messiah had already returned, because there will always be false prophets that try to attract a following for themselves; therefore, they were not to think that all wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. were sure signs of the end times being near.
The end would not come, nonetheless, until the Gospel had spread through the entire world, and this goal would be reached only after much opposition (persecutions). God’s servants would endure persecution, be betrayed by friends, and many would be killed. Only by love and faith in God would people be able to endure their trials; however, even if their sufferings resulted in death, God would preserve them for His Heavenly Kingdom.
The people of Jesus’ day would probably not see the final events of world history; however, many would see the foreshadowing of such events and witness the horror of the destruction of Jerusalem. Seeing the Roman armies approaching the city, people would run in horror without even taking their stuff. They would escape and try to get away even in winter or harsh weather conditions that would just slow them down. They would even escape on the Sabbath (even if restricted).
Women and children would suffer especially, as the enemy’s savage attack would be the most terrible and destructive than anything they have ever known, and if God did not stop them, no one would be left alive. The event would repeat the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes, but worse (the abomination of desolation).
Anyway, false prophets would continue to draw Jesus’ Disciples into their group with clever tricks and comforting words, assuring them that he was the messiah who had returned and was hiding in a safe house. The Disciples of Jesus were not to believe these rumors, because Jesus’ Return would be sudden, open, and startling just like lightning. When God intervenes, He will do so greatly, and it will be obvious! The Present Age will end as Jesus Returns in Power and Glory to save His People and judge His enemies.
Just as the first leaves on the fig tree indicate summer’s arrival, so it will be when the Disciples see the false messiahs come, as well as the persecution and approach of the Roman armies—to which, they will know the Destruction of Jerusalem and the nation is upon them. People of Jesus’ day would see this fulfilled in their lifetime.
As far as the day when the Lord Jesus Christ would Return in His Kingdom, no one knows when that will be except for the Father in Heaven! People will be carrying on with their routines, ignoring God’s warnings just as the people did in the days of Noah when the Lord was working through him. However, just as the flood came, which was God’s means of judgment on those people, the same will be with Jesus’ Return when He brings judgment on sinners and Salvation to His People. It will be unexpected just as a thief would be breaking into a house while the owner sleeps. The Disciples of Jesus Christ must be fully prepared for His Return all the time, and must not settle down to a life of self-pleasing; however, we must all live faithfully for Him.
(Soon, we see three stories recorded from Jesus that give a discourse on what He just taught. He would be leaving the Earth for an unknown amount of time, and then Return in Glory. Those who had prepared themselves for His Return would enter His Kingdom with joy, but those who did not would lose out. Three reasons for people’s failures are detailed as thoughtlessness, laziness, and/or indifference!)
For the first Parable… At a marriage, a bridegroom with his friends brought the bride from her father’s house to his own house, where a feast was being held for the wedding. This was the procession that the ten girls had met; however, some of the girls were foolish and did not consider that the bridegroom might not come at the time they expected. When his arrival was delayed, they were unprepared. Soon, he arrived, but there was no time for preparations; therefore, the foolish girls were locked outside of the house with no further chance of getting into the wedding feast. In this same way, because of carelessness, many people would not be prepared for Jesus’ Return, and therefore, they would miss out on the blessings that the Kingdom brings.
For the second Parable… A businessman went on a journey, but left his business in care of three trusted workers. He gave money to them, which varied according to their abilities. Two of them worked well and made good profits; however, the third one was lazy and did nothing. Once the owner returned, he was pleased with the first two men whom he rewarded; however, the third one (lazy) tried to excuse himself by saying he might have traded at a loss so he didn’t want to anger his employer. He received a reply that if he thought his employer was so hungry for money that he looked only for profits and was uninterested in honest work, he would have just put his money in the bank. Then he would have at least gained profits through interest.
The meaning of this is that God gives people different skills and abilities, and they need to use these in the business of expanding His Kingdom. Those using their gifts will be reward with increased abilities; however, those that neglect such gifts would become useless. The Day of Reckoning will bring joy for some, and disappointment for the others.
The third Parable… He talks about His Return in Power and Glory to judge the world. His Judgment is revealed for anyone—not just specific people—for there are only two types of people in the world: sheep and goats as typified in this story. The “sheep” are God’s People, who have given proof of this by practical love shown to others, even at expense of convenience or comfort, which is from their ability to be selfless. They may not be aware of the good things they do or what appreciation people have of them. However, Jesus does notice and has identified Himself with the needy, because He sees the kindness done to them as if done to Him.
The “goats” then are those who are selfish—always looking out for their own interests, but lacking interest in the misery and suffering of others. In this, it shows their lack of love for Jesus, as they know nothing of His Character and have not learned to deny themselves for His Sake. There is no place for them in His Kingdom, for their punishment is certain. Just as in the story of the ten girls or the three employees, people condemn themselves by failure of doing good things rather than just being deliberately wrong in actions and deeds.
Jesus predicts His crucifixion two days hence
On Tuesday Evening, the beginning of the Jewish Wednesday, Jesus predicts His crucifixion to take place, “after two days.” This would be the Jewish Friday. The rulers in Jerusalem plot His death. The time for a greater deliverance has now arrived, as Jesus would die as the true Passover Lamb that would bear the penalty of sin to release sinners from bondage. People in Jerusalem were excited as the festival approached, and the chief priests planned to wait until it finished before arresting Jesus, because they did not want a riot on their hands.
While Jesus “was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper (former leper for Jesus had healed him), as Jesus sat at meat,” Mary anoints Jesus for His burial. This anointing has nothing in common with that given by Luke 7:36-50, except the face of a woman anointing the Savior’s feet. The name, “Simon,” was common among the Jews. The first anointing was in Galilee; this anointing is at Bethany, near Jerusalem.
Take special note that Mary here in Bethany is anticipating Jesus’ speedy death and burial, of which, there is no distinct mention in the Galilean anointing. In view of all these differences, it is absurd to represent the two anointings as the same.
Judas (Iscariot) objected that the use of this expensive perfume was a waste of money; however, Jesus told His Disciples that He would be with them only a little longer before crucifixion. Therefore, Mary’s act of devotion was the symbolic anointing of His Body in preparation for burial.
Judas bargained with feast rulers to betray Jesus
Judas, stung by the rebuke of Jesus at the Feast, bargains with the Rulers to betray Jesus, “And they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver.” He could advise them of His movements so that they could arrest Him quietly without the people knowing about it.
Paschal Meal Prep
The day is Thursday Afternoon, a day of preparation, the preparation for the Paschal Meal at the home of a friend. (It is possible that it was at John Mark’s parent’s home.) Thursday was spent wholly with the Disciples until the arrest in Gethsemane after midnight.
It is usual that the Jews would kill the sacrificial lamb on the afternoon of Passover day, and eat it altogether on that night. Jesus knew He was to die as the sacrificial lamb on Passover day, and therefore, He prepared the meal a day earlier. He would eat it with His Disciples the evening before Passover, but probably without a lamb, since He was to be the lamb.
Jesus knew the Jews had sought for Him; therefore, Jesus made careful arrangements for the feast, so that no one knew where it would be held, except for two unnamed Disciples who other Disciples did not even know. This prevented Judas from sharing any information to the Jewish leaders, to avoid immediate threat. Two Disciples met two others and prepared the place for the Passover (“Upper Room”), as well as the food and drink for the meal.
Jesus eats the Paschal meal
It is Thursday Evening after sunset, the beginning of the Jewish Friday. Jesus partakes of the Paschal Meal with the Twelve Apostles and rebukes their jealousy. Jesus has sat down at the table with the Twelve Apostles with Him. He had wished to eat with them before He was to suffer, as He would not eat it again until it is fulfilled in His Kingdom. He was about to break bread with them.
Then washes the Disciples’ feet
When they were gathered for the meal, Jesus became the servant and washed the Disciples’ feet. This would typify His humility and that He would cleanse people from sin. Peter did not understand this and therefore he objected. Jesus told him if he refused to let Jesus cleanse him, he could not be Jesus’ Disciple.
By the cleansing, Jesus referred to cleansing from sin, which is something that Peter would understand in its fullness after His death and Resurrection. Peter thought if he was to be cleansed for his feet, maybe all over would suffice better. However, he again did not realize what Jesus was doing. The Disciples (except Judas) were cleansed all over, and needed no further cleansing. The feet cleansing was not for actual cleansing (according to the Law), but it was symbolic for humility.
Jesus gave the Disciples an example that if He, their Lord and teacher, had humbled Himself by washing their feet—how much more should they, His servants, humble themselves to serve each other. Jesus knew of the traitorous work of Judas; however, the rest of them were His servants and messengers who received Him and His Father!
Aha! Judas is the betrayer
The Disciples were astonished that one of them would betray Jesus, because they did not know of any treachery among them. Some of them thought that one of them might do so carelessly; however, Judas knew what Jesus meant and asked Him if it was he, and Jesus said it was so. Jesus then honored Judas by dipping a piece and giving it to him, hoping to change his heart on the matter; however, Judas’ heart was already locked in evil plans. Jesus seemed to only know Judas’ intentions, so the others did not suspect him. Judas departed from the room soon after, which made the death of Christ certain.
Disciples warned against desertion
Judas had departed from them quickly. Meanwhile, they become aware that Jesus’ death would Glorify the Father in Heaven, as He showed His immeasurable Love on display for sinful people. However, they were to show no bitterness in any grief they have about His death, but rather, a forgiving love. He repeats that they should love one another as He has loved them. People should know of His Disciples by the way that they love!
Jesus knew that they would all run away and leave Him in His final house, as sheep that scatter in panic when the shepherd is killed. Peter boldly assures Jesus that even though the others leave Him, he would never do so. However, Jesus knew Peter better than he himself knew, and told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed.
Peter reassured Him that He would not deny Him. However, Peter would do great things in the future to help the Disciples. Jesus told them to prepare for the new life ahead, which is tougher than anything they had previously experienced, as they would have to preserve their lives. However, the Disciples misunderstood Jesus as well; however, Jesus felt He said enough and left them to think about it.
The First Communion
Jesus took some of the bread and wine, gave thanks, and then gave it to the Disciples as symbols of His Body and Blood being offered in sacrifice. His Blood is the sealing of God’s Covenant, which is the unconditional promise of forgiveness and Eternal Life to all those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Just as the Israelites kept the Passover as a remembrance of God’s Gracious Work in saving them back then, Jesus desires the Disciples to keep the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the One through whose death they are saved of sin and given Eternal Life. Eventually, when Jesus Returns, there will be no more need of bread and wine remembrance, as He and His People will be together in His Eternal Kingdom!
What is vital here: His Body and His Blood are our food for the soul. It is to be a Remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made to redeem us of our sins. By partaking of the Bread and Wine, we are celebrating and remembering what He did on the cross, which allows our hearts to remain focused on Him with gratitude and hopeful sincerity. Paul warns, however, that one must do this remembrance in sincerity, as taking this is as taking Him as our Lord and Life! If there is any insincerity, it should not be taken, because the heart must be open to remain in touch with His Redemptive Work, so that we may receive the blessing of this sacred ordinance.
Discourse in the Upper Room
Jesus was surely about to die and the Disciples knew this. He comforted them by saying He was going to the Father to prepare a permanent place for them that they can dwell, so that one day, He will return to take them with Him forever! As His Loyal Disciples, they would share in His Final Victory!
Thomas, however, misunderstood, and thought Jesus was speaking of a physical location and journey; therefore, he wanted Jesus to show them the way so that they would have no difficulty in finding Him later at the right time. Jesus explained that the way to the Father was only through the Son, and that Jesus had brought the truth of God and Eternal Life to mankind. To know Him was to know God.
Philip misunderstood, as he wanted special revelation of the Father, even though he clearly knew the Father and the Son were inseparable. Everything Jesus did were directly from the Father’s deeds and words. When Jesus returned to the Father, He told them that they would receive the Holy Ghost, and that, through the Power of the Spirit, they would do even greater works than Jesus had done. His Ministry was limited to a few years around their general regions; however, the Disciples would be able to travel near and far to reach the world for God! A new era was about to encompass them as Jesus returned to the Father!
When Jesus returned to the Father, He would send the Holy Ghost as the Helper, counselor, guide, and one to help instruct and strengthen them. Those that did not believe in Jesus would not be able to understand how this Helper worked, because their understanding was limited to worldly things. Soon, Jesus would leave the world, but not desert His Disciples, because He would live within them. He would continue to love them, and they would love Him.
Judas Thaddeus (not the betrayer) was still thinking of His Physical Body, and could not understand how the Disciples could see Him, but no one else could not. He replied that not only the Son, but the Father also, would live with them, as long as they gave proof they loved Him by obeying Him, especially with help from the Teacher, the Holy Ghost! Jesus saw the Disciples’ continual confusion, to which they were promised peace. Jesus did not mean they would live perfect lives without trouble, but that they would have more inward peace, even if they were outwardly affected.
The Disciples should not worry over His coming death, but be glad that by His death, completion of the Work of the Father would happen. Even though Jesus was sinless and not under the devil’s power, He would allow satan’s servants to betray and kill Him, so that through His death, He might fulfill the Father’s Will for Salvation!
Discourse on the way to Gethsemane
All that a believer in Jesus Christ has comes from Jesus Christ. He is like the vine, and we are like the branches, which mean that they can bear spiritual fruit only as they are united in Him. As believers allow the Father to remove hindrances, such as sin, from their lives, they will bear even more fruit. Those who do not bear fruit are like the dead branches of a vine—as they are not attached to it, they receive no life from it. They may say they are Disciples of Him; however, they have no union with Him and will be destroyed in the end, just as Judas Iscariot was.
If people claim to be His True Disciples, they must prove it by their spiritual fruits that result from union with Christ, such as obedience, love, joy, good prayer, etc. Jesus wants them to serve Him willingly, with love and understanding. This is why He chose the Disciples, because they were trained to know God’s Ways, and if their service was based on the knowledge of God and of love, they can expect lasting fruit.
Union with Christ brings suffering, however, and because of their relationship to Him, they would be hated by the world. Loyalty to Christ brings persecution, and Jesus’ teaching and work clearly showed His Divinity. Those that saw and heard Christ had no excuse for unbelief, for their clearer knowledge increased guilt in their lives, to which, they may have claimed to worship God, but they hated Jesus, which also meant they hated God.
The Disciples believed upon Christ, and would receive the Spirit and His Help during the difficult times ahead. They could expect roughness ahead, and therefore, when Christ departed, the Holy Ghost would come and help the Disciples in defending them and opposing the persecutors. He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This means sin is the cause of unbelief in Christ, and that Jesus’ death is the way to God, which is proved through His Resurrection and Ascension. Judgment for sinners is certain, because satan has been conquered by the death of Jesus.
Jesus could not speak much more to the Disciples, because of how grieved they were. After He left them, the Holy Ghost would come unto them and help them understand. The teaching brought to them could concern the present and the future; therefore, it should confirm things for them. Jesus would soon be taken from them, but return in a few days. Their sorrow will become joy just as a woman’s pains before birth are replaced with joy after the birth when she sees her child. Jesus’ victory through death and Resurrection would bring confidence in God that they had never partaken before. Jesus would be the mediator or intercessor that they can pray through to the Father and receive His Blessings!
Many of the Disciples would understand completely what Jesus has been saying all along after His Resurrection, which would speak of the purpose of His Mission. They would no longer depend upon Jesus to pray for them; therefore, they would have to learn to pray personally and with confidence (especially based upon the instructions that He gave them concerning prayer). This is only possible because of who Jesus was and what He had done!
Jesus’ words had strengthened the Disciples’ faith; however, they failed to realize that a few hours later, their faith would be tested, as they would be frightened and confused on forsaking their Lord in His final hours. The lapse in faithfulness, nonetheless, would only be temporary, as through His Victory, they would Triumph!
The Intercessory Prayer
Jesus now prays before the Lord God fervently, in reflection of the Triumph of the completed work. He begins by speaking of His relationship with the Father, and that His Will was to reveal God to the world so that people could receive Eternal Life through Him. He prays to the Lord that by dying on the cross and thus finishing the work successful, He would Glorify God. This is also in hopes that Glory would be found in Christ through this, as He would ascend to His Father and sit at His Right Hand where He belonged originally.
Only some believed in Him and knew He was God and that He had come from the Father to make Him known. In other words, Jesus came to reveal the Father, and in doing so, was rejected by most, but acknowledged by some. That remnant would be His People—His True People that is, who are going to share in His Coming Kingdom that He will Rule in Eternally.
Next, He prays that His Disciples would live in a way to show His Glory to the world, so that their unity will display a similar unity as the Father is to the Son. He wants His Disciples to remains as faithful to Him as possible so they will not be defeated by evil in the world. He wants them to share with Him the Triumph and Joy that shall come through the completion of the Will of the Father. As Jesus leaves the world, His Disciples will continue the work. He prays that they will not be discouraged by hatred or even corrupted by sin. Jesus gave Himself to God to carry out His Work, so He desires that His Disciples would give themselves to God to spread His Message in the entire world.
Finally, Jesus prayed for those that would believe through the preaching of that first group of Disciples and become God’s new people, the Christian Church. He prays that the same unity that exists between the Father and Son would bind all of the Disciples together in one family so that through them others would believe as well, to which in the age to come enjoying of the Glory that was His before the world began. Those that have trusted in Him will be there with Him in the Triumphant Kingdom of God that He will Rule and Reign over! Meanwhile, even though there is unbelief in the present world, many people will come to Christ and share in the Love that the Father has for the Son (by being joint-heirs in a way). The world will begin to know God when the world sees the Love of Jesus in His People!
The Synoptic Gospels do not give the great discourse of Jesus in John 14-17. Hence they represent Jesus as going forth to Gethsemane after the institution of the supper. The time was probably not long, and they apparently sang the hymn (probably one of the Psalms; Mark 14:26/Matthew 26:30), as they rose to leave the Upper Room in John 14:31. Thus, the passage in John 15-17 comes in between singing the hymn and reaching Gethsemane. Gethsemane was an open garden, between the Brook Kedron and the foot of the Mount of Olives. It is late in the night introducing Friday, and Jesus suffers long and in horrible agony.
All of them sung a hymn, as they departed to the Mount of Olives and then into Gethsemane. Coming upon Gethsemane, it is about midnight when He and His Disciples arrived. Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and moved to a spot to which they could be alone. He was filled with anguish and horror as He saw what death meant for Him, as the others sympathized with Him. He had to battle temptation to avoid suffering that lies ahead; however, the battle was something He had to fight and win alone. The “cup of suffering” that caused Jesus such anguish was not just about a physical suffering event, but rather, also an inner agony as He, the Sinless One, was to take upon Himself the sin of human creatures, and bore the wrath on their behalf.
No one else could know the pain, but Christ, as He had a human will, and knowing that He must complete the Father’s Will; therefore, conflict arose within. He fought against temptation in avoiding the cross, and his agony was so intense that He had sweat blood. However, He won the battle, and was determined to do the Father’s Will. Jesus saw the weakness that the Disciples had, and told them to be alert and pray for strength, as they would be tested soon. They would face a temptation to deny Jesus so that they may save themselves.
What do we learn here: We may come upon battles that are tough, even to win on our own; however, we don’t have to fight them alone, for He provides the strength we need and will assist us when we call out to Him!