S2E4: Final Instructions
Beginnings /:4:/ The Upper Room.
Best known as the place of the Last Supper, the Upper Room is also the place of Jesus' most emphatic teaching and final instructions to His disciples. It's here, during the Passover meal, that He reiterates and reinforces the "Great Commandment" of Love and how to put it into practice.
Scripture Covered: John 13-17
Themes: Abiding love, discipleship, servant leadership; a powerful method for ministry and a model for living the abundant Christian life.
Daily Reading Plan for this Series - totally optional... Just Show Up!
With the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus confirmed His power over death. The raising of Lazarus marked the inflection point in John's Gospel where the narrative shifts from miraculous affirmations of Jesus divinity, humanity and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, to an emphasis on the fulcrum of Jesus earthly ministry— the love-inspired solution to the human condition through Jesus' own death and resurrection.
In this section of John's Gospel, Jesus inaugurates His Kingdom reign with a gesture of humility by washing the disciples' feet. This marks the climax of His entire ministry and reinforces the rules of His Kingdom in which sacrificial service is the hallmark of His authority, leadership and love. What follows this demonstration of servant leadership is colorful instruction by Jesus for how to follow Him in everyday life on the other side of the cross, and how to do ministry the "Jesus way." John 13-17 has become known as the "Upper Room Discourse" or the "Last Discourse" in which Jesus imparts final instructions to His disciples, which have been passed down to us.
For context of what's happening in this part of Jesus' ministry according to John's Gospel, check out The Bible Project's video below that highlights the the second-half of John's Gospel.
During our gathering we reviewed John 13-17, which is commonly known as the "Upper Room Discourse" or the "Last Discourse" before Jesus suffered and died to restore humanity's relationship with God, once for all (amen!). In these 5 chapters Jesus packs in a full summary of His earthly ministry, providing reminders and examples for how His disciples are to continue His ministry, and how all disciples are to live in the world until He comes again.
The Upper Room has become a model for mission through service and sacrifice. He also promises and confirms the Holy Spirit who comes to guide, guard, and empower disciples to "abide" (remain) in the "True Vine" (Jesus) after His ascention to Heaven. Jesus describes our dependence on Him, the true source of life and fruit-bearing power, using the word "abide" 40 times in John's Gospel. Thus, our gathering focused primarily on reviewing the model and pattern of Christian living or "abiding" that John emphasized so strongly.
Jesus offers us an invitation to "come" to Him, and to "come follow" Him as He continues His work in the world. The strength and power to bear fruit in following Jesus begins by "abiding" in God's love, which is poured into us by the Holy Spirit. Success in all endeavors comes from overflow of God's power poured into us. Read through the notes from our gathering to learn a biblical method for abiding in Christ to experience and enjoy the abundant Christian Life.