6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: 1. He teaches us to wait on the Lord (vs. 33; 36-37). 2. He leads us to live the right way (vs. 34). 3. He helps us to witness for Him (vs. 34-35). 4. He works on our weaknesses (vs. 36-38).

How God Works in Our Lives

The Gospel of John

John 13:33-38

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - July 19, 2017

(Revised January 7, 2020)


*Please open your Bibles to John 13. Most of you know that in this chapter God's Word has moved forward to the night before the cross. Verse 31 tells us that Judas had already gone out to betray the Lord. And in these crucial moments Jesus prepared His disciples for the cross and the things that would come next.

*Last time we focused on the vital importance of the new commandment the Lord gave in vs. 34. There Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

*Tonight, we will take a broader look at this Scripture passage to see how God works in the lives of His people. Please think about that as we read vs. 33-38.


*Back when our children were young, the Hemphills had a popular kid's song that went like this:

"There really ought to be a sign upon my heart

Don't judge him yet, there's an unfinished part

But I'll be better just according to His plan

Fashioned by the Master's loving hands

He's still working on me

To make me what I ought to be

It took him just a week to make the moon and stars

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars

How loving and patient He must be

He's still workin' on me" (1)

*Yes, Christians: How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on us! Praise the Lord! Most of us are here right now, because we realize that God's not finished with us yet. We believe that Jesus has been at work in our lives, is at work in our lives, and will keep on working in our lives to make us all He wants us to be. Tonight's Scripture helps us see how God works in our lives.


*We all have to learn to wait on the Lord. Verse 33 reminds us of this truth. Here Jesus spoke to His 11 remaining disciples and said, "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you."

*The Lord had already said something very similar to the hard-hearted rulers of the Jews. It happened about 6 months before when Jesus was teaching in the Temple. By then, most of the Pharisees and chief priests wanted to kill Jesus. But many of the people were beginning to believe, and at that time the Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to arrest Jesus.

*John 7:30-34 says:

30. Then they sought to take Him (Jesus); but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.

31. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?''

32. The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.

33. Then Jesus said to them, "I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me.

34. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.''

*There in John 7, Jesus was warning the Christ-haters that that they would never be able to get to Heaven, unless they repented and received the Lord. Now in vs. 33, Jesus basically said the same thing. But here the Lord said it for a very different reason. Now it was the night before the cross, and Jesus knew that 40 days after His resurrection He would go back home to Heaven.

*The Lord was going to leave His followers behind, so countless other people could hear the good news of His cross. That's why Jesus basically told them, "I am going away, but you can't come yet. You're going to have to wait."

*Well, we don't generally like to wait. Ask an 8-year-old four weeks before Christmas. Ask a mom-to-be when she's about 8 months pregnant. Ask somebody stuck in traffic for more than a few minutes. Ask someone in the long line at McDonald's.

*We generally don't like to wait, and Peter felt the same way. In vs. 36-37:

36. Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?'' Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.''

37. Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You NOW? I will lay down my life for Your sake.''

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