Summary: Our faith will outlive our lives.
Jesus is getting ready to leave John 13:31-38
I’m sure you’ve realized that I just skipped the section on Judas which is from verses 18-30 and I did this for the simple reason that I covered this passage a while ago. So, if you weren’t here or if you just want to hear it again you can see the man in the sound booth and I’m sure that he can get you the CD.
In case you haven’t noticed it yet, John’s book is very logical in the sense that it has a five fold division. In chapters 1-4 we have the introduction of Jesus as the light of the world. In chapters 5-8 we have the growing hostility toward the Lord on the part of the religious leaders. Then in chapters 9-12 Jesus is calling out a people for Himself. And in chapters 13-17 we have the final messages that are given to His disciples. And then in chapters 18-21 we have the last events which include His arrest, trial, crucifixion and then His resurrection and final charge to His disciples.
And the flow of this book runs all the way from the general to the specific. Now, let me show you what I mean. In chapter 1:4 it says, “In Him was life and this life was the light of man.” What does He mean that His life was the light of man? What He’s talking about is every man. And this verse is telling us that life and He’s referring to eternal life is for all men everywhere. That’s who it was meant for and that’s who He’s offering it to. Remember that Jesus was the one who said, “For God so loved the world” and that means every person in it.
And then in verse 11 of the same chapter it says, “He came unto His own.” And do you remember who His own were? They were the Jews. And in essence this says that He came to one race (He came to the Jews) He came to them out of the many races that are found in the world. Why? Because He wanted to.
And then verse 12 says, “But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name.” So, He came to the world at large, He came through and to the Jewish people and then it says He came to them that believe on His name and that’s the offer of salvation. It’s to the whole world, through the Jews and available to every individual who receives it by faith.
And I believe that so far we’ve also seen two examples or two variations of God’s grace. First, there is what’s known as His general grace and this grace or goodness of God is evident in that He provides rain and sunshine for the righteous as well as the wicked. In other words, all people everywhere are the recipients of God’s goodness. Thieves, murderers and abusers of others, they all enjoy the same sunshine, food and fresh water that you and I do. And that’s what’s known as the general grace of God.
And then we have God’s specific grace and here we are talking about salvation. And I’m sure we are aware that not everyone is going to be saved regardless of what God did or what God does, because we all begin life with a free will and God isn’t going to override our will and drag us into heaven. He designed us to make a choice and now it’s up to us.
So, we can say that there are some things for all men in terms of God’s general grace and then we have all things for some men in terms of God’s specific grace. And in either case God’s grace is His unmerited favor towards mankind. In other words, it’s freely given to all who will receive it. And in terms of His general grace, He’s provided food to eat and clothes to wear but if you refuse, then it’s your fault not His. And in terms of His specific grace, He’s provided salvation and if you don’t want it or aren’t interested then there’s nothing He can do. He won’t violate your free will.
Now, let me just begin this passage of scripture with a story and I do this not only because we all like to hear a story but also because Jesus usually began His messages with a story. Do you remember when Jesus wanted to teach His disciples to pray, He didn’t give them a five point lecture on the need of prayer and then a demonstration of the how and where of prayer. He told them the parable of the persistent widow and He showed them how she kept coming back until she almost drove the king crazy. And a picture like that will last an awful lot longer than any lecture.