Summary: This is the fourth sermon in a series about Jesus being The Great Nevertheless. He keeps wonderfully surprising us. Using the Lord’s "nevertheless" statement in the KJV we get a delightful glimpse of our awesome Savior.
THE NEVERTHELESS OF HIS GOING AWAY John 16:1-16
• Saying good-bye is never easy, whether it’s at an airport, a family reunion, or the deathbed of a loved one. The Last Supper was no exception. For Jesus and His disciples, this was their last meal together.
• The task of Jesus on earth was drawing to a close. He had been with His disciples for over 3 years. Now He comes and says to them, “I’m leaving you”. Do you think they were joyous over His news?
• No, they were more than sad. They were so sorry for themselves, they were whining. “Oh, Jesus it’s going to be hard for us if you leave. If you go Jesus, who is going to calm the storms? Who is going to miraculously provide bread for us in the desert? Oh Jesus, you can’t go! You are going to make things too hard for us.”
• It was a lot easier for these disciples when Jesus was with them to do all their work for them, to take care of everything for them, but now He was going away. They were feeling sorry for themselves.
• Yet Jesus acts as if they should be glad.
• He is the Great Nevertheless, so different than we are. His ways are above and beyond ours.
• This is our 4th out of 6 sermons looking at how Jesus is the Great Nevertheless.
o The nevertheless of His caring & love – Lazarus
o The nevertheless of His continuing – in spite of Herod’s threats
o The nevertheless of His surrendering – Gethsemane
o And today we consider the nevertheless of His going away
• Jesus had been preparing, teaching, and training these disciples and now He is leaving them. Why the sudden shift in investing in them only to up and leave them? Jesus tells us in verse 7.
1. “I tell you the truth”
• “Let this sink in. Listen carefully because I’m about to tell you something very important!”
• All of us need to take seriously what God says.
• Satan would love to get us to ignore or doubt what God says – Genesis 3:1
• Notice the recurring phrase “these things”. You can count on what I’m saying. One day you’ll be able to look back and understand, but now you must believe Me. “These things” will happen!
a. He was going - Jesus was serious. He wasn’t joking. He was leaving them.
b. His disciples would find it rough going
1) He was giving them a warning. When He left they would stumble. They would be excommunicated and killed.
2) Because of verse 5, He was spending time explaining to them.
3) And Jesus wants us to know that our Christian walk will be tough going as well. Being a disciple of Jesus is extremely difficult. Following a Lord that we can’t see is not easy.
2. “It is expedient for you that I go away”
• “for you” – Whatever was drawing Jesus away was somehow supposed to be good for Jesus disciples.
• His departure seemed so disastrous. Yet Jesus said it would be to their profit.
• Why would His leaving be good?
a. Better for them not to be dependent on the visible
1) For 3 ½ years they had become so accustomed to having the bodily presence Jesus with them.
2) Remember later after Jesus had risen from the dead and Mary Magdalene comes to the garden? John 20:17
3) Remember after Jesus had risen, Thomas wanted to “touch” him? He was walking by sight.
4) [Illus] - When I was 8 or 9 years ago we had a pastor resign our church in Rhode Island. The church was growing at a fast clip. The pastor had his own TV program. The reason he gave for leaving was that too many people were coming because of him and not enough were coming because of the Lord.
5) God wants each of His followers to walk by faith and not by sight. It would be best for the disciples if he removed His bodily presence from them. It was getting in the way of them walking by faith.
b. Better understanding of Christ
1) There were too many things happening that the disciples were not able to comprehend.
2) Much of what Jesus had taught them had gone unheeded because they hadn’t sunk in.
3) The disciples were too close to the trees that they could not see the forest
c. Better opinion of death
1) If Jesus stayed on earth, then His disciples as well as each of us would dread death because it would separate us from Him.
2) But now He is in heaven waiting for us.
3) I do not fear death. He conquered it – He plowed a hole through it – He waits on the other side.