When my kids were younger, my husband and I would leave instructions for them when we went out. We gave the dos and don’ts, the exceptions, and the consequences if rules weren’t followed.
As Jesus was preparing to finish His earthly ministry by dying on the cross to sacrifice Himself for us, He gave instructions for His disciples, as well as consequences if those instructions were ignored. They really didn’t realize what was about to happen. We have the benefit of knowing, so His words should hold more gravity for us on this side of His resurrection.
We’re told to love one another like Jesus loves us. (John 15:12-13)
Prepare for persecution as you follow Jesus, remembering the world hated Jesus too, and more importantly, first. (John 15:18-19)
These are not easy things, but we don’t need to worry about how we’ll persevere through them. Jesus reminds us we will always have the Holy Spirit to help us, and He reminds us of a sweet, anchoring truth in our closing verse for today’s reading in John 16:33.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Have courage, dear Sisters. When we are loved by the Merciful Father, rescued through the sacrifice of Jesus, and preserved by the Holy Spirit, we can survive hard things. More so, our inner spirits can thrive! We can stand boldly in the face of fear-inducing situations because He who has gone before us has paved the way for us, already attaining our final victory!
1) Pull out your Bible and read John 15 and 16 fully through 2 times. Then focus in on reading John 15 verses 9-17 several times through. Go slow. Emphasize different words each time you read it. Savor the message, and pray as you read. Write out verses 9-17 in your journal.
2) Each time you re-read verses 9-17, write down everything that pops out at you, makes you curious, or wonder “why?”. When you’re finished, go back through and you’ll be amazed at the new things the Spirit is leading you into knowing about Him!
3) Pay special attention to each instruction Jesus gives. Note how each is connected to an aspect of your relationship with Him. Pray over how these can be more connected in your life.
4) Memorize John 17:23
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
17 “This is what I command you: Love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own.
However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it,
the world hates you. 20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they don’t know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this happened so that the statement written in their law might be fulfilled: They hated me for no reason.
26 “When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. 2 They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their time comes you will remember I told them to you. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.
16 “In a little while, you will no longer see me; again in a little while, you will see me.”
17 Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this he’s telling us: ‘In a little while, you will not see me; again in a little while, you will see me,’ and, ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They said, “What is this he is saying, ‘In a little while’? We don’t know what he’s talking about.”
19 Jesus knew they wanted to ask him, and so he said to them,
“Are you asking one another about what I said, ‘In a little while, you will not see me; again in a little while, you will see me’? 20 Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. 21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world.
22 So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy from you.
23 “In that day you will not ask me anything. Truly I tell you, anything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
25 “I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name, and I am not telling you that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “Look, now you’re speaking plainly and not using any figurative language. 30 Now we know that you know everything and don’t need anyone to question you. By this we believe that you came from God.”
31 Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe?
32 Indeed, an hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.
You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!