Word from Scotland: 3 great questions about life after death
In John Chapter 13, we are in the Upper Room, where Jesus Christ is celebrating the Passover just hours before he is to be crucified.
Jesus Christ and His men are around that table. Jesus has made it clear that one of these men is going to betray Him. One of these men is about to commit treachery.
They are all wondering who the traitor can be. Simone Peter says to John the youngest of the twelve disciples – John, you are sitting next to Him – ask Him – and when John asks Jesus, Jesus gives the morsel of bread to Judas Iscariot. It was a last loving gesture. It was an appeal of love to reconsider – but NO – and Jesus says then, what you are about to do, do quickly. Get on with it, and Judas leaves the room and goes in that black dark night.
It is always black and dark when a man walks away from Jesus Christ. And yet, there is a full moon.
The atmosphere lifts and it is as though a heavy cloud rolls away and Jesus begins to talk of love and glory and the Father. He appears to be set free and released and liberated. It was as if Judas was hampering and hindering and restricting even the teaching and sharing of Jesus Christ.
Verse 31 onwards. Jesus begins to speak in terms of deep affection. He calls His men ‘my children’.
I will not be with you much longer. It is almost over. This phase is drawing to a close. We have been together for three years and now we have to part physically, but after I have gone I want you to stay together and love as I have loved you, with a holy pure clean clear love – as pure as you men can make it.
Jesus gives His men this new commandment – verse 34. This is how you are to live. This is the badge you are to wear – physically invisible, but certainly seen and noticed. When outsiders see this degree of love and loyalty some will want in on it, because there is very little love and loyalty out there. Jesus knew there were not many of these qualities in ‘the church of the day’ amongst the religious leaders.
Jesus loved His men right to the end, and He continues to love His disciples.
Jesus never criticised His disciples to anyone outside. Jesus never spoke about them behind their backs – except to the Father in prayer – and when they let Him down He did not go and look for another bunch of men.
This is how people will know we belong to Jesus – by the quality of our love – by the quality of our loyalty – because that is really what the word love means.
Judas looked the part, but he was not loving. His love was suspect. Judas could have spoken about being with Jesus and being called and chosen, but his testimony would have been only words. It was like Herod, when Jesus came into the world. It was all words, and words soon withered and died. He was not lovingly loyal to Jesus Christ.
Jesus has been speaking about going away and Peter asks, “Lord, where are you going?” You cannot come just now but that will be possible later.
Here are three great questions about life after death. Where is it? How are we to get there? Who are we going to meet? Jesus deals with these three important questions leaving no room for doubt.
This is typically Peter. I want to come with you – not just my feet but hands and head as well. Peter could not go just yet – not for another 30 years or so. He had work to do.
Do you not really like Peter? He makes so many blunders – like us – one after the other – and it does not matter which Gospel you read – and Jesus uses every blunder. We must try not to blunder our way through our Christian life, but if we do, and when we do, the risen and living Christ can still use us.
Jesus is so comforting and compassionate. I am going to prepare the Father’s House for you. Peter, I am going to get a room ready for you, and, I will come back and take you to the Father’s House!
I am going to prepare a place for you to come home to, and this is the same word used for “no room at the inn”.
There was no resting place for Jesus when He came into this world, but here he is saying to those who believe in Him – “There is going to be plenty of room for you.”
Now, Jesus does not say something He does not mean and He makes it clear that He will not leave us to make our own way there. I will come for you. If we belong to Jesus Christ – one day He will say – once our days of ministry and service are over and complete – Come on home now. The room is ready. You have followed Me all these years – now just continue to follow.” It is quite similar to Enoch, in Genesis Chapter 5.
You will not find more comforting words in the whole universe than these words of Jesus Christ to those whom He had called and to those whom He loved and loves.