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Lesson 11: The Spirit "Replaces" Jesus *

Introduction: My wife teaches the early grades in a Christian school. In the last year or so, a large number of her students have left the school because of a breakup of their home. In each case, the child became anxious about the future. Like everyone else, they enjoy the comfort of things being "the same" and they fear change. They do not want a parent to leave. John 13 ends with Jesus telling His disciples that He is leaving. They want to come along, they want the fellowship to continue. But, Jesus says, "no." Let's plunge into that conversation and consider how Jesus deals with their anxiety. What are His instructions for an immediate future without Him?

  1. Troubled Hearts

    1. Read John 14:1-4. What does Jesus say to His disciples to calm their separation anxiety? (He first asks them to trust Him. Then He tells them the separation will be limited. He will prepare a place for them and then come to get them.)

      1. If Jesus is coming back to get them, why would they (v.4) need to know how to get there?

    2. Read John 14:5. I like people who speak up when they do not understand. Thomas seems to regularly find himself unclear about the future and he speaks up. What do you think about the logic of Thomas' question?

      1. Remember what we learned about Thomas from John 11:9-11&16? How does John 14:5 build on our picture of Thomas? (When Jesus said He was going to "walk by day" over to Bethany, Thomas did not understand the spiritual aspect of Jesus' statement. He just looked at the practical. He is doing the same thing in John 14:5. He is a man who operates on a practical level.)

    3. Read John 14:6. What do you imagine Thomas thought of that answer?

      1. How does this answer the "which way to follow" question? (Jesus is not going to a place you could find on a map. You cannot "go there" by walking. Instead, the disciples have a spiritual journey ahead of them. This explains my question about why the disciples would need to know where to go if Jesus is picking them up. Jesus will take care of the "geography" of the journey, the disciples need to take care of their personal "preparation" for the journey. They have a spiritual journey. Jesus will take care of the physical trip.)

  2. Preparation for the Journey

    1. Read John 14:7. What is the key to coming to God? (Jesus wants us to "know" Him. Bible regular study is a key element to that.)

    2. Read John 14:12-14. What comes with faith in Jesus? (If we believe in Jesus, then we will do His works.)

      1. Jesus seems to say He will do anything for us. However, do you see any limitations on this promise in verse 13? (It seems the goal of this requests should be to bring "glory to the Father.")

        1. How many of your prayer requests are primarily aimed at bringing glory to you?

      2. If you have a prayer request that will glorify God, just stop and think for a moment about what Jesus has promised you.

    3. Read John 14:15-17. What is the result of loving Jesus? (Obedience to God's commands.)

    4. Let's review the "road map" that Jesus has laid out for His disciples spiritual journey. In John 14:6 Jesus explains He is "the way the truth and the life." Verse 12 says if we have faith in Jesus we will do what He has been doing. Verse 15 reveals that if we love Jesus, then our natural reaction is to obey Him. Having a relationship with Jesus is the first step, but the second step is unmistakable: obedience.

      1. Is the opposite true: that if we do not obey Jesus we do not have faith in Him or love Him?
    5. Jesus speaks (in verses 15-17) of obedience and then sending an Advisor.

      1. Are the two concepts linked? If so, how?

      2. What is Jesus going to do to help the disciples with this journey that begins with a relationship? (He is going to send us a "replacement" - the Holy Spirit.)

      3. Notice that the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of Truth." Why did Jesus call the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of Truth?" (To help you answer this, read John 16:7-11. The essential work of the Holy Spirit is to help us to understand and face the truth of God. How can you obey, how can you do the works of Jesus, without understanding "the truth" about your assignment?)

      4. Have you ever been angry with the reaction of the "world" toward Jesus? Have you ever been upset about the sinful attitudes of "leaders" in the world?

        1. Should you be? (In John 14:17 Jesus tells us that we should expect that "the world" will be ignorant of these spiritual truths. They do not see, know or accept the "Spirit of Truth." Why then would you expect them to understand the truth?)

        2. So often "the world" has the attitude that Christians are ignorant dopes. Is that what Jesus says? (Jesus teaches us that the situation is just the opposite. The world is ignorant of spiritual truths. Without the Holy Spirit they lack the tools to understand.)

          1. What, then, is the proper attitude we should have toward the world?

    6. Read John 14:26-27. What does the Holy Spirit do for us but not for the world? (Teaches us and reminds us of what Jesus has said.)

      1. Why is the Holy Spirit being sent in Jesus' name? (Jesus wants His disciples to be very clear that the Holy Spirit is His "replacement," His "representative.")

        1. What result does Jesus expect? (He wants His disciples to be at peace.)

        2. Consider Jesus' offer: an Advisor who will help you to understand God and give you peace. It is an offer made only to "insiders." Have you accepted the offer?

        3. Jesus says that His gift of the Holy Spirit is not the kind of gift the world gives. How is it different?

  3. Vine and Branches

    1. Read John 15:1-2. When Jesus says He is the "vine," what does He mean? (He is the source of our spiritual power.)

      1. How can Jesus be the vine when He says He is being replaced by the Holy Spirit? (Read John 14:19-20. While Jesus says that He is being "replaced" by the Holy Spirit, they are both part of the Trinity, the Godhead. It is in that way that Jesus can say that He is "in" His Father and that we are "in" Him. That connection with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit is the source of our power. See John 16:7-11, 14-15.)

      2. Notice the job of the gardener Father in John 15:2. It looks like we are in for either a "cutting off" or a "pruning." This sounds painful. Is it?

    2. Add verse 3 to John 15:2. Is being "clean" the same as being "pruned?" (In this case, yes.)

      1. What "cleaned" the disciples? (The words of Jesus. This gives me hope. My first reaction is that being pruned will no doubt be painful. However, if the word of Jesus can "prune" us, then Bible study coupled with the conviction of the Holy Spirit can "prune" us without having a painful experience.)

    3. Read John 15:4-5, 7-8. What can we look forward to if we remain connected to Jesus?

    4. Friend, are you on that spiritual journey of coming closer to Jesus? Is He the way and the truth in your life? He invites you to become one with Him. To be linked to Him just as a branch is linked to the vine. The result will be seen in your life!

  4. Next week: Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Friends.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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