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Lesson 10: Jesus Won Their Confidence *

Introduction: Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that what God desires most in my life is an attitude of trust in Him. What do you think God desires most of you? I imagine that if I heard your answers, I could tie them all to trust. If you think that God most desires your love, that would mean that you trust Him. If you think God most desires your obedience, that means that you trust that His directions in life are best. Just as we need to trust God, so we need to help others to trust. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Trusting Jesus

    1. Read John 13:33. How do you think the disciples felt about this?

      1. Would it be a blow to know that they were being treated just like "the Jews?" (Jesus is going to leave them and they cannot come and they cannot find Him. In that regard they are like everyone else.)

    2. Read John 13:34-35. What does this have to do with being left behind?

    3. Read John 13:36-37. Do you think Peter is paying any attention to the "love one another" statement Jesus just made? (No! He is still extremely troubled about Jesus leaving - and leaving him behind.)

      1. Why does Peter think he should be able to come? (Because he would die for Jesus.)

      2. Is Peter's willingness to die tied to the verses he ignored - that Jesus' disciples should love one another? (The ultimate act of love is giving up your life for another.)

    4. Read John 13:38. When you think about the story of Peter's denial and Jesus' crucifixion (Matthew 26-27), can you begin to see the great sadness that Peter felt after he let Jesus down? Have you felt that kind of sadness?

    5. Read John 14:1. What is Jesus asking of the disciples? (He asks them to trust Him. He asks them to have confidence in Him.)

    6. Read John 14:2-4. It turns out that the disciples can follow Jesus after all! What is the great hope of the disciples? (Heaven!)

    7. Let's revisit some odd things Jesus said. Re-read John 13:36. What does Jesus mean "you will follow later?" (John 13 takes place just before Jesus' death. When Jesus tells the disciples they cannot follow, He seems to be primarily talking about his suffering and death. Later in life, they will suffer and die for Jesus. It is Jesus' suffering and death that gives them the hope of heaven - which is the place where they can follow Him!)

      1. What does this sequence of events; Jesus' suffering, crucifixion and resurrection, teach us about confidence? (It is when we are suffering (or those we love are suffering) that retaining confidence in God's ultimate victory is most important.)

      2. When Peter says that he is willing to die for Jesus ( John 13:37), does this show that Peter truly understands that Jesus is talking about following Him into the death of crucifixion?

    8. Read John 14:5. It seems that Thomas is not the smartest of the disciples, but I'm sure he is asking a question they would all like to have answered. How would you answer this question based on your current knowledge? How can they follow Jesus?

    9. Read John 14:6. I'm sure Thomas is still confused by that answer! He was looking for a street address. How do you understand Jesus' answer? (The path to heaven goes "through" Jesus. Jesus' coming death and resurrection, if we understand and accept("the way and truth"), will give us eternal life.)

    10. Read John 14:8-11. On what basis is Jesus asking for us to have confidence in Him? To have confidence that He is the Son of God? (His words, His life and His miracles.)

  2. Trusting Us: the Goal

    1. Read John 14:12. For what reason can we do "greater things" than Jesus? (Because Jesus is "going to the Father.")

      1. Why do you think that is true? (The only logical answer seems to be that we are now taking the place of Jesus on earth in terms of bringing people to God.)

    2. Read John 14:13-14. Have you found this promise to be true? Have you asked for something in the name of Jesus and not received it?

      1. I suspect all of us can answer, "yes." If so, how do you explain what seems to be a very clear promise? (The context of the promise is this: inspiring confidence and belief in Jesus and the Father, and bringing glory to them. Was your request about bringing glory to God or bringing glory to you?)

    3. Read John 14:15-17. If we are now the agents of God, what help do we have? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. Let's think about this a moment. Jesus tells the disciples to trust in Him, says that He is going away, and we are now His agents. What is our task when it comes to confidence? (At a minimum, it seems that we want people to trust us as God's agents. If Jesus linked trust in God to trust in Him, it seems this work is now being passed on to us. The big difference, of course, is that Jesus is God and we are not!)

      2. Jesus says ( John 14:15) "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." What, exactly, is Jesus commanding? (Trusting Jesus and bringing others to trust God.)

    4. Read John 14:18-21. Jesus just told us that the Holy Spirit lives in us. Now He says that we (Jesus, the Father and us) are all "in" each other. He says that we will see Him. What does this strange language mean? (At a minimum, it means that we have a very close relationship.)

      1. Again Jesus speaks of obedience and love. I am convinced that Jesus gave us His commands to make our lives better, rather than as a standard to judge us. This text takes our understanding even deeper. Why would keeping Jesus' commands allow Him to "love and show" Himself to us? (If God gave us His commandments as a roadmap to a better life, that connects God's love to obedience. Obeying God makes our life better.)

        1. How does obedience to God's commands allow us to better see God? How does this "show" us God? (A lot of the commands have to do with how we treat others. This helps us to better understand God.)

  3. Trusting Us: the Caution

    1. Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2. What are the two cautions God gives us about His rules? (Do not add to them or subtract from them.)

      1. If we fail to follow this advice, can we create a trust issue? For example, what is the trust issue if we "subtract" from God's rules? (If we say we keep them, and we do not, then we are hypocrites. The goal of the rules is to make our life better. If we don't follow the whole rule, likely we won't have the full benefit of the blessing - and that makes God seem as if He has let us down.)

      2. What is the trust issue if we "add" to God's rules? (We mislead others about God's rules. Violating a made-up rule will have no consequence. This might embolden others to violate real rules and then truly suffer.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 4:5-8. How can following God's rules cause those who do not believe in God to be interested in following Him?

    3. Read Acts 7:9-10. If you think that people will not trust you because of your "ordinary" status in life, what lesson can we learn from Joseph? When Joseph was in Egypt, did he start from a place of trust? (No! He was first a slave, and then a slave who was tossed in prison ostensibly for committing a crime. These are not positions that naturally give you credibility.)

    4. Friend, no matter your status in life, you can both trust God and inspire trust in God for those around you. Consider your life. Do you trust God? Are you inspiring trust in God? If your answers concern you, why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help you to trust God and to inspire trust in God?

  4. Next week: Jesus Bade Them, "Follow Me."
* Copr. 2016, 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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