Jesus says farewell – Part Twelve (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. This week is all about friendship with Jesus. We’ve seen how friendship with Jesus was friendship of the highest order, in that he was prepared to lay down his life for us, his friends. The response to this act of friendship ought to be loyal obedience, yet this is done not as a “slave” but as an intimate friend who’s been let into the inner circle. Today, we see how friendship with Jesus means that we have a task to do.

Friendship with Jesus means we have a job to do

John 15:16a “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”

In a first-century friendship between unequals, friends were often given tasks to do on behalf of their benefactors; to act as their agents. In Greek thought, friends were referred to as a ‘second self.’ Letters that survive from the period show that it was common for writers to urge that a friend be welcomed and treated ‘as if he were me.’

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Jesus says farewell – Part Eleven (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. This week is all about friendship with Jesus. We’ve seen how friendship with Jesus was friendship of the highest order, in that he was prepared to lay down his life for us, his friends. The response to this act of friendship ought to be loyal obedience. Today, we see how friendship with Jesus involves intimacy. 

Friendship with Jesus involves intimacy

We saw yesterday that a friend of Jesus is obedient. But this doesn’t mean mindlessly obeying orders. There is an intimacy on offer whereby we are let into Jesus ‘inner circle’:

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Jesus says farewell – Part Four (John 14:12-14)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, we’ve seen that Jesus is God’s authorised representative. He alone gives access to the Father, and is the only one qualified to make the Father known. Today, we focus on our role…

We are also God’s authorised representatives!

Believe it or not, Jesus tells us that we will do greater works than he has done:

John 14:12-14 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

How can we do greater things than Jesus? What can be greater than turning water into wine, healing the sick, raising Lazarus from the dead? This is a very puzzling statement, which has led to many scholarly opinions. But I think we get some clue from some similar statements elsewhere:

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Romans 8:28-39 recap (Part Twelve)

The final post in our series on Romans 8.

You’ve probably noticed by now that there was a lot of theology packed into the dozen verses we’ve looked at over the past week. And as good students of the Bible, we’ve spent some time dissecting them in the lab so we can learn about how the passage was put together. But just like biologists, although we’ve learned a lot from the dissection process, at the end of it we’re still left with a dead animal splattered all over the workbench. In some ways, the life can be taken out of the text.

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Romans 8:31-34 (Part Ten)

We’re continuing in our series in Romans 8. If you’re just joining us, you’re best to start with Tuesday’s post, as it’s all connected.

We’ve been talking this week about why we can be confident in the future hope Paul spoke of earlier in the chapter. Yesterday, Paul said that we can be confident because God’s in charge of the process, from start to finish. It’s not up to us. He’ll finish what he started.

Fair enough, but is there any demonstrable evidence to back this up? He’s God, so we know he can. But how do we know he will? This is where we pick up the argument today.

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Catch-up Friday

We’ll resume our studies in Romans 8 next week, looking at the well-known verse:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

If you’re behind, use today (and the weekend) to catch up. But if you’re up to date, remind yourself of the story of Joseph by reading the end (Genesis 45 and Genesis 50) which is an illustration of this truth (see especially Gen 50:20).

Romans 8 – Part One

Today, we begin a tour through one of the most important and profound passages of Scripture: chapter 8 of Romans. (Why? I’ve been asked to speak on Rom 8:17-28 in a few weeks, and I thought I’d take a bit of a run-up.)

It’s important and profound because it seeks to describe the new Spirit-led life we now have in light of what Christ has done. It encapsulates the truth that the first half of Romans has been building up to.

But today’s title is a little misleading. We’re not going to get to Romans 8 until next week. Why? Because we ourselves need to take a bit of a run-up, looking at what has come thus far.

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