The Promise of Heaven

Part 2

September 15, 2019


Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”


Let’s start by looking again at the main verse of our study of The Promise of Heaven: Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (JOH 14:1-6) Right before Our Lord spoke these comforting words, a great deal had happened to make His disciples (especially Peter)troubled, agitated, and disturbed.


A this point in time, it’s just before Passover, and Jesus and His disciples are enjoying their last meal together. Of course, He knows that He’s about to be betrayed and will then be put on The Cross. He also knows that Judas is the one who will betray Him. During the meal, Jesus gets up from the table, takes off His robe, and ties a towel around himself. He pours water into a bowl, washes the disciples’ feet, and wipes them with the towel. When it’s Peter’s turn0, he tells Our Savior, not to wash his feet because he’s not worthy. Our Lord replies to Peter with these words: “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.” (JOH 13:7 The Message Bible) This is said in reference to Judas’ betrayal but it’s also His way of teaching Peter, and the rest of the disciples, humility. The act of His washing the disciples’ feet reveals, not only His true Character, but also the character He wants ALL believers to develop. His act of humility is so critical to the life of a Christian, that He commands all those who follow Him to be humble, like He is.


After Our Lord and Savior finishes washing the disciples’ feet, He gets dressed and sits back down at the table and tells them that one of them is going to betray him. He’s already told them this in MAR 9:30–32: From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. But despite this, the disciples are totally shocked by the announcement. Their response is recorded in JOH 13:22-25 (The Message Bible): The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest, he said, “Master, who?”


Then, Our Lord tells them that whoever He gives a piece of his bread to, is the one who will betray Him. Then, He hands the bread to Judas and tells him to go ahead and do what he’s going to do. So, Judas runs out of there. But bear in mind, it’s also the middle of the night, so, it kind of makes you wonder what the disciples were thinking when John tells us: Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor. (JOH 13:28-29) They were in complete denial!


In last week’s Teen Tree of Life, we learned about what Our Lord and Savior did at this point in the Upper Room Discourse. He explained that He was only going to be around a little bit longer and that He’s going to a place that they can’t come to. And then He teaches them His new commandment for them to love one another, just like He loves them. He emphasizes that if they follow this commandment, that’s how people will know they’re his disciples, because they’ll be filled with love. And it must be the same kind of love He shows the world.


Peter can’t focus, at this point, on anything he’s being taught. All he can respond to is the fact that Our Lord and Savior is going to leave him. But this wasn’t because he was being inattentive or that he didn’t like what Our Lord was saying. We know this from Peter’s own writing in the Bible. But nonetheless, his mind was fixated on Jesus’ leaving. It made him extremely uneasy and he sincerely wanted to know why He was going away. So, Peter waited and as soon as Our Lord finished speaking, he took the opportunity to ask: “Lord, where are You going?” – imagining He was going to some distant place in the country which was difficult to access. This gives us a great deal of insight into Peter’s weakness and ignorance. The Jews displayed the same ignorance and refusal to believe, despite the reality of what they were seeing in JOH 6:16-25 (The Message Bible): In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, “It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.” So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to. The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus. When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

The background of this scripture is that some of the boats brought people who had heard about the miraculous feeding of 5000 and they were intently looking for Jesus Christ. They came to where He had been the night before, but found He was gone. So, they took the boats across the lake looking to find Him. There were lots of people that wanted to get across to the other side to follow Our Lord, but there was no way these few boats could transport all the people. He had a crowd looking for Him and they were doing whatever they could to get to the other side, either by boat, or by walking around the lake to get there. And when they found Him, they couldn’t figure out how He got there!! This miracle clearly reveals Jesus Christ as sovereign over the forces of nature. But in His teaching that follows and the controversy it arouses, we discover that He is not merely One who works miracles within the realm of nature, nor merely a leader of God’s people like Moses. We learn He is the source of eternal life itself. He fulfills the role of Moses and utterly transcends it!


Back to Peter who displayed such a lack of faith in believing that Jesus was going to die for His people, in order to take away the sting of death and the curse of the law and work out Salvation for them. Neither did Peter believe that Jesus was going to His Father in heaven, to receive gifts for men, and to send the Holy Spirit. Or that He was going to open the way to Heaven, take possession of it, and prepare it for His believers! At this point in time, Peter couldn’t follow him, just yet, because Our Lord and Savior’s time of suffering death had not yet happened. More importantly, Jesus Christ had some other very important work for Peter to do first – to open the door of faith to the Gentiles and preach the Gospel to them. So, Our Lord assures him: “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” (JOH 13:36) Jesus’ words in this verse is the Promise of Heaven!

{to be continued}


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