Last Impressions

12:01 pm faith, hope, love

First impressions are the impact that we make upon others when we first meet them.  We may say or do things that they will remember for a lilfetime.  Last impressions are equally as important.  Before Jesus’ death, He met with His disciples in the upper room and told them some very important things.  The Upper Room Discourse is found in John 13-17.
Service Motivated By Humility
Jesus took a towel and a basin of water and washed His disciples’ feet.  Peter protested at first, but then conceded once he realized that if he did not permit the Lord to wash his feet he would have no part with him.  Jesus said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).  He further explains this example, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”  Jesus taught a service model of leadership.  This model, if followed, will lead to greatness in the kingdom of God. It is no surprise that those in the business world have picked up on it and utilize it.  Kip Tindell, CEO of the Container Store leads with respect and emotional intelligence.  He tells his employees that he loves them and can often be seen giving them  a hug.  People will work harder and be more loyal when they believe you love and respect them.  Our greatness is not determined by occupying the highest positions.  It is accomplished by doing good for others and working diligently in the Lord’s kingdom.
In John 14:1-3, Jesus emphasizes faith in God and in Him.  Comfort comes to the heart through faith in the promises of  God.  Faith and hope are inseparably linked.  If we will follow Jesus, we can live for eternity with purpose and peace.  Only in this way can we know real joy.
In John 15:1-8, Jesus taught that He was the vine and the disciples were the branches.  “I am the vine and ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).  Strength and productivity are the result of being spiritually connected to the vine (Jesus).  Spiritual nourishment strengthens the human soul for the struggles of the soul.  In John 15:9-14, Jesus mentions another source of strength.  Jesus desires that they abide in His love.  By keeping His commandments, they will abide in His love.  Then, He commands them, “That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:12-14).  His disciples must abide in love for Him and for one another.  This way they will be spiritually connected to Him and to each other.  They will never be alone!  There is strength in numbers when those we love stay close and supply help.
In John 16:5-15, Jesus promises that after He ascends into heaven, He will send the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) to be present with them and to empower them.  The Holy Spirit  would guide them into all truth.  He would reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.  His word would be the means of communicating God’s grace and goodness to men.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains this message of good news (Rom. 1:16).  The power to save men is still found in the gospel.
In John 17:1-26, Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and all those that would believe on Him through the gospel.  Jesus prays that His disciples would be one “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee” (John 17:21).  Spiritual union with Christ is the foundation of unity among brethren.  Christ is the only foundation upon which we can build (I Cor. 3:11).  He is the central force that holds all Christians together.  Jesus prayed for unity and we must pray for it too and then endeavor to keep it.
The golden thread that runs through the entire discourse is love.  In John 13:1, John tells of Jesus’  love for His disciples. John states that Jesus loved them unto the end.   In John 13:34-35, He commands the disciples to love one another.  In John 14:15, He speaks of the disciples’ love for Him.  In John 14:31, He mentions the love that He has for the Father (this is the only passage in the New Testament where Jesus directly affirms His love for the Father).  In John 15:12-13, He speaks of the greatest love, i.e. sacrificial and selfless love manifested in His own death.  In John 15:17, He repeats the command for them to love one another.  In John 16:27, Jesus references the love of the Father for the disciples.  In John 17:23, He tells of the love of the Father for the Son and the disciples.  Finally,  in John 17:26, He prays that the love of the Father for the Son may be in the disciples. The discourse begins with love and ends with love.  Love is the bond that holds every relationship together.
The last thoughts expressed by the Lord to His disciples were designed to sustain them through difficult times and guide them to greater service in His kingdom.  Faith, hope and love are intermingled in these thoughts.  Together, they make a formidable last impression.

Leave a Comment

Your comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.