Predicting Belief: John 14:15-31

Focus Passage: John 14:15-31 (GW)

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. You will live because I live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. 21 Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus, “Lord, what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them. 24 A person who doesn’t love me doesn’t do what I say. I don’t make up what you hear me say. What I say comes from the Father who sent me.

25 “I have told you this while I’m still with you. 26 However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.

27 “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, but I’m coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.

29 “I’m telling you this now before it happens. When it does happen, you will believe. 30 The ruler of this world has no power over me. But he’s coming, so I won’t talk with you much longer. 31 However, I want the world to know that I love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father has commanded me to do. Get up! We have to leave.”

Read John 14:15-31 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

On the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested, John’s gospel records a powerful conversation Jesus has with His eleven remaining disciples. While Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, was rounding up the mob with the religious leaders, Jesus spends these last moments teaching the disciples all He can teach them before going off to pray.

During this conversation, Jesus makes a profound statement about His words being prophetic. John tells us that Jesus says: “I’m telling you this now before it happens. When it does happen, you will believe.” (v. 29)

This verse stood out in my mind as I read it because it gives context and perspective when looking at a prophet’s words. With anyone who makes a prediction, only time can prove if he/she was correct or not. When someone who makes a prediction has that prediction come true, then it gives weight to the other things they say, while someone who predicts something that doesn’t come true loses credibility with others.

In the case of Jesus, He made many promises, predictions, and hard to believe statements during His ministry. Probably the most challenging prediction was the detailed description of His death and resurrection. Like most of the Bible’s prophets, Jesus looked crazy for saying what He said and predicting what He predicted, but time and God proved His words correct.

This prompts me to believe that prophecy is not given to anyone or any group of people to change their hearts or minds at the time it was shared. There are too many people predicting too many contradictory things at any point in history – especially today. However, prophecy is given to strengthen and confirm the belief of people later in history. After the prophecy has happened or been disproven, we are better able to judge the prophet.

Jesus made many predictions during His ministry leading up to the cross that didn’t make sense at the time, but following His resurrection at the exact time He predicted, many people put their hope, faith, trust, and belief in Him. His words were given to inspire us to trust in Him, and when we simplify our faith down to its core, Jesus is the only one worth trusting 100% in a culture that is ever changing and growing more divided by the day.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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