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Saturday, March 25, 2017
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
For further study - John 14:1-31
As I was selecting the passage for our devotional reading today, I looked at John 14 and realized it was all so good, I decided to use the entire chapter for our extended reading.
There is such great truth in the whole chapter. In this devotional I'll share several highlights and I am sure you could add other great highlights, if you were writing the devotional.
Notice that our key verse and the first verse of John 14 both have the phrase, "Let not your heart be troubled". As you read these two verses you must remember the circumstances surrounding this chapter.
Jesus was with His disciples in an "upper room" and had been celebrating the "Passover Seder", the time when the Jews annually rehearse the story of the Exodus and would have a meal similar to the one their forefathers would have had on the first Passover Seder.
It was the meal of lamb, the "Passover Lamb", and "unleavened bread", along with "bitter herbs" the three ingredients called for in scripture. These foodstuffs were to remind the Jewish people of what took place some 1,500 years before that night recorded in John 14.
The next afternoon Jesus Christ would be crucified on Passover at 3:00 PM, in the last part of the Jewish day, which concluded at sundown. The disciples must have been having anxiety attacks not knowing what would, or could happen to them when Jesus was crucified.
The Lord comforts them with His words, "Let not your heart be troubled". Our key verse adds, "neither let it be afraid". This is, as well, the Lord's words of comfort for us even today when we face troublesome times.
The Lord also told them that when He went away, the Father would send the "Comforter", the Holy Spirit, verses 16 & 26. Jesus said the "Comforter" would not only comfort them but also teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance that He had taught them.
This is another very practical promise for us today. The Lord began His comforting exhortation with the promise that He was going into the heavenlies to prepare a place for those of us who are a "prepared people", believers in Christ, Christians.
This promise also contained the promise of His coming back to get them, and us, and then to go with Him to that "prepared place". By the way, this passage is not talking about the Second Coming but instead it's the first mention of the Rapture.
At the Second Coming we return to Earth with Jesus, riding white horses, Revelation 19 & Zechariah 14, to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This passage says, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself", verse 3. The passage is not describing the Second Coming, but is describing the Rapture, the time when we respond to His shout to enter the heavenlies to be with Him forevermore.
Remember, the disciples were very anxious that night, this new truth must have gone right over their heads. It would be around twenty-five years later before the Apostle Paul would make it very clear about the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
This is the first mention of the Rapture in scripture, and our Lord made the promise that it would happen, thus it will happen. The truth is that the Rapture could happen at any moment. There is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture. All prophecies remaining to be fulfilled happen after the rapture.
Keep looking up... It could be today.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the promise of the rapture, help me to be prepared, pure and productive until I hear Your shout to join You in the heavenlies.