Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re going through the Gospel of John. We are just about to chapter 15—we’ve got a couple of verses to cover. But Dave, I don’t think in the last few programs we’ve encouraged people as to reading God’s Word—to getting into God’s Word—and for those who have not read the Bible before…some might say, “Well, it’s a big book, pretty thick, where should I begin?” Our encouragement is to begin with the Gospel of John. Why, Dave?
Dave: It probably presents the gospel more clearly than anywhere else. It presents who Christ is, His deity, and some very intimate statements from Christ to His own. But you know, if you are a Christian, Peter says, “As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” And Jesus, remember, in the temptation in the wilderness said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God shall man live.” And Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and they were unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” And David said he found the word “sweeter than honey in the honeycomb.” So, if you’re a Christian and you don’t have a hunger, a desire, and a taste for the Word of God, there is something wrong. You had better examine your heart as to whether you really belong to the Lord. This is the greatest book—I mean, this is God’s Word. But some people say, “Well, begin right at Genesis.” It’s kind of tough—you can get into some difficult passages. Begin at John’s gospel, then I would say go to Acts and Romans, and then you can go back and start in Genesis and read the Bible through.
Tom: And the Bible really explains, it defines itself. So where there are passages that are a bit difficult to understand, thorough reading of God’s Word, as you said, Dave, from Genesis to Revelation, over a period of time, but mainly, read it! Get it into your heart and mind. Give the Holy Spirit something to work with. He has given us His Word by inspiration, and He illuminates, He gives us understanding, but it’s rarely out of a vacuum, okay? You need the content of God’s Word to begin to understand it.
Dave: And don’t get bogged down. You come to a place that you don’t understand, okay, just keep reading, move on. You really need to know the Old Testament to understand the New, because this is one book.
Tom: Salvation, understanding Genesis—the first three chapters of Genesis—is absolutely critical: knowing why we are sinners, what happened historically, and I mean historically. It’s really important. But now we are in John:14:30: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
Dave: Well, that’s an interesting verse, and it really relates to what we were just talking about, of separation from the world: “What fellowship has light with darkness? What concord has Christ with Belial?” And Jesus said, “The prince of this world….” Now, of course, we know who the prince of this world is—Satan himself.
Tom: Now how would somebody just listening for the first time and says, I don’t see that there, how does he come up with the idea that the prince of this world is Satan?
Dave: Well, who does the world love? When we get on to John 17, Christ will say to the Father, His prayer to the Father, “I pray not for the world, but for those that thou hast given me out of the world.” We get into the next chapter, 15, He will say, “If you were of the world, the world will love its own. Because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you.” So, that’s the world that He is talking about. And who does the world love? Who is the one they admire? Not God, not Jesus, but unfortunately, Satan himself.
And you said, go back to Genesis, and we find back there that it was Satan who deceived Eve, who led the whole world astray. And [1 John:5:19], John writes, “The whole world lies in the wicked one.” And we sing a song in Sunday school, some people do, “He’s got the whole world in his hands, He’s got the whole world in his hands,” you know. Well, they are thinking that it’s Jesus, but in fact, Satan has this world in his hand. And you go to Revelation, chapter 12, it talks about the red dragon. It says “The dragon is that old serpent, the devil, who deceives the whole world.”
So the world is really in the hands of Satan. The world has decided to follow Satan, following after Eve, who believed Satan, and Christ is despised and rejected of the world. And those really love Him and know Him will be despised and rejected as well. He says, “The servant isn’t greater than his lord. If they persecuted and hated me, what do you think they will do to you?”
But Jesus is saying, “The prince of this world hath nothing in me.” There is nothing in me that he can attach to. There is nothing in me that Satan can appeal to. This world has no appeal for me. Sometimes you get into a bit of a controversy in the church among Christians: “Well, was Jesus really tempted?” It says “he was tempted in all points like we are, but without sin.” But the word there isn’t “tempted,” as though He longed for it, and He had to grit His teeth and dig in His heels and somehow overcome this. No.
Tom: In terms of being attracted to it, not at all.
Dave: He was not attracted to it: “The prince of this world has nothing in me.” But He was tested. In other words, the opportunity to do it was laid out before Him. “So, I’m not going to be saying much to you”—because He has already told them He is going away. He’s about to exit this world.
And the prince of this world comes—well, what’s he going to do? Well, we already heard in chapter 13, Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, and used him to betray Christ, and the prince of this world is going to try to defeat Christ on the Cross. In fact, he will be defeated.
So Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2, he says, “If the princes of this world [that is, the followers of Satan], if they had known, they would not have crucified, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.” There again, we see the confusion on the part of Satan. In Matthew 16, he’s speaking through Peter. Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He’s speaking through Peter, saying, “Oh, Lord, don’t go to the cross! You’re not going to go to the cross! You’re going to be okay. You’re not going to get crucified.” So, in that instance, Satan is trying to prevent Jesus from going to the Cross. Then he inspires Judas to get him on the Cross—the guy is confused, okay!
Tom: This comes from self-delusion. I mean, he’s completely enamored with himself, and what can come out of that except just grand delusion?
Dave: Self-deluded egomaniac, and that’s what’s in the world—the pride that is in the world. Well, anyway, “That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” Jesus says, “I am going to continue in obedience to my Father—this is why I came into this world, For this cause came I into this world.” He came to give His life a ransom for many. He came to pay the penalty for our sins. And so these are His final words. You don’t get that in any other gospel but John. John 13, 14, 15, 16—Christ’s final words of intimacy to his inner circle of twelve disciples…of course, Judas is gone now. He’s talking to the eleven.
Tom: Dave, last week we talked about verse 28, about Jesus saying, “For my Father is greater than I.” I think verse 31 gives an example of Jesus in submission to the Father as a man, but in terms of the order of, you know, the Godhead.
Dave: Mm-hmmm. How this works out in the Godhead. “As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” We don’t read that the Son commands the Father, and yet they are one and the same, and they are co-equal and co-eternal. So, these are His words to the disciples and these would be the last words that He speaks in the upper room, where they had the last supper.
Tom: Dave, I love, “Arise, let us go hence.” We should be telling ourselves more of that. God has given us something to do. Let’s not draw back; let’s go forward in obedience, in submission to the Father.
Dave: So, they are leaving the upper room where they had the last supper, and they are moving out to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas knows they will be, and that’s where he is going to bring the soldiers to take Him. And He says, “The prince of this world cometh,” and when we get out there, Jesus will, at one point, say to His disciples, “Okay, sleep on! The one who betrays me is near at hand—he’s just about here.”
Tom: But He says, “Sleep on,” because they couldn’t live up to this going forth—this “hence” to do and to carry out God’s will. They couldn’t, but certainly, Jesus did.
Dave: Peter said, “Though all forsake you, not I!” But they all forsook Him and fled. This is a time of crisis. It’s an amazing insight that we get—powerful!