Rise, let us go from here.
-- John 14:31, ESV
The Lord's benediction at the Last Supper was short but not necessarily sweet, at least not to the 11 Apostles, who would have preferred to stay inside with Jesus forever. But Christ's words ended the meal and thrust them into the outside world in more ways than one, and they were going to need help.
A good worship service should be like this. The church family gathers around a table lit with the glory of God. We pray, praise, and preach the gospel in word and sacrament. We feel the presence of the Lord while surrounded by people we love. We feast together upon His word and share Holy Communion. When the worship is right we would stay in it forever. But alas, the benediction comes and it is time to hear the Lord say, "Rise, let us go from here." Based on Jesus' words in John 14:25-31, be sure to take these things with you when you get up and go:
Take the Spirit of God. We need help to understand the gospel, accept the gospel, and share the gospel with others. This is where the third person of the Trinity comes in, the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who translates the gospel from the Father, through the Son, into the mind, heart, and soul of the convert to Christianity. It is the Holy Spirit who brings the gospel and the word of God to our remembrance throughout life, from conversion to consummation. It is the Holy Spirit in us that empowers us to live holy and share the gospel boldly among family, friends, and people of the world. Come to God the Father, through the person and work of God the Son, and take God the Spirit with you when you get up and go.
Take the Peace of Christ. The promise of peace comes in a flurry as Jesus' ministry and John's Gospel come to a close. Remember how frightful those first followers were at this moment. Remember how difficult it has been for you sometimes to stand for Christ when the world is falling around you. We need grace to come to Christ, we need peace to get up and go for Christ. Peace means we are never alone. Peace means we can never fail. Peace means we will never lose. Within 24 hours after the Last Supper, Jesus would be made to look like the biggest loser in the world, mocked, beaten, crucified. That changed after the Resurrection, and it will change eternally at the second coming of Christ.
Take a Warning about the World. The "world" comes into view often in this chapter, and it is never a pretty sight. Jesus speaks of the planet in terms that make it inferior and adversarial, desperately wicked and desperately needy. And though the world proves hostile to Christ and Christ followers, we are not to reciprocate when we get up and go. Respond to hate with love, to sin with grace, and to falsehood with truth.
Take the Lordship of Christ. Lordship means that Jesus has conquered sin and death. He crowned Himself and He crowns His followers with life. Lordship means that Jesus has conquered you. You have surrendered to the gospel. You are indwelled by the Spirit. You live a life of love and obedience to Jesus Christ and God's word. You find yourself in His house with His people on the Lord's Day, then, you get up and go.
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]