“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:20
Jesus, You are the Teacher of teachers. You know our hearts, so You know what we need to truly learn something. You know how to summarize things and bring it all together for us. You know before we get it, the moment when we will get it, and You prepare us for that. You also know who will not get it. And this is one of those moments of summarizing and using repetition to drill in Your truth.
Since Chapter 13 in John, before the feast of the Passover, You have been reminding Your disciples everything You want them to recall. You’ve been helping them put everything together properly in their minds and hearts so they can get it when that moment comes that it all makes sense. You’ve been preparing them by Your words and what You have already done, and You are preparing them by Your words and the things that are to happen.
And here we are, only in the middle of those preparations, because You keep preparing through chapter 17. Five chapters out of twenty-one chapters in the book of John, are just You, rehashing everything and telling of what is to be expected to happen soon. That’s five chapters of summary and preparation. When was the last time I opened a school book and it gave me five chapters of review before the test? I think if I had that much review, I could ace the exam, well, if I paid attention and if I took the time to study and make it my own. And here You are, giving them the chance to make these present truths and future truths their own.
Why? I’m going to jump ahead to chapter 16. “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.” “I told you so that when the time comes, you will remember I told you. And this isn’t all I have to tell you. But it’s what you need for now. The Holy Spirit will tell you more when He comes.” Why are You telling all this? I’m going to jump ahead to chapter 17. “So they know You, the only true God, and Me, Jesus Christ.”
It is crucial to my life, to my well-being, to my walk to know and remember Your word. And it’s not just about these five chapters of Your word. It’s all of Your word. It’s why I need to be reading Your word. It’s why I need to be meditating in Your word. It’s why I need to be talking of Your word and discussing Your word and praying over the understanding of Your word. It’s why I need to seek the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to understand Your word and to love Your word. It’s why I need to do Your word.
Your Holy Spirit is You. If You are the Teacher of teachers, then so too is the Holy Spirit. He has taken over that function. Moment by moment the Holy Spirit within me says “Remember the word that I said to you regarding….” Moment by moment the Holy Spirit within me is summarizing things and preparing me. He doesn’t shout out from the sky and point a finger accusingly or toss down His lightening bolt. I mean, He could if He wanted to. But He’s a teacher. He’s a Good teacher. He knows how to get us to learn, how to get us to want to learn, and He has the power to enable us to learn.
At different times, You take us back to different places in Your word to remember, to summarize it and prepare us for what is to come. I love it. Like in the furnace room yesterday morning, four of us were praying during the morning service at church, praying for Your will to be done in hearts during the service, and You brought back to my mind and someone else’s during the prayer time one particular verse, one particular truth. Out of all Your Word, You said inside our hearts and minds, “Remember this? Now it’s time to apply it.” I love it when You do that! Thank You for teaching me, for personally teaching me. Thank You for teaching them, for personally teaching them. It wasn’t through anyone else, but through You, God Himself. How awesome is that! I don’t deserve You to teach me directly, but You desire it from the depths of Your heart. Wow!
So, today You are reminding Your disciples, “A servant is not greater than his master.” And since You are telling them and us to remember, we have to go back to where You said it first. “Remember what I first told you and add this knew knowledge I’m telling you to it.” This takes us back to the start of this whole remembering in John 13. You have washed the disciple’s feet. You gave us an example that we should also do as You did beccause “a servant is not greater than his master.” If we know these things, You say we are blessed if we do them. Now, we’re called to remember that incident. Remember that principal because now You are expanding it.
“A servant is not greater than his master.” Your servant is like His Master in every way. Your servant does as the Master does. But here’s the new truth, well, it’s not new, it’s just newly revealed, newly opened to our eyes for our summary and understanding and preparation. Your servant doesn’t just do what You do, Your servant suffers like You. Your servant is responded to like You. It’s one thing to act like the Master, but it’s a whole harder thing to be treated like the Master when the Master isn’t respected.
This was true for the disciples then and it’s still true for us today. But it’s not just about me remembering and doing what You did or about me remembering that I can expect to be persecuted and that Your Word given through me may be disregarded and shunned. That prepares me and comforts me in knowing this is all under Your control. It’s to be expected if I’m filling my place in You. But it’s a reminder that You are continually teaching me still. You are bringing back to my mind everyting I need to know to be Your overcomer that does what You do and overcomes the opposition by Your power and Your personal knowledge. The more I know Your words, the more I know You and Your heart. The more I know You, the more You teach me. The more teachable I am, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I am able to do what You do and the more I am able to stand up in the difficult times. But it’s not even about me being able to do these things. But it is about me being able to represent You in the midst of all these things. You aren’t just teaching me to do and to stand strong, You are teaching me to look like You as I do like You, and to stand strong in You so people see You and not me.
They’ll persecute me because they persecuted You. And if I look like You and act like You, they’ll treat me like they treated You. But those who held Your word, who kept it, well, there will be some like that, and they’ll see You in me, and they will also keep Your word because of what You have taught me and are teaching me. What’s the most important thing You teach? To know You and to make You known. That’s my life lesson. And it’s the only one that really matters.
Lord, what a tremendous blessing and privilege to be taught by You! When I stop to think that Your Holy Spirit takes the time all the time to directly impart Yourself to me, to help me to grow in Your knowledge more and more moment by moment, and that He loves to do this with me, how wonderful is that! This is His function in You! Wow, what a Teacher! And I want to be a student after Your own heart. I want to be attentive. I want to be studious. I want to be an eager listener, an eager learner, and I want to follow up by being eager to apply everything I am learning. And the wonderful thing doesn’t just stop with that. It’s so wonderful that I’m not just learning knowledge, but I am learning intimacy with You. I am learning to be transformed more and more moment by moment into Your image. I am learning to have my thoughts and my words transformed into Your instrument of truth more and more moment by moment. So, Lord, prepare me for the hard times. But thank You so much for preparing me to give Your words to others so that they can keep them too. May we always keep Your words within our hearts and all our being as we keep You and are kept by You.