February 3, 2016

The Upper Room: Strength From On High

An essay by Mark Moser

Easter is coming!  This is the season in which churches all over the world spend time in the Gospels.  In the recent past New Life has spent a lot of sermon time in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so it feels like the proper moment to turn to the Gospel of John!

So we hope you’ll join us for this new series on a very unique section of the Fourth Gospel, the so-called Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17).  This is a lengthy talk that Jesus gave his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.  Our 7-week series began last Sunday, as we started with a look at Jesus’ startling washing of his disciples’ feet.  You can find the sermon here.

But what is the Upper Room Discourse about?  What did Jesus want to tell his disciples at such a critical moment?

Jesus’ situation was difficult, including how he might teach and encourage them.  Simply put, the disciples had a problem.  Jesus was going away.  They didn’t understand why he was going, and they didn’t even know where he was going.  But he was going away.

And Jesus couldn’t fully explain the situation.  He was about to be abandoned by everyone, even his disciples, and then to be shamefully executed by the Roman authorities.  He was going away because he was going to die.  Yet, from the very beginning, this was his mission.

But then he would come back.  He would rise from the dead, and so much would change.  Some things would become much clearer for the disciples, yet a good deal would still take time to understand.  And then Jesus would go away again, this time ascending to the right hand of the Father, where he remains today.

So that takes us to our own moment.  We are like the disciples.  Jesus has gone away, and we cannot see him.  We cannot talk to him face-to-face.  It is difficult to follow, serve, and worship the One you cannot see.

Mark Moser

Mark is the Pastor at New Life. Before coming on staff he spent many years teaching computer programming in the IT sector, while he also pursued theological studies. Mark and his wife Lise live in Glenside with their four children.

Topic: Opening up the Word

These are “sidebars” to our sermons. Many worthwhile thoughts don’t get spoken on Sunday mornings because they aren’t part of the bullseye we want to hit. Here is our chance to pass along additional ways the Word spoke to our hearts.