Lesson 10

Prayer: Listening to Jesus

(John 14)
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Introduction: Is prayer just a one-way communication? We talk and then we talk some more? If you say, "No," prayer is both speaking to God and listening for His answer, then you will want to jump into this lesson with us. Last week, we discussed how Daniel prayed to God to be able to go home. This week our study is John 14 where we find Jesus answering the "how to go home" prayers of His disciples before they even feel the need. These words are part of God's message to His disciples in all ages when we face confusing and trying situations.

  1. The Last Supper: Advance Comfort


    1. You remember that Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples the night before He was crucified? This dinner is called the "Last Supper." Turn with me to John 14 where we pick up Jesus' conversation with His disciples at the Last Supper.


    2. Read John 14:1. What was about to happen to Jesus? What was about to happen to the disciples? (If you don't know, read John chapters 18-19)


      1. What do the words of verse 1 teach us about God's concern about problems in our lives? (Jesus had such compassion for His disciples that He gave them comfort them before they even knew they had a problem!)


      2. Do we have to worry about our problems and difficulties?


      3. If we don't worry, won't we face disaster? (Jesus is not suggesting laziness. He is saying "trust Me." "Leave those burdens with Me."


      4. Why did Jesus make a distinction between God and Him ("trust in God; trust also in me") when it cames to trust? (The disciples were about to enter a time when their preconceived ideas about Jesus as the Messiah would be tested. Jesus would not be "doing the right thing" and neither would God in the confused minds of the disciples.)


      5. Stop a minute to analyze why you worry? What, at bottom, are you worried about? (I find that most of my worries arise from a concern about personal embarrassment. I'm going to look bad - be put in a bad light. A blow to my pride.)


      6. Are the disciples worried about "looking like fools" if their Master, who they claim is the Messiah, is put to death by the Romans? (This is probably one of the emotions they faced. They would struggle with the issue of whether they were wrong about Jesus being the Messiah. Jesus is trying to help them with this coming problem.)


        1. How does trusting in God answer our concerns about being embarrassed? (I am worried about me - a matter of pride. If I understand that the solutions to life's problems do not turn on my importance, if my pride is not an important matter, then I can more easily trust God for solutions.)


      7. When you pray, does God give the answer to "trust Him?" Is that good enough for you?


    3. Read John 14:2-3. Given what you know about the immediate future for the disciples, why do you think Jesus is talking about housing and bringing the disciples home? (He was about to be ripped from them and leave this life. They were going to be emotionally and physically set adrift in this world.)


      1. What is the relevance to your worries that Jesus has a room for you in His heavenly house? (We obviously know the "end of the story" for Jesus and the disciples. But, we still have worries about the future. If we are not worried about our pride, we are probably worried about our stuff. "Stuff-worry," is really the same pride problem. Jesus says He will ultimately provide for our "stuff worries." Quite worrying!)


        1. How much of your present prayers are directed to protecting your stuff?


          1. Should you now consider those prayers answered and move on to something else?


      2. What else does Jesus promise of housing say about our worries? (A couple of things: 1) He wants us to keep our eye on the future. That is a backdrop for all we do. 2) We are so important to Jesus that He invited us to live with Him. This is not just a casual invitation like you might get from a friend. Jesus tells us that He is going to come looking for us to take us to His mansion. He loves us that much!)


  2. The Last Supper: Answered Questions


    1. Read John 14:4-5. The pastor once invited me to his house. I was lost for an hour. It turns out that, like me, Thomas had the practical concern about learning the directions to get to Jesus' house.


      1. Did the disciples even know Jesus was going away? (They could have known, but they did not want to come to grips with it. See Matthew 16:21-23.)


      2. How would you feel if you did not know the when, where or how of an important event?


        1. What does this text teach us about Jesus' willingness to give us comfort on those questions?


      3. Do you know the way to Jesus' house?


      4. How would you answer Thomas?


    2. Let's read on. Read John 14:6-7. What answer does Jesus give to this directions question?


      1. What does Jesus mean when He says He is "the way?" Would this make any sense to you if you were one of the disciples?


        1. Should we be discouraged if sometimes God's answers to our problems do not seem to make sense?(There is a great truth in Jesus' answer. The way home is a relationship, not a direction. It is an attitude, not an action. Only through Jesus can we come to the Father in heaven.)


      2. What does Jesus mean when He says He is "the truth?" Would the disciples soon be confused about what was the truth? (They would be very confused. Verse 7 is the key. If we know Jesus, we know the Father. If they would just focus on what He had told them, they would understand the truth.)


        1. How about you? How much time do you spend studying to find the truth in the life of Jesus?


        2. Do you make a distinction in your mind between the God of the Old Testament and Jesus?


        3. What does Jesus say about such distinctions? (He says we need to understand that the picture He gave us in His life is the appropriate framework for understanding God's actions in the Old Testament.)


      3. What does Jesus mean when He says He is "the life?" We know He was about to be killed! How does this make any sense? (He not only gives direction to this life, He not only reveals the nature of God, He is the only means to eternal life at His house!)


        1. In the context of living in Jesus' house, read John 14:23. How long do we have to wait to live with Jesus? (This is a promise that can be spiritually filled now!)


    3. In John 14:7 Jesus tells us that we have now seen God. How does that differ from the Old Testament experience? (In Exodus 33:20 God tells Moses that he cannot see God's face or he will die.)


      1. Why is it different with Jesus? (Jesus came to reconcile us to God. That is why He is the way to eternal life. See Ephesians 2:13-16 and Colossians 1:19-22.)


    4. Let's continue on with reading John. Read John 14:8. What does Philip's question teach us about our prayers? (No question is too dumb for God!)


      1. Let's read Jesus' answer to this question in John 14:9-11. How would you characterize Jesus' answer to Philip?


        1. Is He patient?


        2. Is He kind?


        3. Is He pleading?


        4. How would you have answered Philip's question?


  3. The Last Supper: Promises of Power


    1. Re-read John 14:11. What do you think about believing in someone based on miracles? Compare Revelation 13:11-13. Is Jesus arguing that the miracles show that He is God? (When we get in tough times we look for "evidence" we are on the right road. Jesus says His miracles are "evidence." He does not say they are conclusive.)


    2. Read John 14:12. What further proof does Jesus suggest we can we have of His divinity? (We can have the power to do miracles! Christ's power in us is evidence of who He is! He is not going to be dead. Jesus is going to be opening a new era of power for those who follow Him because He is going to the Father.)


    3. Should we expect miracles in answer to our prayers to God? If you say, "yes," why is it that we don't see many miracles? Why is it that more often people die instead of being healed when we pray?


      1. My wife periodically points out that everyone who asked me to "anoint" them (see James 5:14) while they were dying, still died. She recently suggested it might be better not to have me anoint anyone! What is the problem?


    4. Read John 14:13-15. Is this a blanket promise that we can heal people if we ask Jesus? (Verse 12 says that we need faith. Verse 15 suggests that we need love and obedience. I think the problem with a lack of healing potentially points to failures on our part, and not on the part of God. We need to trust that God is doing the best thing in the circumstances and remember that His greatest miracle is the miracle that He was about to ensure through the cross-- that He will be taking us home with Him where there will be no more sickness.)


    5. Read John 14:16-17. What else does Jesus promise us in answer to prayer? (The Holy Spirit!)


      1. Read John 14:26. What role does the Holy Spirit play in our life? (He will teach us and help us to understand Jesus' words. This was the critical need that His disciples were about to have. Before they even knew they had a problem, Jesus told them how to find the solution!)


      2. How important to your prayer life is understanding God's will for you?


      3. Have you asked Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit? The gift of understanding?


    6. Read John 14:27. What gift does God give us when we pray? (He give us peace.)


      1. How important a gift is peace?


      2. How many of you have prayed to God and as a result been given peace about a problem in your life?


    7. Friend, God cares about our troubles. John 14 shows us that even before the disciples knew they had a problem, even before they prayed for help and understanding, Jesus gave it to them. He is just as anxious to answer our prayers and give us peace. The question is, will you turn to Him?


  4. Next Week: The High Priestly Prayer: Jesus

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