What does the Upper Room Discourse show us about the heart of Christ? In this video, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson shares the significance of Christ’s dialogue with His disciples in the Upper Room.
What does the Upper Room Discourse show us about the heart of Christ? I’m tempted to say, what does the Upper Room Discourse not show us about the heart of Christ? There are so many things. Just to select a few, the first is how much He loves us. The whole section begins with: Jesus knew He was going to leave the world and go to the Father from whom He’d come. But He loved His own to the very end.
I’ve often thought about how Christians often read John’s Gospel where he refers to himself as “the beloved disciple” and think that he was singling himself out as though he was the disciple that Jesus loved more than any other disciple. I don’t think John could have brought himself to say that. I think he’s saying something about himself that he wants us to understand can be true for all of us—that we understand that if we are Christ’s, we are the disciple Jesus loved, and that He’ll love us to the end. So, that’s one thing, the love of Jesus.
Another thing that strikes me about what you see of Jesus in the farewell discourse—the Upper Room Discourse—is His amazing patience towards us. He says to the disciples—I mean, they’re so excited about everything He’s teaching them—and He says, “I have many things still to teach you, but you’re not able to bear them.” And I think—speaking as a teacher and preacher—when you know something and you think others don’t yet know it, how often we say to ourselves, “They’ve got to learn this, and they’ve got to learn it now.” And the restraint of the heart of Jesus because He knew that there were other things they needed to learn before He was going to teach them yet more things. I think that’s really an amazing illustration of a patient spirit towards them.
And then maybe just to mention two other things. One that I think I find really, tremendously impressive is the way He describes us as those who have been given to Him by His Father. And to think that He would think of me that way as—as the love gift of His Father to Him—I think is really, tremendously impressive.
And then maybe the final thing is what He says in, in John 17:24, “Father, My will is”—remember in Gethsemane, He says, “Father, not My will, but Yours be done.” But in His prayer in John 17 He says: “Father, this is something I really want. I want those you have given Me, to be with Me where I am, to see My glory.” And to think that when His heart was breaking—just earlier on in John 12, He says: “My heart is really breaking. My soul is troubled. Should I say, ‘Save Me from this hour’? No. This is the hour that You sent Me into the world to go through.” His heart is troubled and He cares about enough about His disciples to say to them: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. You trust in Me. I’m taking the trouble away. So, you trust in Me, and My peace I give to you.” And to think that He loved them that much. When—you know, like ourselves—they were a pretty mixed bunch. I just find profoundly moving.