“And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” (John 14:29-31)
I am writing this article during mid-October. The leaves are changing, the temperature is cooling and the harvesting of soy beans is occurring in many Indiana fields. It is one of the final harvesting’s which occur at this time of year. Soy bean harvesting occurs approximately 85 days after planting. Depending on the crop and the condition of the field, there have been times I have witnessed farmer’s working their field well into November.
One of the characteristics I have also observed is the amount of dust that fills the air when a late harvest occurs. Whether it is dry corn, or the aforementioned soy bean field, the air is often filled with the resulting dust from the harvested crop. Depending on wind conditions, the dust may be carried for miles.
What does this illustration have to do with Jesus’ words to His disciples? It may appear to the casual reader that what Jesus said is like dust in the wind; indiscriminate without any rhyme or reason.
John Calvin writes, “Although for a time He (Jesus) seemed to speak to the deaf, yet it afterwards appeared that His words were not scattered in vain, or, as we may say, in the air, like it was a seed thrown into the earth. Now as Christ speaks here about His word and the accomplishment of events, so His death and resurrection and ascension to heaven are combined with doctrine, that they may produce faith in us.”
Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection beforehand to His disciples in the upper room so that they would be thoroughly convinced, following these events, that He was who He said He was: God in the flesh and One who was in sovereign control.
Jesus told them that His conversations with them were coming to a quick conclusion, at that immediate time, because the events He spoke of were about to occur. However, He wanted them, and us, to know that in spite of the circumstances, Jesus was in sovereign control.
Jesus said, “for the ruler of this world is coming.” This is Jesus’ reference to Satan. Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Jesus spoke these words because He knew that as He was arrested and crucified, the disciples might begin to think that someone else, namely, the devil, was sovereign over what was transpiring. We see evidence of this in John 14:30. Jesus said He would not be talking much longer with them because “the ruler of the world” was coming. He was referring to Satan, the evil one under whose power the world was bound (I John 5:19). Satan had tempted Judas to betray Jesus (John 13:27), and soon more men, under the devil’s thrall, would arrive to take Jesus captive (18:1–11). The time for His teaching was growing short, so our Savior said there was not much time left to speak to His disciples.”
Jesus said, in reference to the devil, that “He has no claim on me.” Jesus meant that Satan does not possess Him or own Him. Dr. John Walvoord writes, “And yet Satan had no hold on Jesus. Sin leads to death (Rom. 5:12, 21a; 6:16), and sin and death give Satan a hold over people (cf. Heb. 2:14–15; Rev. 12:10). But since Jesus is sinless, Satan cannot claim Him for his kingdom of darkness. Satan thought Jesus’ death was a victory for him, but actually it was Jesus’ victory over Satan (John 16:11; Col. 2:15).”
Augustine said, “The whole world therefore, from the highest heavens to the lowest earth, is subject to the Creator, not to the deserter; to the Redeemer, not to the destroyer; to the Deliverer, not to the enslaver; to the Teacher, not to the deceiver.”
“But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” Jesus reiterated to His disciples that all which He had done, and would do, was in obedience to His Father’s will. What He had told them at the Well of Sychar (John 4:34) remained true in the upper room and as they would depart for the Garden of Gethsemane.
Regardless of what you and I face in our lives, we can be sure that God remains in sovereign control, as He was in the events leading up to and including Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Whether it be a soy bean or you and me, God is in control. Whether it be 85 days or 85 years, God remains sovereign. Hallelujah!
Soli deo Gloria!