Jesus’ Teaching in the Upper Room
By Rick Renner
I am not leaving you comfortless: I will come to you.
— John 14:18
I was raised in a wonderful church where we were doctrinally taught very well. But as I grew older, I began to become more and more spiritually hungry. It seemed there was a gaping hole inside my heart, and I yearned for more than what I knew about the Lord. That is when I began to learn of teaching about the ministry of the Holy Spirit that was different from anything I had ever been exposed to previously. Hearing those fresh teachings changed my life because they introduced me to the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit in a way I had never before experienced.
Starting today, I want to begin talking to you about those teachings on the Holy Spirit that so dramatically changed my life. To begin, let’s go to the Upper Room where Jesus gathered His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion; where He washed their feet; where He served them Communion; and where He took time to teach them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The teachings about the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave in the Upper Room will be the basis for what you are about to read in the first 20 Gems of June. Then the Gems from June 21 onward will be drawn from various other scriptures that I believe also teach us vital truths we must know about the Holy Spirit.
On that last night when Jesus was in the Upper Room with His disciples, He knew that He was leaving the world and that these moments were actually His last opportunity to teach them. There was a myriad of subjects Jesus could have taught His disciples that night, but He knew that in His absence, they would need a powerful, ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. Consequently, Jesus devoted His last opportunity to teach them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In John chapters 14, 15, and 16, we find teachings by Jesus that are devoted primarily to the Person, power, and work of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know the amount of time it took for Jesus to teach His disciples about the Holy Spirit during His last night on earth with them, but it’s clear from these three chapters that He dedicated a significant amount of time.
That evening Jesus told the disciples that He would soon be departing the world. By reading John 14, it is clear that the disciples were tempted to despair when they heard this heavy news. They were tempted to feel abandoned, so Jesus told them, “I am not leaving you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).
Let’s begin by looking at the word “comfortless” used in this verse. The word “comfortless” is a translation of the Greek word orphanos, and it is where we get the word orphan. A literal translation would be, “I will not leave you as orphans….” But in the time of the New Testament, this word had a wider range of meaning, for it was also used to describe students who felt abandoned by their
teacher. However, whether this Greek word was used to describe orphans who had lost their parents or students who felt abandoned by a teacher, it always conveyed the idea of a person who felt deserted by someone whom they trusted and to whom they looked for guidance.
Jesus promised that although He was leaving this earth, He was not abandoning His disciples. He would come to them through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who would exactly represent Him to the disciples in every way. By sending the Holy Spirit, Jesus was sending a personal replacement to take His place among the disciples — One who would be with each of them all the time. This would be far better than when Jesus was on the earth and could only physically be in one place at a time. In fact, Jesus later said that the coming of the Holy Spirit would be far better for them (see John 16:7) because it would herald the unlimited presence of Christ in the earth. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ could reside with every believer in every place on the earth simultaneously.
Once Jesus was exalted at the right hand of the Father, He took on the role of our Intercessor for all eternity (see Hebrews 7:25). Once seated, He poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church (see Acts 2:33). Today the Holy Spirit is that Member of the Godhead who operates in the world. Christ is Lord over the Church, and the Holy Spirit carries out His Lordship inside the Church. We live in the age when the Holy Spirit operates in the world.
In Ephesians 1:13, the apostle Paul taught that the moment you receive your salvation, the Holy Spirit enters into you and serves as God’s covenant seal on your life in Him. Therefore, if you have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has come to take up residency inside of you. Hear me clearly — the Holy Spirit is a Resident in the life of every person who has surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In fact, Romans 8:9 says it is impossible to personally know God unless you have the Holy Spirit residing inside you. So rest assured, if you have come to that moment when you gave your life to Christ — that is, you surrendered to His Lordship — then the Holy Spirit has sealed you and has permanently moved into your heart. This means your heart is not just a hotel where He occasionally visits. Your heart is His home.
As glorious as it is that the Holy Spirit lives inside those who believe, this does not guarantee that they experience fellowship with Him. So today I’d like to ask you: What kind of fellowship do you have with the Holy Spirit? Is He a neglected Resident in your life, or do you actually experience regular, intimate fellowship with Him?
That night in the Upper Room, Jesus promised His disciples (and us) that when He ascended to Heaven, He would not abandon us like orphans or like students who had been deserted by their teacher. He promised that He would come to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus kept His word! But just as any person must be recognized to be experienced, we must on purpose recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit if we are going to experience fellowship with Him in our lives.
If you have never stopped to recognize the Holy Spirit in your life or experienced what I call the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, today would be a wonderful time for you to begin! Just open your heart and say, “Holy Spirit, thank You for living inside me. Starting today I want to begin enjoying fellowship with You!”
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Holy Spirit, I want to begin enjoying fellowship with You. Since Jesus depended on You, I know that I need to depend on You too. So right now, more than ever before, I express my inner yearning to begin a new and deeper journey in learning how to have fellowship with You. I want to know You; I want to know Your power; and I ask You to come alongside and help me as Jesus said You would do!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I acknowledge that because I am a child of God, the Holy Spirit lives inside me as a continual Resident. He longs to have fellowship with me and to reveal the depths of Jesus’ love to my heart. I repent for the times that I have ignored Him and treated Him as an unrecognized Resident. From this moment onward, I confess that I will live with an awareness of His presence and that I will embrace the wonderful ministry that He has come to provide for my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in your life? If yes, how would you describe the experience of fellowship with Him to someone else?
- Can you recognize when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you? If yes, how would you describe the way you recognize His voice?
- Have you had moments when the Holy Spirit led you in a supernatural way that dramatically affected your life? If yes, what were some of those moments, and what happened as a result?