HIGH PLATEAU Messages from the Upper Room copyright Doug Blair, Waterloo ON 2016
John's Gospel is much unlike the other three, the Synoptics. It does not follow suit in giving a chronological account of Jesus' earth walk. It emphasizes His deity and oneness with the Heavenly Father. It prescribes power for prayer and introduces the Holy Spirit, the One who will enable believers to appropriate the life of Jesus, to comprehend His message and to walk in His steps. Many people who call themselves Christian have difficulty with this fourth Evangel. In the others they hear of birth, growth, baptism, service by Galilee, His Sermon on the Mount, growing opposition from religious hypocrites, a special communion meal, arrest, struggle in Gethsemane, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension. They are content with that. Gives them a history and a Hero and someone to imitate with good intentions. But lessons on how to imitate will always miss the mark. We need Life to be imparted unto us. Jesus' Life. We need the adventure of abiding in the True Vine. John explains that and more. Consider that Jesus yearns to leave a message of power and hope with His dear friends, right before He is about to be taken from them. They have gathered for a Passover Meal in that Upper Room specially prepared for the crowning event...his discourse in chapters 13 through 17 of John's account.
John Thirteen Know what I have done? Meant for sharing with each soul
In the washing of the feet In the lowly servant's role I have left the master's chair And removed the robe replete And have wrapped in simplest towel And with basin washed your feet. Getting low at this rich feast Ere I face the scorn of men For the raising of your souls In a death the prophet penned. Not a one yet knows the cost As I sing our people's psalm (118) And we move on to the grove Word and Spirit keep me calm. Do you get this rite of love? Will you share it when I'm gone? It's the lowest who must lead Simple comfort passed along.
Not To Be Troubled
He's going away Though so much seems unfinished Is this a defeat Or a new brighter phase? The Council works hard To embroil Him in charges Oh just to be back In those bright lakeside days. This room got in secret And tasty the Paschal fare Thoughts of deliverance From Egypt's cruel reign. He says He is leaving Preparing a place for us And where He is going We'll see Him again. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14: 1-3 NKJV)
If They Have Hated Me... (John 15: 20)
Imagine that He should be hated! A brother so thoughtful and kind A teacher with offers of Heaven A fruitful and life-giving Vine. He says we are grafted within Him And all that He is, we shall be. Though sometimes the Father must prune us From false growth and error set free. He speaks of a world self-indulging And hostile to love undefiled And maddened to bury His message Oppressive and scheming and wild. They're bound to reject Him completely And ones set apart to His cause With weapons they've crafted for ages Their money, religion and laws. He warns that the same is our portion For leaving that bunch at His call But we will be armed with His Spirit Who gladdens and overcomes all.
Departure time my friends And it is all in the plan You have walked the miles me And begun to understand But the teaching will go on As the Spirit takes the plow And rehearses all I said Comfort, courage coming now. This a better course you see Indwelt every trusting heart Though my death will crush your hopes For a while at the start. But I said I will come back And those birthing pains will pass I bequeath to you my mission
Plead my name each time you ask Of the Father fresh anointing For this family-building chore We continue still as partners In a way not known before.
I Lay Them Upon Your Altar (John 17)
Father, I have watched Over these men. Have taken them your images Of community free From retaliation. Of joy in the Rendering of mercy. Of good report On those who struggle, With only the half known. Of fulness of days Free from fear of supply, From fear of man. I have set them To wandering. Ambassadors of a realm Not yet seen. Sporadically meeting the test. Boiling often in self-hurt. Turning, of times, To look back from the plough. Vying for place. Vying for glory. Missing often the real gems Delivered with No special fanfare. And now I leave, So much so seemingly Ill-prepared. But You have given them me. Persevering to their Appointed destiny.
All but the one with the purse. I trust You For their well-being. I trust You for the prophecies Which speak of me. Quickly now… To my offering. Amen.
Musings of Messiah
You have no idea. But try anyway, would you? I took myself to that garden, that familiar prayer garden, ‘neath the olives. Brought my buddies along. Asked three of them to come, sit closer in the cold and darkness. They tried, bless ‘em, but soon fell asleep. How often when people are overwhelmed by circumstances and the fast pace of events. How often do they cloud up and doze off out of sheer self-defense. But I had stupendous business at hand. Placed into their bodies and circumstances and pullings and whisperings…I had to obey. The Father’s Plan depended upon it. And I was His to do and to demand as He saw fit. I wasn’t so much afraid of a Cross or of ridicule. I was terrified of losing the sense of His touch and listening ear. Had never happened before as I had grown up from stage to stage here on this little blueand-green place full of the ones we loved. I vented, I pleaded, I reminded. I looked down several times to see blood issuing from places where it ought not. The Evangelist would later say that I began to be “troubled and sore amazed”. Don’t forget, the omniscient thing I had left behind in the Heavenlies for a season. I hurt, and I heard the swan-song of the Accuser. Not so much to frighten me, but to insinuate that all the beloved ones could never be rescued; could never be removed from his clutches. Finally, over and above all the sweats and bleeding, and taunting, tension and tears, I heard again the promises of my Father through the words of Psalmist David. I heard and believed. I would come through death. I would not suffer corruption. I would walk again in glorious fellowship. (Psalm 16) A comforting presence drew near with a soothing wind through the branches; probably an angel. He was my most tangible companion at that moment. I got up off the ground; watched my buddies sleeping for a couple more minutes; remembered some of the good times; noticed the torches of Judas and henchmen moving toward us up the slope…
The Cup, And All of It (Matthew 20:22)
“Can you drink the cup?” The challenge from the Master Given Sons of Thunder His Passion close at hand. Quickly they said “yes” With no real sense of wonder At the mix of living To later understand. They had known real joy While seated at His table His were words of hope And brotherhood so rare. Still some worldly folk Ignored their every pleading Hinting at the bitter dregs Each life would come to share. His a night alone Then cruelly to a dying. Theirs long years abroad And facing tiresome doubt. Martyrs' ends they braved Still Heaven's ethic crying Mixing woe and joy (The things this life's about.) Could they take the cup And lift it all for viewing Chalice of their years Laid, trusting, out for friends? Could they drink it all The God-sent blend renewing Christ still in their midst And thankful til their ends.
Grace and Supplications
Need Hurt Perplexity The mothers of new life
Blessings strangely wrapped When all the time We want to hold the key To open a new path. We will think it through Earn it through Sweat it through Not so Says the Lord of Zion. Those in David's train Messiah's train Have a threshold Inglorious. A breaking to self To see God the giver The rescuer The reconciler As sufficient indeed And oh so yearning For His children of promise To graduate. He shows His wounds The product of their blind thrashings. He marks them With Spirit of initiation And Spirit of urgent requests. And they are never after the same. Adopted. Growing in family likeness. Ever fond of Tokens of deliverance Visions of Glory In the bud.