Reprinted from the sermon archives of the late Bible teacher, Ray Stedman:
The passage known as the Upper Room Discourse in the gospel of John 13-17 takes us into the intimate thoughts of Jesus just before His crucifixion. Some have called this the “Holy of Holies” of Scripture. That is, if you think of Scripture as a temple, this is the sanctuary, where you come into the very presence of God Himself. By means of Jesus’ words to His disciples, we are permitted to enter into His thinking and emotions just before His crucifixion. Within hours of this time in the upper room, the Lord was hanging upon a cross. In less than twenty-four hours, he was dead and buried. These, therefore, constitute the last words of Jesus before His death…In this deep and penetrating passage, our Lord is laying his heart bare before His disciples. He is seeking to impart to them the secret of His life—the secret that is the explanation of those amazing words that He spoke and those amazing works that He did. That secret lies in his relationship to His Father. And that relationship is what Jesus stresses as He talks with these disciples.
In this passage Jesus explains some tremendous concepts for their understanding and for ours as well. He tells them that He is sending a replacement for Himself to them—the Holy Spirit. Another Comforter, another Strengthener, is on the way. And when He comes, He will no longer be merely with them but within them. Their strength will no longer come from without, as when Jesus was their Comforter, but will come from within.
Thus he establishes the prominent characteristic of the day of the Spirit, in which we live. He tells them that the primary work of the Spirit will be to take the life of Jesus and release it to these believers. This is the great and marvelous truth that the Scriptures seek to set before us. When the Spirit came to release Jesus’ life within His disciples, they were then able to live by Him, as He lived by means of the Father. This is the fantastic secret that makes possible the fulfillment of the high demands of Christian living. A Christian lives by the same principle as Jesus did. As he lived by means of the Father, in dependence and trust in Him, moment by moment, so we are to live by means of the Son, in dependence and trust in Him. (www.raystedman.org)