Words from the Upper Room

Day 37

John 16 & 17

We are in the Upper Room. It’s a cool spring night and there’s a chill in the air. The room is lit by flickering lamps. It’s getting late and we feel a little bit tired. Judas left about an hour ago. We don’t know why he left, but with his departure the mood in the room changed. Since Judas left Jesus has begun to talk more. He has been speaking very seriously and very deeply about several things; like a helper coming whom He calls the Spirit of Truth and a sorrow that is coming which will be turned into joy. One of the disciples speaks up and says,

“Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that you came forth from God.”

But Jesus’ response is less than enthusiastic,

“Do you now believe?”


It’s easy to get overconfident about our faith. We hear a good sermon on faith, we get pumped up about believing God and we’re sure we’ve finally got this faith thing down. Yeah, down to a science. But the problem is it’s not a science. It’s a life. The Bible doesn’t say the just shall know by faith, but the just shall live by faith. Abraham’s faith, David’s faith, Peter’s faith, Paul’s faith was a life of faith that they lived — not an inert doctrine of faith they merely adhered to. Your faith is not validated until you’ve lived it through the fire.

The disciples in the Upper Room asserting they believed would indeed come to really believe, but it wouldn’t be until after they spectacularly failed. Yet the occasional spectacular faith failure is part of the learning process in the authentic life of faith. So be slow to assert how strong your faith is because you know something or heard something or read something — wait until you lived something. This is the real faith.


John chapter 17 is known as Jesus’ high priestly prayer.

One of the great insights from this majestic and mystical prayer is the eternal love between the Father and the Son and Jesus’ knowledge of His eternal pre-incarnate existence with the Father. Consider verses 5 and 24…

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

The Son is the divine Word who was with the Father in eternity past and through whom God created all things. The Second Person of the Trinity is the Wisdom referred to in Proverbs 8. Read this passage and understand it as the Eternal Son mysteriously describing His relationship with the Father in eternity and active with Him in creation (Proverbs 8:22-30)…

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him.


Something funny and sad happened yesterday.

The doorbell rang. I answered it. A man and his daughter were standing there with Bibles in hand. When he looked at me he seemed a bit startled.

Him: “Hello, my name is so and so and we are from the Jehovah’s Witnesses…and you’re, you’re Pastor Zahnd.”

(the poor soul looking very nervous)

Me: “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.”


We had an interesting conversation about the deity of Jesus (me believing it, him not).

I was very polite to him, and if I can say so, I even went sort of easy on him. Not because I have any sympathy for JW’s and their Jesus-is-not-God-and-nobody-is-saved-but-us-and-we’re-going- to-get-to-heaven-by-knocking-on-doors-and-annoying-people false religion, but because his daughter was there and I didn’t have the heart to embarrass him in front of her. I did give them some things to think about. Like I said, it was funny and sad. May God open their hearts to the truth.