In 1937 the 1st span of the Golden Gate Bridge was completed though 23 men fell to their deaths in the icy water below. The workers displayed shoddy work, negative attitudes, high stress and gross insubordination due to their fear of falling putting the project months behind schedule and millions over budget. Before starting the 2nd span they stretched a huge safety net made of 300 miles of strong rope under the men who were working. On the first day a man fell from a high span as other workers watched helplessly. The net did its job catching the man safely. He yelled with a huge grin, “It works!” From that day on productivity improved 65%, positive attitudes return-ed, craftsmanship excelled, respect for authority soared and 12 more lives were saved with no sign of stress on the job because the fear of falling was removed. What is your greatest fear as you head into the New Year of 2022?
On Passover, the biblical Jewish New Year (Ex 12:1-2. Easter), Jesus stretched out a strong safety net under His disciples with His promise “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (Jn 14:1, 27). Being fully God yet fully man Jesus could have caved to the fear of being abandoned by His disciples (Mk 14:15), forsaken by the Father (Mk 15:34), carrying the full wrath of God for all our sin (Mk 14:32-36; 2 Cor 5:21) and being impaled on a Roman cross of torture to die. Even though Jesus promised them His peace as a strong safety net, the disciples did cave to their fears that turbulent New Years eve during the confusion and insecurity of Jesus being arrested (Mk 10:32-34; 14:50, 54; Jn 20:19).
The following powerful life principles given to us by Jesus from John 13:1-17 make an extremely strong safety net guaranteed to remove your fears for 2022…if you have the courage to apply them!
(13:1, 3) STAY FOCUSED ON THE FATHER!
Jesus points His men to the Father 46 times in the Upper Room on New Year’s eve! The Father was His security and knew that He would also be their greatest security? Why is our Father alone the only dependable security in life no matter the circumstance? Why do we put our security in things which really don’t come through for us and are not really safe?
(13:1) GROW IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF HIS LOVE
How likely are you to trust in and depend on someone who does not love you? Why does authentic love enable us to trust? How long does this verse say He will love you and why is it important? How can you practically grow to better understand the depth of the Father’s love for us even as sinners? (John 15:9-13; Rom 5:5-8; Eph 3:14-19)
(13:5-10) HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE THE LORD.
Why was Peter so prideful? Why is humility essential to being secure in God? What does it look like to humble yourself before God? In what way did Jesus want His men to be ‘clean’? Why are we so resistant to being clean both outside (13:10) and inside (Lk 22:15-22)?
(13:4-5, 12-17, 34-35; 15:12-13) BECOME OTHER ORIENTED!
Jesus understood that a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package so He modeled what it looks like to serve and love others even when they do not return the favor. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him (13:11; 21-30), Peter would deny Him (13:37-38; 18:15-18, 25-27) and the others would cover their butts (Mk 14:15), yet He loved them through it all. How can focusing on others and meeting their needs with a sacrificial love remove our fears (1John 4:10, 12, 18-19)?
TAG TEAM DISCUSSION:
Which of these life principles will you carry into 2022? Why?