In SECRETS OF THE SPIRIT, Ray Stedman penetrates passages of Scripture and comes up with a meaningful interpretation to aid
modern-day disciples in understanding more clearly Christ's plan for our future, his total understanding of our needs, his
preparation and ,provision for us, and how to carryon his Word and work on earth.
About the Author: Ray C. Stedman emphasizes a strong laymen's training pro. gram in his capacity as pastor of Peninsula Bible
Church in Palo Alto, California. A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from
Talbot Theological Seminary, he has traveled throughout the Orient, Europe and Latin America, holding pastors Conferences and
witnessing, he is the author of several well-received books, including AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY.
Unless otherwise identified, an Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971 and 1973 by the
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches, and are used by permission. Scripture quotations identified KJV are from the King James
Version of the Bible.
SECRETS Of THE SPIRIT
A KEY-WORD BOOK
Published by Pillar Books for Word Books, publishers by arrangement with Fleming H. Revell.
Copyright 1975 by Ray C, Stedman
First Key-Word Book edition, May 1977
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher, except for brief
quotations in reviews.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 74-20925
ISBN: 0-87680-803-8 .
Printed in the United States of America
1 The Towel Wearer
2 Judas and Peter
3 The Cure for Troubled Hearts
4 The Other Comforter
5 Love's Power
6 God's Vineyard
7 Love and Hate
8 The Message of the Spirit
9 The Abiding Principles
10 The Accomplishments of Jesus
The passage known as the Upper Room Discourse in the Gospel of John, chapters 13 through 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 his words to his
disciples, we are permitted here to enter into the thinking and emotions of Jesus just before his own crucifixion. Within hours of
this event, 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 own death.
Because all power in heaven and earth had been placed in the hands of Jesus, he was, in a sense, directing his own death. He was
in charge of the events. Rather than being a helpless victim of circumstances over which he had no control, he was himself
determining them as they went along. Remember how, in the Garden, when the soldiers came to get him, Jesus spoke to them
with such authority that they all fell backward upon the ground! Who was in charge there? Then he gave orders to the soldiers to
dismiss the rest of the apostles and let them go, and the soldiers obeyed. He was in command throughout all this amazing series
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 which is the explanation of those amazing words that he spoke and those amazing works which 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 some tremendous concepts are brought out for their understanding, and for ours as well. He tells them that a
replacement for himself is coming 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 marks 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 which 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 which 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.
As we look carefully, then, at this passage--a few verses at a time--we will begin to see more clearly into the heart of our Lord, into his total understanding of our needs: to see his preparations and provision for us, and to understand more clearly how we are to bear the fruit which remains.
The passage in John's Gospel often referred to as the Upper Room Discourse actually begins with a parable in action. Rather than
a discourse or a message, it begins with the deeds of Jesus, the act of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. In that remarkable event,
simple as it was--and yet strange in many ways--the Apostle John sees very deep and remarkable meaning. There are two
movements in this event, which John gathers up in the preface to this account. First he sees the evidence and the demonstration of
the unchanging love of Jesus for his disciples, Second, he sees a revelation of reality, especially as it related to Judas. Of the first,
Don't be confused, as some have been, by the opening words: before the feast of the Passover. Some have struggled with the
chronology of this event, feeling that these words date the feast of the Lord's Supper as having taken place before the feast of the
Passover, which would be contrary to what the other Gospels record.
But John is not linking this phrase with the subsequent event of the Lord's Supper and the washing of the disciples' feet. He is referring back to the time when Jesus discovered that his hour had come. That information is recorded in chapter 12--when the Greeks came and asked to see Jesus. When Philip and Andrew told Jesus that certain Gentiles were asking for him, this was for him the signal for the beginning of the dramatic denouement of his ministry, the sign that it was now drawing rapidly to an end. He answered them:
All John is saying here is that from that moment on, Jesus understands that the time has come, the hour has struck, that he is now to make his exodus from the world by means of death and resurrection. He has always known what the events would be, but he has not known the time they would come. Now he knows.
From that moment on, he nevertheless remains considerate and compassionate toward his own disciples. That strikes John
dramatically. He is amazed by the fact that Jesus is not thinking of himself, though he knows that this is the hour toward which I
his whole life has been pointing. Rather, his thoughts are still upon his disciples. He teaches them and I manifests love,
compassion, and concern for them to the very end. That is the first thing which John sees in this remarkable scene of the washing
of the disciples' feet. Jesus is still loving his disciples. Now the Passover has come, and Jesus is meeting with his disciples to eat
the Passover meal together:
And during upper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus,
knowing that the Father had given all thing. into his hand, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from
supper, laid aside his garment, and girded himself with a towel. (John 13:2-4)
In this dramatic act of washing his disciples' feet--Judas included--John sees a manifestation of the love of Jesus that seeks yet to
reach the traitor, and the truth of God, the honesty of God which exposes hypocrisy. By means of such action Jesus seeks to lay
hold of Judas's heart and show him what is happening to him. Jesus is moved to do this, John says, by the awareness of his
authority. All things were given into his hands by the Father; he knows that. He knows who he is, knows he has come from God,
knows he is going to God. Moved, then by this sense of his own identity and authority, he begins to expose (by direct words to
him) what Judas is doing and where he is headed at the same time that he teaches the other apostles how to care for one another.
There can be little doubt that here Jesus was deliberately working out a parable for the instruction of his disciples. He was
dramatizing for them the character of his ministry. He was showing them by this means what he had come into the world, to do,
and what he would send them out to do.
We can trace the parable in the events which John records. First, Jesus rose from supper, just as he had once risen from his throne
of glory. Then he laid aside his garments. Paul tells us that when he came into the world in the incarnate state he laid aside the
exercise of his deity. He did not come to act as God; he came to live as man, indwelt by God.Then he girded himself with a towel, just
as Paul later records that: taking the form of a servant...he humbled himself and became obedient unto death (Philippians 2:7,8). So here he
humbles himself, taking the role of a slave and girding himself with a towel.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?