I want to focus on those final hours Jesus spent with his disciples. Try to picture the scene in your mind as Jesus gathers with his closest followers inside a small room. He is going to leave them, and he wants to break the sad news to them. What will he say to them? What do they most need to hear? If Jesus knows the immediate future, how will he spend the last hours of freedom? What kind of legacy will he leave?
We don't have to guess at the answers. We may not have the details, but we have enough of a written record to know what he wanted them to grasp. John's Gospel devotes five chapters to describing the events of Jesus' life, beginning the night before his betrayal by Judas. In some ways, the chapters are like the deathbed legacy of a loving parent. They're the important things Jesus wants to say to his followers so he can prepare and equip them to fulfill his plan for them after he has gone.
Everything they had ever seen him do and heard him say was about to be tested in a battle for the souls of humanity. He promises that although he will leave, they don't have to worry. He won't desert them, and they won't be left helpless and powerless. He promises to send the Holy Spirit to enable them to win the great battles that lie ahead.
Like the commander in the opening story, like the presence of Jesus in the upper room, I call you to attention. I want to give you departing instructions for the life that is still ahead.
I want to show you how to have a fulfilled and abundant life as you prepare for a blissful eternity. I want to pass on to you the important instructions you need to know now as you fight life's battles and as you prepare to depart for your eternal home.
At the end of each chapter, I have included several practical things for you to consider and to put into practice. Jesus, our great commander, provided specific, departing instructions for the small group of followers in an upper room in Jerusalem. I've taken the principles of those words to show you how they apply to your life. You can use them to fortify yourself and make yourself ready.
You're heaven bound, and I want you to be fully prepared for the day of your own departure.
Excerpted from GETTING TO HEAVEN: Departing Instructions for Your Life Now © Copyright 2011 by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. Reprinted with permission by Berkley. All rights reserved.