John 16.4b-15 (ESV) 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
A gift at the right time is such an amazing blessing. Over Christmas, I love to hear those stories where a waitress has received an excessive tip: a thousand dollars, two thousand, and even more. And then, in the interviews that follow, the waitress usually explains how their circumstances are quite difficult and that this unexpected gift has brought them great joy.
In this passage, the disciples have been hit with some unexpected news that Jesus is going back to the Father (a little strange that it comes across as unexpected to the disciples because, in all of the Gospels, Jesus has constantly pointed to this moment).
The disciples are, as one could well imagine, saddened by this news. But then, Jesus once again points to a surprise joy that His disciples are about to receive, the unexpected gift of God’s own Spirit, and Jesus goes on to describe how the gift of the Spirit is such a blessing to them.
The Spirit, Jesus explains in these verses, will work in two parts, each consisting of three ways.
First in the world (vs. 8-11). The Spirit will show that the world is wrong:
- Wrong, in its refusal to believe in Jesus. If Jesus really is, as John’s Gospel has shown us over and over again, God become flesh, then the refusal to believe is the greatest wrong in history.
- Wrong in its understanding of what is right. John is speaking of the ministry of Jesus and everything Jesus did as the most right thing that has happened in history. That Jesus is returning to the Father provides the proof and vindication that Jesus’ ministry and work was, in fact, the best thing that has ever happened (especially as it concerns the cross and the resurrection).
- Wrong in its understanding of victory. Evil, corruption, injustice, and death seem to be the constant victors of our world. However, the Spirit will point to the victory Jesus has won over death and Satan through Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.
That’s a pretty big part! But there is more!
Second in the church. The Spirit will be at work in Jesus’ disciples and in the church:
- In the truth. Remember that Jesus said of Himself, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6). The Spirit will remind Jesus’ disciples of everything that Jesus has said and done, and the church is to witness to the truth of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness found in and through Jesus alone.
- In the things that are about to unfold. Here, the Spirit will give Jesus’ disciples understanding of all that Jesus endured before, during, and after the cross. The Spirit will reveal all of Jesus’ work and ministry with even greater emphasis on the cross and resurrection. This revelation that will guide the church in her work where it’s planted in the world.
- In glory. The Spirit will give glory to Jesus and will lead Jesus’ disciples to do the same. “The Holy Spirit is, intentionally and willingly, ‘the shy member of the trinity’; he consistently points to the Son, who, in turn, consistently points to the Father (and the Son, as here too, so singularly honors the Spirit).” Dale Bruner.
Wow. Is it any wonder that Jesus said it’s to our advantage that He goes away and that we receive the Spirit (vs. 7)? Did you realize the great blessing that takes up residence in you when you entrust your life to Jesus? An unexpected gift from Jesus Himself to you, at just the right time.
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers.
I'm glad that you've decided pick up these devotionals.
The devotionals started from my own personal need to read through scripture and spend time thinking about what I was reading and the best way for me to do that was to write down my thoughts.
I began to share these devotionals when a student of mine was deployed in the military. He wanted to continue to be challenged to read scripture and keep his life centered on Christ while he was serving abroad and so he asked me if I would be willing to share these devotionals with him.
And so I began to share the devotionals and as others found out what I was doing it began to grow and evolve from that point on.
I pray that these devotionals will encourage your faith in Christ and challenge you as His missional disciple; to follow Jesus wherever He leads.
And I want you to know that I really do pray for you constantly. If you ever have a specific prayer request, please let me know. It helps me to pray for you.
God bless you.