I find it fascinating to watch children develop in their thinking. When they are very young, they are only concerned about themselves. They play alone, even when they are surrounded by other children. But as they get older a change occurs. They begin to consider others, its lovely when a child becomes aware that you have done something for them and decide to say thank you. As we mature we should learn to empathise. Of course we can lapse back at any time and become focused only on ourselves. That’s what appears to be happening with the disciples at the beginning of today’s reading.
The disciples are filled with grief but the grief is about what will happen to them without Jesus. None of them asked what was the purpose, why would Jesus lay down his life for them? Wonderfully, there is no condemnation from Jesus, he meets them right where they are and tells them that it is actually a good thing. The Holy Spirit will indwell them, they will never be alone.
Jesus has been teaching them about the Holy Spirit through the evening and now he adds three important pieces of information;
- “He will convict the world of guilt” (16:8). The commentaries that I have read suggest that the Greek word translated ‘convict’ has a much broader meaning including ‘to expose’. The Holy Spirit challenges people by pointing out their sin. Jesus made it clear that to fail to believe in him is a very serious sin. The Spirit holds them to account against God’s perfect standard of righteousness and warns of the judgement to come when the verdict will be beyond dispute. The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal our need of salvation.
- “He will guide you into all truth” (16:13). Jesus had much more to say (16:12) but it was more than the disciples could bear. The work of guiding them would now be taken up by the Spirit. He speaks through the Scriptures (Hebrews 3:7) and will reveal Christ (15:26).
- “He will bring glory to me” (16:14). The Spirit’s purpose is not to draw attention to himself but to draw attention to Christ. I really believe that when our focus is Jesus, we are in step with the Spirit.
In our reading on Tuesday, we saw that Jesus promised to come back to the disciples. It was a little difficult to see whether Jesus was referring to his resurrection or his glorious return. We have a similar statement in our last verse today but perhaps the meaning is a little clearer. His use of the phrase ‘in a little while’ pointing to his death which was less than twenty-four hours away and when he would be seen again suggests strongly he meant the resurrection. As we shall see tomorrow, the disciples were confused but Jesus had planted a seed of hope that would flower in the days to come.
‘I’ll bring you more than a song,
For a song in itself is not what you have required.
You search much deeper within,
Through the way things appear.
You’re looking into my heart.
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
And it’s all about You, it’s all about you Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it,
When it’s all about You, it’s all about you Jesus.’ (Matt Redman)