John – God Speaks!
It is hard at times to wrap our heads around the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Can you imagine being one of the disciples hearing Jesus tell the group, “…now I’m going away…it’s is best that I go away…”? Wait, what? Jesus goes on to tell them about their future. “…you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” But don’t abandon your faith! You will have help!
Jesus then introduces the heart of the Holy Spirit, where The Spirit comes from and how he will work in the lives of believers. He is also telling his disciples why He was sent from God and will return to God. But this information is hard, too hard to understand completely. “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now”, says Jesus.
Jesus seems to give them information on a “as needed” basis because they are probably in shock at hearing, “I am going away…”. Their teacher, friend, leader, the One they left the world for…is going away? Why?
In the same moments, Jesus explains the Invisible Presence of Himself and God in the form of the Holy Spirit who will come and be with them, just as He was with them physically. The Holy Spirit will get information from Jesus who will give the words to believers just as Jesus did and said only what the Father, God told him to do and say.
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. (John 5:19-20)
Hold these thoughts as we read…
John 16, New Living Translation
“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. 2 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. 3 This is because they have never known the Father or me. 4 Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.
12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’
The Trinity is a big concept to grasp, and honestly, as humans, I do not believe that our brains are fully capable of understanding the depth of it. However, I do believe that God wants us to try so we can teach others AND our children the concept. As a former teacher, I have used the apple illustration to explain to children. As odd as this might sound, the apple actually provides one of the best metaphors for the Trinity.
An apple has three parts: the seeds, the flesh, and the skin. If you cut an apple in half, you can see that each of these three parts are different (you can even cut the apple for the children so that they can see what you’re talking about). The seeds look different from the flesh, which looks different from the skin.
Each serve a very different purpose, but they are all equally an apple. You can even go so far as to compare the three parts of an apple to the different Persons in the Trinity. The skin is like God the Father, because He protects us. The flesh is like God the Son, because Jesus Christ took on human flesh. The seeds are like God the Holy Spirit, because He helps us to grow. Each of the parts of an apple is different, but they are all ‘apple.’
Back to the discussion Jesus is having with his followers…
Jesus says, “…in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” When the Holy Spirit, who is still God/Jesus, comes, “…he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.”
Can you imagine life without the Holy Spirit?
Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is God, Jesus, part of God but still God? (Like the apple is still an apple?)
Are you ready to allow the Holy Spirit (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to take control and guide you to what is best for you, as told by the Father?
Believe. Later Jesus related to his disciples about future followers, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” John 20:29 The Message
Wow. Jesus is talking about us!
We desire your Invisible Presence! Come Holy Spirit! We need you every hour of every day to guide us to all that is True and Right in your eyes. We need you to protect us from doing things not good for us. We want you to challenge us to obey quickly, even if we have never done what you are asking. Show us where You are at work and invite us to join You there, to do what You want when You want it. Show us the future and direct our plans accordingly. Life is all about You!
Help us to always give You, the Father, all the glory and praise when the work is complete because it is You at work in us to complete what You began in us before the world began.
In Jesus Name, Amen