devotion 3-22-14, John 16:1-15

John 16:1-15

‘I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate* will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about* sin and righteousness and judgement: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Biblical scholars suggest that the Gospel of John was written around 75 – 80 CE. At this time, the Jewish faith could no longer focus on the temple, which was destroyed in 70 CE. The Jewish religion reorganized as a synagogue based faith – and, in an effort to keep the faith “pure”, the Christians, who may have previously worshipped in the synagogues as well as with other Christians, were put out of the synagogues. The author, here, is saying that Jesus warned us that these things would happen; they should not cause us to stumble, but should reinforce our faith.

Jesus knows that his followers are saddened by his telling them that he will leave them. But, he says, it is for your good that I go, and when I go, the Holy Spirit will come to you. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the way for the Spirit to become a part of each of us. In former times, the Spirit acted only in the prophets and special times and people – but with Jesus’ actions for us, the Spirit became available to anyone who follows him. The “born again” idea is a reference to the birth of the Spirit within when we accept him. And the presence of the Spirit gives us strength, and helps us to find truth, and to feel the love of Christ within. Thus, the Spirit proves the world wrong about sin and righteousness, and judgement. In judgement, the ruler of this world (Satan or the presence of evil) is condemned. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, he defeats the powers of sin and darkness, of death and evil. Even though they are still with us, they do not rule; they are already defeated – they just don’t know it yet.

The Spirit will be with us – as it was with the disciples – and we all belong to Jesus, for he has called us and claimed us as his own.

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