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Thursday, December 26, 2013

John 16-It's Gonna Be Bad--But Don't Worry

John 16 is full of reassurance and hope. Jesus says words of comfort and anticipation. He knows this scrappy group of followers will be subject to doubts and temptation, so he is making a last ditch effort to steady them for the battle they will face. He wants to prepare them for the persecution that will follow, but they are still blinded to the seriousness of the situation.

He points out that they are not concerned about where he is going 
or the reason he is leaving, but they are only in grief and anxiety that he is leaving them. He lists the ways this will benefit them: They will receive the Comforter after he is gone.

And the battle is more about their ability to stand when he is gone 
than about a confrontation with the rulers or armies or sinners. He tells them that his leaving will assure the coming of the Comforter. They do not understand this yet, but he wanted to tell them so that when the time comes they will remember that he said it.

He prophesies the coming of the Spirit will convict the world of sin 
because it does not believe in the Son of God, of righteousness because the Son and the Father are united, and of judgment because Satan, the Prince of this world, is judged.

The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth will lead them into more 
understanding and remind them of what he said before. Jesus is still speaking of things they can’t understand. You see me now but for a while you won’t see me; then you will see me again.

They asked each other what this could mean, but Jesus answered 
the question. In this there is a deeper meaning and another revelation. He compares it to the birth of a child. When a woman comes to deliver a baby, she suffers pain and it is intense, but the joy of holding and seeing the baby is more valuable than the pain was detestable.

Just a side note here: The moment when a baby is delivered from 
the mother is one of extreme relief and rapture. No drug, no joy compares with that ecstasy. The joy of receiving the Spirit will be for the Disciples a new level of faith, conviction, joy and obedience. He cannot tell them in words what it will mean, but he wants them to expect something big. The meaning of the coming of the Spirit cannot be overstated. It will change their lives and their world.

In John 16:26 he makes them a promise he has not made before. 
He has said before that they can ask the Father in his name and he will beseech the Father and the Father will grant their request. But now Jesus says that they can address the Father and he will respond because the Father loves them. Even when Jesus is no longer with them, the Father will hear their prayers because they have loved Jesus. Jesus speaks plainly to the Disciples, but they still have trouble understanding because he is referring to future events. He says, “I came from the Father to live in the world, and now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” Now they say they understand, but their sorrow has not yet recognized the fact of his death, the cross, or separation.

He reassures them again. You will be scattered and alone, but I am 
going to my Father. Don’t fear because I have overcome the world.

There is still more to come.