Hello, it’s Wednesday and today we’re looking at John 16: 5-16. We’re still in the middle of the last long chat that Jesus has with His disciples before He goes to the cross.
Let’s get straight into today’s passage. Here are verses 5-7.
But now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
In this passage we see a very human reaction from the disciples to Jesus saying that He is going to leave them. According to what Jesus is saying here, their immediate reaction is to look inwards. To say, “how will this affect us Jesus?” The passage says they were filled with grief. They instantly turned to mourning what was lost rather than looking to what Jesus was actually going to do next. Jesus tells his disciples that they’re second guessing His plan, assuming it will be worse for them than if He stayed alive. He’s got something better, but they’re not interested in finding out what that is, all they have to do is ask!
This is a situation that many of us can relate to. Often life doesn’t work out the way that we’ve planned it. Illness strikes someone who should be fit and healthy. The timeline that we had in our heads for getting married or for starting a family doesn’t work out. As happened to us once, the car breaks down and you miss the wedding you’ve been looking forward to. My role here at STC is working with young adults. Finding a job and starting a career is a topic that often comes up. Particularly over summer, there are loads of young adults and students, and I’m sure some others as well, that will be looking for jobs. It can wear you down if you don’t find one quickly. This is a good example of where we even mourn over things that we never had to start with.
With all of this, it’s important to say that Jesus is not telling us not to mourn. He’s not just saying, well I’ve got a better idea so get over it. After all, He mourns with those who love Lazarus even though He plans on bringing Lazarus back to life! Mourning is an important process that we need to journey through to allow us to live well. There is rubbish stuff in life. Jesus doesn’t say that life will be easy. He says take my yoke and let’s walk through it together.
If Jesus isn’t telling us not to mourn, then what is He saying in this passage? When bad things happen in our lives it can wear us down. Small things disappoint us, lower our expectations. When the disappointments stack up we become people who expect disappointment. We become pessimistic. Mick, our team leader here at STC, often says that he doesn’t use the word disappointment any more. He uses the phrase ‘a disappointment is just an opportunity for a reappointment’. The idea that God can and will do something better. Not that God planned the bad thing or sent the sickness, that’s not how He works. But that we have a God who can restore and redeem. A God who can take a death on the cross, the ultimate humiliation, punishment and defeat, and turn it into eternal glory, salvation and victory.
This week we are talking about the different perspective on life that Jesus gives us. Today the difference is how the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives moves us from being disappointed pessimists, not even to optimists, but to hope filled people. People with a confident expectation that the God who conquered the grave will ultimately bring about good things in our lives. Confident that God will work in us through His Spirit to build His kingdom in the places that we live and work.
Father thank you for this passage. Thank you that you send the Holy Spirit to be with each one of us. Help us to live as Spirit filled and hope orientated people today. Amen.
READING: John 16:5-16
I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’
Jesus went on to say, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’