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Reflection on John 16:5-33
送交者: Karen 2017年03月20日07:27:04 于 [美国移民] 发送悄悄话


On the night before Jesus was crucified, with His arrest only a few hours away, Jesus had spoken of the coming persecution for the disciples to encounter after His own disappearing in front of them and going back to His Father. The disciples were heartbroken to hear He was leaving. They were shocked and disoriented. But their grief was caused largely by their preoccupation with their own fate, things would happen to them. They were more sorrowful because of what Jesus had shared about "these things", which would happen to them, like being "put out of the synagogue". In this stressful moment Jesus brought their fears into open by saying, "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going? ’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief." During the time the disciples were with Jesus on earth, they were like sheep following their Shepherd, they probably didn't worry much about where their Shepherd would go. They just couldn't imagine what would happen to them when their Shepherd was gone. It made no sense to them at all. They were scared. When they were consumed with their own problems, it is hard for them to focus upon their Master's dilemma.

The disciples were caught up with their own sorrows. It made it even harder for them to realize that Jesus' departure was the best thing that could happen to them at the time. Jesus explained what seemed unthinkable, "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." When Jesus became man, He allowed time and space to confine Him. He needed food and sleep, which could be considered His own human limitations. The Holy Spirit sent by the Father and the Son has no such limitations. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus' companionship and presence so much more available to believers than when He was present with the disciples on earth. The Holy Spirit will not only be with us, but in us as well. Through the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Jesus, Jesus is with us and even inside us, regardless of time, space, and circumstances. However, the Holy Spirit is not to serve as a mere advantage for our life in this world. He helps us to mature  and magnify God in every aspect. 

Next, Jesus was about to mention two major advantages of the Holy Spirit's coming. First the Holy Spirit convicts the world as Jesus said, "When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." Jesus explained, "in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me." Jesus was talking here about the greatest sin which was "men do not believe in" Him. This terrible sin lies at the root of all sinful behaviors. More than any particular sin, the world's attitude to Jesus is awfully sinful,  which shows rebellion against God and His perfect will. Jesus continued, "in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer". God proved the righteousness of His Son by raising Him from death and exalting Him to His throne. The only righteousness which is accepted by God is the righteousness of His Son. Ultimately,  conviction of sin is always associated with the perfect standard of righteousness approved by God, not by man. It doesn't matter what we try to do which seems right to us, our own righteousness is like filthy rags. There is no way we can be good enough according to His standard on our own. But the good news is that God clothes us with the righteousness of His Son if we believe in Him. Then, Jesus said, "in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." Jesus acknowledged the power and personality of Satan by calling him "the prince of the world". Satan's power is great, but he cannot exceed the limits God has placed on him. And he is already a defeated foe because he has been judged. Everyone who doesn't believe in Christ follows Satan, and will share his condemnation. If we believe in Jesus, God delivers us from Satan's power no matter how long or how strongly Satan has bound us, and God's judgment will not fall on us because it fell on His Son at the cross. So the first major advantage of the Holy Spirit's coming is His involvement with the world to tell everyone what is sin, what is considered righteousness, what stands condemned, according to God's standards.

Second, the Holy Spirit communicates to believers. Jesus told His disciples, "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 truth." Jesus had so much truth and insight that He longed to share with His disciples, but He would only do so as the disciples were able to bear. The full weight of the Lord's words remained beyond the disciples' capability to understand and live out until the coming of the Holy Spirit who would enable them to understand and live out the truth. The Holy Spirit shines His light so we see the truth about Jesus' identity, our sinfulness and His power and grace. What once seemed veiled will become increasingly clear as the Holy Spirit transforms our mind and emotions. The Spirit of truth also empowers us to listen and obey Jesus with love as we respond to His love for us. The Holy Spirit is eternal, fully God and equally worthy of worship as the Father and the Son. Yet Jesus says the Holy Spirit "will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." The Holy Spirit taught all Bible writers and guided them into truth, so they wrote with God's authority in order to tell the readers God's perfect will, including things still future to us. When we have read God's Word and chosen not to obey it or apply it to our lives, we tell the Spirit "no" or "not now". We might find it is harder and harder to hear from Him, might eventually stop hearing from Him. Without the Holy Spirit's work, no one can believe Jesus and claim He is the Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit's primary job description is to glorify Jesus, the main character of the Bible. Jesus is the center of attention, the focus of all communications made by the Holy Spirit with believers. Like Jesus says, "He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." By revealing the Son, the Holy Spirit is actually revealing the Father because all that the Son has comes from the Father. The Father is pleased when the Holy Spirit delights to glorify Jesus within our mind and emotions , making Jesus real and lovely to us.

Then Jesus wanted His disciples to grasp that they would see Him again soon. He said, "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me." Jesus spoke of "a little while" to point not only to the immediate future of His death and resurrection, but also to a later fulfillment of His ascension and future return. His disciples didn't understand what He meant. They kept asking one another, "What does he mean by ‘a little while’ and 'I am going to the Father'?" They wouldn't get the answers by asking one another. They could only get the answers from Jesus. "Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this", He gave them a picture to help them understand some of the characteristics of the double intervals. "A little while" until they did not see, followed by "a little while" until they would see, is a time of sorrow and then joy. Jesus said, "You will weep and mourn while the world rejoice, You will grief, but your grief will turn to joy." The disciples would soon experience intense sorrow at the cross. They wept and mourned while the unbelieving world around them rejoiced. Their suffering is acute and purposeful. As "a woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world." The joy the disciples would experience when they saw Jesus again definitely would make the pain and sorrow of the preceding "a little while" fade quickly as with a mother who holds her newborn. The sorrow would pass, but the joy would remain forever. Neither men or devils, neither suffering in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. Eventually, sorrow is coming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen. The believers are heirs to joy which no one can take away. Like Jesus explained, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." Do we all know this joy, the joy of resurrection, of the presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, of being with Jesus forever when we see Him again?

Then Jesus said, "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. ... My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." Obviously, Jesus used "in that day" to describe the time period when the disciples' redemption would be complete. Like the disciples then, believers today can go directly to God in prayer in Jesus' name. When the disciples were with Jesus, they didn't have to "ask anything in" His name. They asked Him questions directly. But after His return to His Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed His disciples, "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." His instruction remains the same for us today. After Jesus returned to His Father, the believers will benefit from four aspects. First, their joy "will be complete" because their prayer in Jesus' name got answered. Asking of the Father shows a sense of spiritual wants, and a desire of spiritual blessing, with conviction that they are to be had from God only. Second, they can expect to understand God much better since Jesus through the Holy Spirit "will tell" them "plainly about" His Father. Third, they can have greater power through prayer asked directly to the Father in Jesus' name. Asking in Christ's name, is acknowledging our unworthiness to receive any favours from God, and shows full dependence upon Christ as the Lord.  Finally, they have full communion with the Father, like Jesus said, "the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God."

At last the disciples began to show that they understood something about what Jesus meant. They eagerly confessed their faith in Him and His complete knowledge by saying, "Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God." Jesus accepted their belief by replying, "You believe at last!" The disciples didn't yet grasp the full glory of their Master and they didn't understand their own weakness. Only Jesus knew how their faith would be tried. Jesus warned them, "You will be scattered, each to his own home." Jesus warned them to encourage them like He said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Jesus gives peace for His own. Nothing or no one can touch the peace Jesus gives. And He has overcome the world, secured the victory for His own. He also shared His winning secret, He said, "I am not alone, for my Father is with me." Jesus was forsaken by the whole world but never by His Father. His Father accomplished His will in Jesus' life. When we are in Christ, we are never alone. We will never be forsaken by Him. Jesus Christ will accomplish His will in our lives, no matter how weak we are now. This is great news!


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