THE 89 DAY GOSPEL CHALLENGE
DAY EIGHTY-FOUR JOHN SIXTEEN
More and more of the conversation between Jesus and His disciples concerned His departure out of the world and His return to the Father. They had an amazing journey together. Think about all they had seen. Blind people receiving sight. Lame limbs strengthened so crippled men could walk. Demoniacs freed from unclean spirits and getting control of their lives again. Dead being raised to life.
Then there was the teaching. There Sermon on the Mount prepared them for life in the Kingdom. The Olivet Discourse revealed prophecy and the coming destruction of Israel. The discourse on the Bread of Life in John when many of His disciples turned and walked with Him no more. But the twelve stayed. They had been with Him from the beginning. Now they were close to the end.
He had spoken often of what laid ahead. He would go to Jerusalem, be tortured, crucified, and buried. But on the third day, He would rise again. He had warned them, but they were not listening. Perhaps they did not want to listen. In spite of all Jesus’ efforts to prepare them, the crucifixion caught them unaware and the resurrection completely surprised them.
In chapter sixteen Jesus continues to equip them for life without Him and for the time when they would see Him no more.
1. Jesus prepares the Disciples for His Departure (v. 1-4)
Jesus warned the disciples that persecution was coming. The enemies of Jesus would not be satisfied with His death. Especially after the Day of Pentecost when the church would explode. They threatened Peter and John never to speak in the name of Jesus after they had healed a lame beggar at the temple gate. They murdered Stephan for telling the truth. After his death, the persecution was so great that many had to leave Jerusalem. But they took the Gospel with them. That’s when the Gospel really began to spread and even got the attention of the Roman Empire. They raised the level of persecution to an art form, devising all manner of torture in efforts to get believers to recant their faith in Jesus.
“I want you to be prepared when the persecution comes. I don’t want it to undermine your faith. Remember when it comes, that I told you it was coming.” He hadn’t told them earlier because He was with them. As long as He was with them, He protected them. But He was leaving.
“They will put you out of the synagogues. They will excommunicate you from your heritage. Some will think that by killing you they will be doing God’s will.” That’s what Saul of Tarsus thought when he led the crowd to stone Stephen. It would be hard. But He promised they would not face it alone.
2. The Work of the Holy Spirit (v. 5-15)
Jesus sensed their pain. Grief immediately set in. They wondered how they could go on without their Master. Then Jesus said, “It is to your advantage I go away. The Helper will not come to you until I am gone.”
The Helper or the Comforter (KJV) will come to you. When He arrives, He will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. He will show the difference between what is sin and what is righteousness. The Pharisees and the scribes had gotten it all confused.
1) He will convict of sin because sinful men rejected Jesus. The Pharisees did not believe. Very few of the religious leaders accepted Him. The nation would suffer for their sin. The Holy Spirit would not only convict men of rejecting Jesus but also convince them to accept Jesus as Messiah and Savior.
2) He will convict of righteousness. Jesus would return to the Father. The Holy Spirit would lead the believer to lead a righteous life. He instructs in righteousness and leads in our sanctification.
3) He will convict of judgment because the Devil has been judged and his power is coming to an end. The cross paid the ransom for sin and broke man’s bondage to the Devil. The Spirit is greater than the Devil. The Devil will attack from the outside but the Spirit protects us, encourages us, and teaches us from the inside.
4) The Spirit will be the ultimate teacher. Jesus told the disciples that there were many other things He wanted to teach them but they were not ready yet. The Spirit came to complete their “education” and to lead them, and us, to all truth.
5) The Spirit did not come to seek His own glory but to bring glory to Jesus.
3. Sorrow turned to Joy (v. 16-23)
Jesus continued to tell the disciples that He was going away. They wanted to ask Him where He was going but they were afraid to say anything. Jesus sensed their sorrow and He told them that He would go away and they would be very sorrowful but that their sorrow would be turned to joy.
He told them they would see Him again. Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection. He was going away in death and they would lament and weep. But He would rise again and it would turn their sorrow into joy.
Jesus gave the illustration of a pregnant woman. When the woman goes into labor she is in great pain. Some will say, “I will never do this again.” But when the baby is born, and they hold that new life in their hands, their pain turns to joy and they start to plan the next pregnancy. Their joy overwhelmed their pain and the pain was forgotten.
Jesus spoke of the process to complete God’s plan and His mission. There was sorrow at the cross. But there was joy in the resurrection. It was a joy that persecution, torture, and death could not steal. They cowered in fear when Jesus was arrested and murdered. But the resurrection lit a spark in them that an empire could not dose. Empowered by the resurrection they turned the world upside-down in less than fifty years.
4. Jesus overcomes the World (v. 24-33)
Jesus had spoken to the disciples in figurative language in the past. He used parables and metaphors to illustrate spiritual truths. They asked Him to speak to them in straight terms, holding nothing back. Jesus said, “The hour is coming when they will scatter you and you will leave me alone. But the Father will be with Me and I will never be alone. I am telling you these things that you may have peace. In this world, you will have tribulation. They will hate you because they hated me. Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Jesus did not leave us alone. He left the Holy Spirit for our comfort and for power to overcome the world. It is that assurance that gives us His peace. On earth, there is no peace. But in Jesus, there is peace.
Walk in His peace today. The world may be against you but He is with you always.
Love to all!