7 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. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness,because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 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. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 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.”
(John 16:7-15 NIV)
As we began chapter 16 last time, Jesus looped back to the same topics He covered at the end of Chapter 15 and repeated the same points with an additional perspective. The two themes? 1) The world’s hatred for Jesus (and by association, His disciples), and 2) The coming and purpose of the Holy Spirit. Last time, we covered the first point of the world hating Jesus.
Today, in verses 7 – 15, Jesus switches to the second theme – the Holy Spirit’s arrival and purpose. Jesus starts this topic with His quintessential “pay attention” phrase (“Very truly I tell you” – KJV, “Verily, verily I say unto you”). In verse 7, Jesus uses the same word for the Holy Spirit (“Advocate”), but this time in the context of a defender who argues a courtroom case on behalf of the client, not as a comforting friend.
In verses 8 – 11, Jesus then told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would completely change how the world thought about sin, righteousness, and judgment:
- Sin – under the Law, sin was associated with acts of unrighteousness. In the new paradigm, sin would be unbelief in Jesus as Messiah.
- Righteousness – under the Law, righteousness was about human performance, which never could satisfy God’s standard of perfection. In the new paradigm, righteousness would be the result of our right relationship with God the Father, available only through Jesus. Jesus was going back to the Father, and the Father was accepting Him with open arms. Through Jesus, the Father offers us the same welcome to the community of the Trinity.
- Judgment – under the Law, Satan was the accuser and judged everyone for their sins. In the new paradigm, because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, God will judge Satan and Satan will become the condemned one. Those who believe in Jesus as Messiah are set free from Satan’s condemnation and judgment.
In verses 12 – 15, Jesus knows that His disciples are at the breaking point, as He has already acknowledged in verse 6. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will guide them and remind them of all the things He has spoken after He is gone. Jesus will tell the Holy Spirit what to say, and the Holy Spirit will then instruct them (and us) in what to say and do.
Dear friends, the same promises Jesus made to His disciples before the cross are our living reality after the cross.
May we live in the fullness and victory of Jesus as our living hope, promise, and truth.