Summary: The role of the Holy Spirit in our becoming human.
A man and a woman, who were friends for many years, died and went to heaven. They told St. Peter they wanted to get married in Heaven.
“Take your time and think about it,” said St. Peter. “You have an eternity to think about it here. I’ll send you back to Earth for the time being. Come back and talk to me about it in 50-years.”
Fifty years later the couple, now very elderly, returned and again told St. Peter they still wanted to get married in Heaven.
“Take your time and think some more about it, “St. Peter said. “Come back and see me in another 50-years, and if we don’t have a preacher up here by then, I’ll marry you myself.”
There may be questions about preachers making it to heaven, but there is no question about Messiah’s place with God. Since we are indisputably positive about Jesus’ place in the order of authority, this means His words in John 16:12-15 are also unquestionable. The words, His words in this Scripture, give us insight into the Father’s plan for power and authority in every believer’s life. Here, Yeshua speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit, declaring to the disciples all the truth that is His from the Father will be available.
Last week we learned how to have God’s power with us, beside us as a constant resource. Now that we have this knowledge, we discover what the Holy Spirit will do for us and through us to benefit each of us so that the body of Christ and society will live and function as God intended.
Too often we are subjected to teaching about the arrival of the Holy Spirit, as if “arriving” is all He does. It’s fair to ask the question, “Does the Holy Spirit arrive, then leave, then return again and again, only to demonstrate how wonderful it is to receive Him?” Not according to the Son of God. If His authority counts, then His words about the role of the Holy Spirit are worth our attention.
Imagine the scene when Yeshua gathered the disciples around a rough-cut wooden conference table where they had just accepted the unleavened bread and wine, the truth and spirit of our Lord. Judas had already bolted out the door with his wine-soaked bread, his Last Supper to-go meal, to betray the Master and collect his pay. Notice that Judas did not “drink” from the cup as Christ asked, which separated him from a distinct understanding of truth and spirit. Each of the disciples would hear these parting words recorded in John 16 as they would fit into their own experiences and prejudice. They were behind closed doors partaking in moments of profound importance. Somebody, likely Lazarus, was taking notes otherwise we would not have such precise words and unbiased descriptions of events. The sun is setting, streaming beams of golden light across the table while the most important dinner speaker in history is making His remarks. Some of the words were familiar to them, yet this group had not heard them in such precise terms. They listened attentively as they sensed the Master’s intensity. Some responded but Yeshua did most of the talking. Even with sparse communication from disciples, we have a deeper glimpse into their characters. An amazing thing in this picture is how precise and calm Messiah appeared to be. Anxiety over events to happen in the following 24-hours was not seen until the garden prayer we read about in Luke 22:39, Mark 14:32 and John 18:1.
These series of Scriptures, beginning with John chapter 13, are amazing, making the Fourth Gospel a cornerstone of Christianity since they are loaded with the literal truth and Spirit of Messiah. It’s here that truth is not being spoken in terms of a story or parable, but blunt, to-the-point facts, which eliminates, or should abolish, erroneous interpretation. Still, some modern-day religious leaders find this truth somewhat inconvenient and the source of doctrinal controversy. A schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches over this subject took root in the eleventh century and continues today.
Did the person taking notes while Jesus spoke get the story wrong, thus causing division now? We have no problem with the Lord’s Supper and other information in these chapters, which causes me to be curious as to why there would be such disagreement over this passage in the 16th chapter. Disagreements about this scripture go all the way back to the third century. Perhaps today you can weigh the evidence to decide if these words of the Master are relevant to your thinking, of if you have reason to disagree with the meaning of your Savior’s words.
Yeshua knew that following this Upper Room meeting, events would be in motion that would lead to His arrest, then His death the next day. The disciples intellectually knew that life was going to be much different, although I question if their emotions could grasp the intensity of this change. If you have ever lost a loved one to death, and you knew time was short for them before they died, you also know that reality still assaults your spirit with loads of grief when they are taken away. So, it’s understandable how the knowledge of Christ’s departure was received with a, we-don’t-get-it, wide-eyed response from the disciples, since Messiah’s departure had yet to become real. Mark 14:32 and John 18:1 tells us plainly that the disciples slept while Messiah intensely prayed—in agony. We are like the disciples in that nothing makes us understand like reality. The same is true with the Holy Spirit, yet perception of the Holy Spirit’s reality varies widely.