Summary: The Spirit is the presence of Jesus lived through us to others.
Seeing Is Not Believing – John 16: 4b - 15
Intro: When we leave for an extended vacation we usually give instructions to those staying behind as to what will happen in our absence. Things like: The garbage man picks up trash early on Thursday morning, so you have to put the trash cans at the curb on Wednesday night. And, the boy will come on Saturday morning to cut the grass. You will need to be there to pay him no later than 10am. And there are many other instructions like these. --- This passage from John tells the story of Jesus with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. He is attempting to tell them what will happen in his absence.
I. Verses 4b to 7 sets the stage, so to speak, for what is to follow.
A. 1st Jesus tells his friends why he has not told them all this before. The reason is because they just weren’t ready to hear it.
B. Sharon and Joan had been best friends ever since Sharon moved in next door with her husband and three kids. The kids had all married and moved away. Ever since her husband’s death two years earlier Sharon had talked about moving closer to her children; but, Joan didn’t believe she would actually do it until one afternoon when she pulled into her driveway after shopping for groceries and saw the for sale sign on Sharon’s lawn. After the new neighbors moved in Sharon remembered the shared experiences and wisdom of her time with her neighbor Joan. She baked a cake and went next door and rang the bell just as Joan had done with her.
C. If you’ve ever had a similar experience, you know what the disciples were feeling in this scripture lesson.
II. Jesus had in essence posted a “for sale sign” and tried to reassure his friends that the “new neighbor” would be just as good a friend. He would be gone and they wouldn’t see him; but, they had to believe that he was there as he had always been as long as they lived as he lived, taught what he taught and ministered as he had ministered. Jesus describes for the disciples 2 aspects of the work of the “Spirit,” “Counselor,” “Comforter,” “Advocate,” who could not come unless Jesus left.
A. Verse 9 – The Spirit would convict the world that it had sinned in not believing in Jesus.
B. Verse 10 – The Spirit would convict the world of righteousness for Jesus would be shown to be exactly what he claimed to be.
C. Verse 11 – The Spirit will convict the world of their guilt.
III. The disciples would no longer see Jesus; but, Jesus would be there because the Spirit would guide the disciples into all truth and into a deeper understanding and appreciation for all Jesus had taught and done.
A. Verse 12 – During his rather short ministry, Jesus could not teach the disciples all they would need to know – but in His absence the Spirit would open their minds to new understanding and depth of faith not possible if Jesus were with them. / they would probably have left it all to Jesus.
B. Verse 13 – The Spirit of truth will carry forward the work of Christ Jesus for what Jesus had taught them had become so much a part of them they could and would apply his teachings to new situations and circumstances.
C. Verse 14 – The Spirit would never negate what Jesus taught but affirm it by applying it to all the circumstances of their lives.
Conclu: Sharon remembered her friend, Joan every time she welcomed a new neighbor or cared for the neighborhood children so their parents could run errands or hugged a grief-stricken friend. In a way, it was as though Joan had never left at all. --- It was the same with those early disciples and their friend, Jesus. Others came to know and experience Jesus through them without ever seeing him. --- Seeing isn’t believing. Serving as Jesus served is.