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John

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Working Together With God

John 15:26-27

When Jesus left this world, His work would not stop. He had already told His trainee apostles that persecution and suffering would be part of their lifestyle, being hated by those who refused to submit to the Gospel (John 15:18-25). Such pressures might persuade faint hearts to retreat into isolation away from the people who needed to hear the Gospel, so that they might be saved as they believed.

Listening To Jesus Stop Us Going Astray

John 16:1-4

We are all prone to go astray. That is why we need Jesus to bring us back to where we belong. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus was preparing His trainee apostles to be able to stay on track with Him so that they could lead the church. It would not be an easy task; persecution would soon become a normal part of the church’s life.

Personal Grief Reduces Our Horizon

John 16:5-6

Jesus was going away. The disciples did not grasp all that would be involved - with the cross, resurrection and ascension - although Jesus had already told them plainly (Matthew 16:21). All they understood was that Jesus, who had become their life, was going away. What would they do? They would miss Him dreadfully. And if Jesus was killed by the authorities, perhaps they would be as well. In either case, their life would end; or so they thought.

Leaving Space For A Greater Future

John 16:7

Naturally we hate change – especially if it is forced on us. So we can understand that the disciples hated the idea of Jesus leaving them. Rightly, He had become the centre of their lives and they could not imagine life without Him. As He prepared them for this, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth … you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)

The Holy Spirit Works In The Heart

John 16:8-11

Jesus had warned His disciples to expect persecution (John 16:1-4). So, should they retreat from the world to keep safe? No! Jesus had commanded them to speak openly about Him (John 15:27). But even though He would leave them, they would not be alone. The Holy Spirit would give them courage and power to announce the gospel, and He would also work powerfully in the hearts of people who hated them.

The Holy Spirit Guides People Into Truth

John 16:12-14

Shock, grief, anxiety and ignorance make it difficult for people to hear anything new. Jesus recognised that the trainee apostles would be like that as they anticipated His departure, hardly understanding anything of what Jesus had said. More information at that point would simply overload them and risk distressing them further. However, they would not be alone in the future. The Holy Spirit would be sent to each of them in just over seven week’s time.

Three Together Is One

John 16:15-16

Jesus owns all that belongs to God the Father. The Holy Spirit does not give His independent opinion on anything but expresses the truth from Jesus, direct to people’s hearts. And the Father expresses Himself to people through the Spirit and the Son. The wonderful truth about the relationship between God the Father, Son and Spirit is that They are One in thought and purpose, and They work seamlessly together as Almighty God.

When We Don't Understand

John 16:17-19

Uncertainty brings out our true character. Despite all that Jesus had told His disciples about the cross and His return to the Father, they did not understand. So why did they not ask Him directly? Did they feel that they would reveal their ignorance and lose His respect of them? Did they feel that if they discussed it enough they would be able to work it all out? Or did they not really want to hear the answer in case it was too great for them to bear?

A Time To Grieve

John 16:20-22

The crucifixion of Jesus would bring huge grief to the disciples, Jesus’ mother and family, and others who loved Him. It was an enormous grief to Jesus too. He had to endure the cross alone, with its shame and pain, but He was strengthened by the knowledge of the joy of heaven ahead (Hebrews 12:2). The same principle is given in these verses to the trainee apostles: the grief comes first, the joy comes later. Just like in child birth: first the pain and then the joy.

A Time To Ask

John 16:23-34

The resurrection would change everything.  Jesus was preparing the trainee apostles for their new life after the resurrection.  In those days, Jesus would not be physically present all the time.  In that period of 40 days before His ascension He would appear to reassure them that His atoning sacrifice for sins was complete, and that He would be alive for evermore.  But He would also disappear.  Initially they were frightened but Jesus promised that they would receive the Holy Spirit who would be with them for ever (John 14:16).  He would teach them, reminding them of what Jesus had said.  A

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