26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
One of the works of the Spirit is to testify to the truth of God, carrying on the work of Jesus. And we are invited as well to carry on the work of Jesus by testifying to this truth. Jesus warns us that there will be resistance, misunderstanding, and rejection so that we will not lose our way when we experience difficulty.
- Where do you see the Spirit testifying to God today?
- In what context are you testifying to the work of God and are you experiencing resistance and/or misunderstanding?
- What is Jesus inviting you to in this season of your life as you carry on his ministry?
Gracious Jesus, you did not lead us to believe that following you as participants of your kingdom would be easy. You laid it out for us so that we would be prepared and not stumble. Renew our courage to testify to your truth and help us to use every opportunity to be your agents of truth and love in the world. In Your name, Amen.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
As Jesus prepares his disciples for their participation in His kingdom, they are overwhelmed with the prospect of Jesus no longer being with them. But He assures them that his Spirit will be among them in ways that Jesus was unable to be, being present with them in spirit always, to the end of the age.
- In what ways do you see that it is good that Jesus is no longer physically with us?
- How do you experience the Holy Spirit in your life?
- What does it mean to you that the Holy Spirit is your Advocate, or One who walks beside you?
Gracious Jesus, thank you for your continued work in our lives, and continued presence through your Spirit. Give us the capacity to see with our hearts so that we might encounter you throughout our days. Turn our attention to you and to how you see the world so that we might continue to be your agents of love and truth to those around us. In Your name, Amen.
8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
The Spirit comes to continue the work of Christ on earth, both in the lives of unbelievers and believers. The Spirit is God, just as Christ is, and works to draw all to Godself. There is more for us to learn from the Spirit and there is more for us to do and be in the world through the work of the Spirit. Our invitation is to participate in declaring the things of God to a world that needs to hear, beginning in our own contexts.
- As you think of Jesus’ ministry on earth, how do you see and experience his continued work through the Spirit?
- Where do you see the Spirit continuing to guide you into all truth?
- How do you find yourself participating in the things of God in your daily life?
Gracious Lord, thank you that your ministry to believers and unbelievers continues through the Spirit of God that is ever present and ever working among us. Give us faith to believe in your work in the world, eyes to see what you are doing, and courage to step in as participants wherever we are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
16 “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’?
Jesus has told them a lot in the upper room. What is starting to sink in for them is the reality that things are changing, and that Jesus will not be with them. The disciples are probably experiencing feelings of disruption, panic, grief...you name it. We all experience these emotions in the face of daunting change. And it is then that we are invited to take our questions and emotions to Jesus, who already knows our heart and holds us with compassion.
- When have you experienced daunting change?
- Where did you experience Jesus in it?
- Is there something now that is leaving you unsettled that you need to seek Jesus for answers about?
Gracious Jesus, thank you that we serve a God who knows us in our deepest selves and who meets us in our uncertainties. We lay our fears and questions before you and ask that you will provide what we need to be your faithful followers in a time of uncertainty. In Your name, Amen.
20 Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. 22 So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
Jesus continues to prepare his followers for the road ahead when he is not physically with them. He does not tell them that the road will be easy and free of sorrow and pain, but he does promise that their work will bring joy and that God will provide for them what they ask for.
- When have you experienced sorrow and mourning in your journey with Christ?
- Have you ever experienced a time when your pain turned into joy?
- As you seek to be faithful to Jesus during this time, what do you need from him?
Gracious Lord, thank you that your words prepare us for what to expect so that we are not surprised when the journey gets difficult and painful. We pray for joy as we faithfully follow you in whatever context you have put us and ask that you give us the strength to do the work that you have called us to do today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.