Reinforcements on its way – Tuesday, 6th Week of Easter – Acts 16:22-34/ John 16:5-11

Reinforcements on its way – Tuesday, 6th Week of Easter – Acts 16:22-34/ John 16:5-11

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Jesus continues his discourse with the apostles. He tells them that “he is going to him who sent him.” Evidently, this time, there was no questions from the disciples prompting Jesus to say, “none of you ask me where are you going?” For those of you who have been following the texts of chapters 14-16 will immediately recall that such questions were asked of Jesus. Jesus seems to overlook Peter’s question in John 13:36 “Lord, where are you going?” as well as Thomas’ statement in John 14:5 “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”. So why does Jesus make such a statement?

It is clear that the truth of the passion and suffering of Jesus has sunk in. They are now convinced that he is going away. He has just spoken of the Paraclete as a replacement for his own presence among his disciples. The disciples have been stunned into silence for the penny has finally dropped. In their shock and grief, they simply do not know what to say and so Jesus consoles them by assuring them that it is better this way, because unless he leaves, the Paraclete will not come.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ preferred term for the Spirit is the Paraclete. Because this word is notoriously difficult to translate without losing key components of its meaning, many commentators avoid the problem altogether and simply transliterate the Greek and not translate it. The Greek noun Paraclete is related to a verb that means “I call alongside.” The Paraclete, then, is the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus calls to accompany his followers as a helper, counselor, advocate, and guide. Though sent by Jesus, the Spirit goes out from the Father. In this passage Jesus outlines the critical role that the Spirit will play both in the Christian community and in the world.

An essential part of the Spirit’s task is to bring to mind the words that Jesus has already taught the disciples and to teach them the words that they were not yet able to bear when Jesus was physically present among them. Jesus also describes the Paraclete as the Spirit of truth who will expose sin, righteousness, and judgment and who will lead Jesus’ followers into all truth. Often the world has its own take on what sin is, on what righteousness is and what judgment is.

The Paraclete exposes the world’s sin by pointing to its opposite, the righteous one whom a sinful world crucified. Jesus tells us that that Holy Spirit will open our minds to the truth of the sin of denying who Jesus is; the Messiah. The Holy Spirit will open the minds of believers that Jesus is the righteous one who as a consequence ascended to the right hand of the father. The judgment of satan over Jesus which the world rejoiced will be short lived because satan, the ruler of this world is himself condemned.

The Spirit will continue Jesus’ work by revealing the truth about sin and righteousness and judgment, just as Jesus did. Addressing the sadness of the apostles Jesus assures them that reinforcements are on the way.

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