John 16 Told You, So…

Questions: When is it good to know the future? Even a bad future? How can we cope without Jesus? Of what does the Spirit convict us? What might he show us? How can that bring peace?
“Read More” to pursue answers in the Gospel of John.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love.
Draw me into your holy Presence, that I might know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ in this world, and the world to come. Amen.

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Definitely one of the more depressing opening passages. 😦 Knowing that it is because they hate what is good and true and beautiful is cold comfort — though still better than not knowing:

But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me;

Talk about a double-whammy. First they find out they’re going to be persecuted, and now they learn they’ll face it without Jesus! No wonder they’re bummed.

and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

The more I learn about Jesus — and the more I learn to make myself vulnerable to other men for support and encouragement — the more devastated I am by the fact that he is no longer present. Like the disciples, I have a hard time believing it is a “sumptuous” blessing in disguise — though I appreciate its importance:

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

* Of sin, because they believe not on me;

* Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

* Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

A short phrase using simple terms, but somehow it feels like my mind isn’t big enough to grasp their significance. The main thrust seems to be that the Spirit will help them see the error of their ways: that sin comes from not submitting to Jesus, that Jesus ascension shows that represents the true nature of the God we must submit to, and that the time for getting away with evil is over.
But, I suspect I’m not getting the half of it. Fortunately, Jesus has a solution for that:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

A powerful promise, albeit coupled with a paradoxical puzzle:

A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said [some] of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

I find it ironic that they don’t think/dare to ask Jesus, even though he’s right there (for a while :-). Of course, they’d probably think it even more ironic that I similarly fail to take advantage of the Spirit!

Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Of course this makes perfect sense to us in the context of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but it is difficult to imagine how bizarre it must’ve sounded to them. Even the promise of future joy must’ve been swallowed up in imminent sorrow. But there’s one more promise:

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give [it] you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

This is pretty mind-blowing, once you think of it. They’re used to asking (or not asking 😉 Jesus, but now they have the opportunity to tap directly into the same source Jesus used, the Father. The implication is that to the extent we possess the character (“name”) of Jesus, we can receive like Jesus did. Yow!
But wait, it gets better:

These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

Moulin Rouge was right: the greatest thing in the world is to love, and be loved in return — in proportion to the greatness of what is loved. We are assured not merely the Father’s ear, but his heart.
And somehow, this finally gets through to the disciples:

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

I’m not sure what made the difference; perhaps it was that he was finally sufficiently explicit about leaving the world and going to the Father. However, there new-found belief isn’t nearly as strong as they think it is:

Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone:


and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Well, that’s something. Everything, even:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Peace. Shalom. Perhaps even Nirvana.
Elusive in the best of times, but in the midst of tribulations? What kind of God would dare promise that?
What price will he pay to demonstrate that peace?
Father, I thank you that you did not leave us alone. That though Jesus is no long present in a body, He is still present in His body, the Church, through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. May he convict me of all sin, righteousness, and judgement, that I may know the true Name of Jesus, in which I can ask you anything. And I ask you now to make me like Jesus, mind, body, heart, and soul. In Jesus name! Amen.