This is Day Thirty of Christ Church Manchester’s lent devotionals, where we are breaking down the book of John. Written by Anna Kell.
John 16: 1-15
In yesterday’s passage, we had a glimpse of the beautiful gift that is ours after Jesus’ imminent departure. John 15:28 – “The Helper will come – the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God and who comes from the Father. I will send him to you from the Father, and he will speak about me.”
Today, we are looking at John 16:1-15. We will discover why Jesus actually had to go in order for us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and what this means for our lives today.
“It is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you.” – John 16:7-8
Firstly, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the true sacrifice that Jesus is about to make on the cross. John 16:8 says “And when he [The Helper] comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God’s judgement.”
Thankfully, this verse does not mean that God is out to get us because we are awful people. This verse is actually full of immense encouragement because the Spirit makes us acutely aware that we need a Saviour. It is only through convincing the world of our sin and realising that we are guilty before God, that we can truly see the righteousness of Jesus, and how this sets us free.
Christ’s ascension proves that the ransom was accepted and that Christ has overcome all things. John 16:11 says that “…the ruler of this world has already been judged”. Satan has been conquered and we are set free! We are completely right standing with God and the Holy Spirit living in us can help us realise the beauty of this truth.
“When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth” – John 16:13. Secondly, the gift of the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to the truth: the truth of who Jesus is, the truth of His death and the truth of our salvation through His resurrection and ascension. If Jesus had stayed on Earth after His resurrection, there would have been nothing for us to believe. Anyone could have visited him to prove that he had been raised to life and there would have been no need for faith.
Instead, the Holy Spirit enables us to believe this truth of our freedom even though we did not see Jesus’ resurrection for ourselves. The Holy Spirit lives in us and reveals all truth to us. He is all-knowing, He knows the will of God in our life and He wants to lead us to it. If we want to know the will of God, we need to get to know the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit allows us to have a true relationship with God. In John 16:15, Jesus states “All that my Father has is mine; that is why I said that the Spirit will take what I give him and tell it to you.” The Holy Spirit is a person with His own will and mind, and He is sent by God to communicate the truth of Jesus. He lives inside us, making us holy before God (as the Holy Spirit is God and God cannot live anywhere that is not holy) and He allows us to hear God’s voice.
By ascending into Heaven, Jesus has left behind the most precious gift that means we can communicate directly with God, despite the fact He is no longer on Earth. How wonderful is it to realise the truth that we can have continuous two-way conversations with Jesus?
I used to think ‘hearing God’ meant a booming voice would come down from the Heavens but, in reality, hearing God’s voice is more like knowing it’s time for breakfast. You feel a persistent feeling to do (or say) something, you’re nudged to want to do it, and then you do it. Jesus says that his sheep recognise His voice (John 10:4) and, as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, we can learn to recognise the way He nudges us by the more we yield to His will and press into His friendship.
The Spirit is the key to an intimate relationship with God. He transformers our character and works all good things to their completion in us. He makes us flourish in the security of our belonging to Christ and our freedom in Him, and we are made holy before the Creator of the Universe due to His presence in us.
I encourage you then, not to pray that God would speak to you more, as He is always speaking to you, but that you would listen more, fully realising the precious and joyful gift that the Holy Spirit is to us this Easter.
Written by:Andy Dowdeswell