Sermon: People of God, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! We continue to look at St. John’s gospel. We have looked through several resurrection events and accounts. This morning we will take a step back and look into the Thursday before the Resurrection.
Notice first in verse 12 that Jesus begins by stating that He still has many things to tell them, but that they are not able to bear it now. That is to say, there are many truths that need to be developed and the disciples were not yet ready for them. They are not able to bear these truths until they experience them first. Though the disciples are not yet able to bear these things, Jesus is able to bear these things by dying on the cross, even to death. Jesus is not simply referring to a great body of truth that He needs to clarify or impart to His disciples; Jesus is speaking of His body, which must bear the pain of Calvary for the sake of His people. Truth is not merely intellectual propositions, it is tangible and physical. Jesus is the way and the truth, and the life, because He endured the Way, He became Truth, and He has become life for us. One commentator has written that:
“The entire, full truth is a heavy burden for him who is not yet ripe and strong enough for it.”
The disciples are not yet ready to know the purpose and full implications of Jesus’ ministry and their own labors. But they will know soon enough.
In verse 13, we see why St. John has been called the gospel of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth will come and He will guide the disciples into all truth. But notice that He is not bringing some new message, rather He is speaking what the Father and the Son says. The Spirit is the One who confirms and validates the work of the Son. The text also says that He will guide you into all truth. It is a sad matter that some have interpreted such verses to say that we no longer need the institutional church or we no longer need undershepherds to guide us. John has already declared that God ordains under-shepherds to guide His people from false doctrine. Teachers are called by God to instruct His people, as Paul says. In the Church, God manifests and reveals the mysteries of the gospel to His people. In the Church we find a pattern, so we may live throughout the week. The liturgy of the church is the liturgy of life. John is not calling us to intellectual anarchy, He is calling us to see that all truth is in Jesus Christ, but furthermore, all truth is embodied in the New World that Christ brings in His resurrection. The Spirit, in verse 13, will declare to you the things that are to come. What are the things to come? If we take this as a reference to the manifestations of the resurrection, then it is simple to see that John is referring to the kingdom of God. The things that are to come will fundamentally re-shape the present world. The disciples will see this re-shaping when they see the Resurrected Lord. And they will see the Spirit poured upon them at Pentecost.
In verses 14 & 15, the Bible says that the Spirit will declare what is Christ’s and declare it to the disciples when they are prepared. Calvin writes:
“Nothing, therefore, is bestowed on us by the Spirit apart from Christ, but he takes it from Christ, that he may communicate it to us.”
Once again we see a declaration of deity. What the Father possesses belong to the Son. The riches of the Father are equally the Son’s. This is certainly true, but the other side to this is that John is speaking of the Spirit as the great gift to humanity. The Spirit is the gift of the Father to the Son and that becomes the proclamation of the New World. The declaration to the disciples is not just that Jesus will be raised from the dead, though this is central in this narrative, but it is also that the Spirit is being given to the disciples from the Father. In summary, John is telling the readers that the Father is sending the Spirit to reveal and declare the glory of the Son. The Father, Son, and Spirit are working together to accomplish for the world what the world could never accomplish for itself. Continue reading Sermon: The Great Reversal; John 16:12-22