For the past few chapters of John’s gospel, our reflections have been centred on Love, knowing God, abiding in him and the promise of answers to prayers. All these has been necessitated by Jesus’ announcement of his departure to the Father. Jesus prepares the disciples for his departure and in doing this he gives his disciples hope. How does he do this?
First Jesus ensures that the disciples receives the commandment about love. He tries to make them understand the need to show love to one another. Love would bind them with Jesus and God, as well as unite them as children of God. Love would be a distinguishing factor between children of light and children of darkness. He promises them direct access to the Father; It is love that gives them access because God is love.
Click below to read the full text of John Chapter 16 for the biblical text for today’s reflection.
21 Day Lighting Experience – John Chapter 16
The Work of the Holy Spirit
“I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you.
5 But now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me where I am going. 6 And now that I have told you, your hearts are full of sadness. 7 But I am telling you the truth: 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. 8 And when he 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 judgment. 9 They are wrong about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 they are wrong about what is right, because I am going to the Father and you will not see me any more; 11 and they are wrong about judgment, because the ruler of this world has already been judged. 12 “I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. 13 When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come. 14 He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you. 15 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.
Sadness and Gladness
16 “In a little while you will not see me any more, and then a little while later you will see me.” 17 Some of his disciples asked among themselves, “What does this mean? He tells us that in a little while we will not see him, and then a little while later we will see him; and he also says, ‘It is because I am going to the Father.’ 18 What does this ‘a little while’ mean? We don't know what he is talking about!” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said to them, “I said, ‘In a little while you will not see me, and then a little while later you will see me.’ Is this what you are asking about among yourselves? 20 I am telling you the truth: you will cry and weep, but the world will be glad; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into gladness. 21 When a woman is about to give birth, she is sad because her hour of suffering has come; but when the baby is born, she forgets her suffering, because she is happy that a baby has been born into the world. 22 That is how it is with you: now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you. 23 “When that day comes, you will not ask me for anything. I am telling you the truth: the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name.[a] 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete.
Victory over the World
25 “I have used figures of speech to tell you these things. But the time will come when I will not use figures of speech, but will speak to you plainly about the Father. 26 When that day comes, you will ask him in my name; and I do not say that I will ask him on your behalf, 27 for the Father himself loves you. He loves you because you love me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I did come from the Father, and I came into the world; and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” 29 Then his disciples said to him, “Now you are speaking plainly, without using figures of speech. 30 We know now that you know everything; you do not need to have someone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? 32 The time is coming, and is already here, when all of you will be scattered, each of you to your own home, and I will be left all alone. But I am not really alone, because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”
Secondly, Jesus builds their hope as he teaches his disciples how to gain access to God. Jesus tells his disciples to ask the father of anything in his name and it would be given to them. This is important because all the while the disciples have depended on Jesus for everything. Jesus builds their faith, hope and trust in God.
Thirdly, Jesus gives the disciples another confidence boosts by promising them the Spirit of God. In these final hours of their stay with Jesus, they are overwhelmed with a lot of information and kingdom truths. Too many things to learn, too many things to remember. Jesus knew that when he leaves this world, the disciples would face not just the Jewish authorities but the world, who would demand a lot of explanation for following Jesus. If you are asked today about Jesus and your reason for following him, do you have the right answer? The solution to this challenge was the presence of the Holy Spirit; a Helper, who would reveal to them the truth about God.
Lastly, Jesus is blunt about the challenges that would come, the sadness from his departure and expectation or anxiety of his return. Jesus speaks about their fear, trials and persecution, but encourages them to be brave because he has overcome the world.
the triumph of
Good over Evil!
Today’s reflection gives a concise explanation of the last 3 chapters is based on the emphasis of our Christian journey. These chapters encourages us, as present day disciples of Jesus, to make a mark by obeying the commandment of Love. Love binds us with God and unite us as children of God. It is obvious that we do not physically see Jesus but Jesus desires that we abide in him so that he and the Father can abide in us.
These few chapters provides the source of courage of our Christian journey where we feel that we are left alone in the challenges and persecutions of our time. Jesus invites us to pray and ask God for anything in his name. The assurance Jesus has is that once we abide by his words and live in love, then we would be able to access the Father, who is love.
Another word of consolation from these readings is that we have access to the God via the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit of God the truth is revealed to us, so that we can live by the truth and be a light to the world. The spirit enlightens and gives us courage to face peddlers of lies as well as the trials and tribulations of the world. The Holy Spirit is there to help us against the wicked.
We have repeatedly presented the personality of the wicked man (or the wickedness of man) as described in Psalm 36. Click below to read Psalm 36.
21 Day Lighting Experience – Psalm 36 (GNT)
Sin speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; they reject God and do not have reverence for him. 2 Because they think so highly of themselves, they think that God will not discover their sin and condemn it. 3 Their speech is wicked and full of lies; they no longer do what is wise and good. 4 They make evil plans as they lie in bed; nothing they do is good, and they never reject anything evil.
The Goodness of God
5 Lord, your constant love reaches the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is towering like the mountains; your justice is like the depths of the sea. People and animals are in your care. 7 How precious, O God, is your constant love! We find[b] protection under the shadow of your wings. 8 We feast on the abundant food you provide; you let us drink from the river of your goodness. 9 You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light. 10 Continue to love those who know you and to do good to those who are righteous. 11 Do not let proud people attack me or the wicked make me run away. 12 See where evil people have fallen. There they lie, unable to rise.
It is this “Human Wickedness” that Jesus Christ came to address in his time and expects us to contend with same challenges, even today. The wicked man is proud and depends on his perceived knowledge. He is proud and thinks highly of himself. He finds it difficult to do what is wise and good. But is that the way? The psalm tells us that we are expected to abide in the goodness and love of God and remain faithful to him; only then do we have life and the light of God. The psalm expressly reveal that at the end, the evil people would fall. LOVE is the triumph of Good over Evil!
Jesus during his public ministry worked a lot of miracles and spoke a lot of wisdom. He never sought glory in himself. He was not proud. He depended on the Father and sought the will of the Father. Jesus teaches us today to desire that divine connection with God and act in accordance with the will or plan of God, only then do we bear fruits. If you are not one with God, then who are you connected to? If you do not desire the spirit of God, then what kind of spirit leads your life?
Join us tomorrow, 17th February for Lighting Experience – Day 17