Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 14:23
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Text: John 15:26-16:15
Jesus gives his disciples the promise that the Holy Spirit will come to comfort them. They are “filled with grief” because Jesus states emphatically that He is going to be killed (16:6) and also because Jesus warns them of times of prosecution and suffering to come (16:2).
Each reference to (and description of) the Holy Spirit in this Scripture contains an element of consolation – not only for the disciples who will be left behind and subjected to persecution and suffering – but for us as well. With the comfort comes the command to testify (15:27); to not go astray (16:1) and to let themselves be guided by the Holy Spirit in truth (16:13).
The description of the work of the Holy Spirit in 16:8-11 (convincing the world of guilt and of righteousness and judgment) has always been vague and unclear to me. Something I read recently, however, puts everything in a new light. Verses 8-11 can be understood in the context of a court hearing. When read in this way, it stands in direct contrast to the hearing that Jesus would shortly be subjected to. Jesus was judged because He supposedly sinned against God. The people (Sanhedrin) who judged Him thought they had the right on their side. However, the Holy Spirit reveals that precisely the opposite happened here: The real sin was their unbelief in Him; the true judgment pronounced by his crucifixion was over the evil one or the “ruler of this world”. Read Colossians 2:15-16 in this light.
The Holy Spirit revealed the true meaning of Jesus’ judgment and execution. And if the disciples were to suffer persecution, the Holy Spirit would give the final testimony over sin, righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit’s enlightenment reaches even further: our thoughts and actions with regard to sin, righteousness and judgment have to take place in truth and according to the righteousness revealed by Jesus. Even today the Holy Spirit is doing this and wants to do it through his church.
Unfortunately many stories (even though there are good stories too) about the AIDS pandemic tell the complete opposite: people are judged without further ado, one-sided notions are spread about sin and those who do so often do it in the name of righteousness. We forget far too easily that one of the most important issues of the AIDS pandemic is the issue of true righteousness.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)