Today’s reading is a continuation of the conversation from yesterday. Jesus continues to talk with his disciples about the events that are coming. For the most part, they still don’t understand, but he knows that they will. I suspect, that most of them will remember this conversation very clearly after the resurrection and even after the ascension, but for now, they are kind of confused.
Don’t we sometimes feel exactly the same way? We pray and try to walk closely with Jesus, but we just don’t understand why the circumstances play out like they do. But, often, when we are further down the road and time has passed, we at last “get it.” I’ll bet these guys felt the same way as we do.
Jesus begins by saying hard times are coming. His followers will be cast out of the synagogue and people will try to kill them. But here’s the ugly truth; they believe they are doing the work of God. We all know how misguided religious zealots can be when they truly believe they are acting in the name of God. Jesus says they do these things because they don’t know the Father or him.
He just wants to give them a warning. He wants them to be prepared. Then he talks to them again about the Holy Spirit, the Counselor. Jesus says he must leave so that the Holy Spirit can come. The Holy Spirit has the power to convict the world of its guilt. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and will guide them into all truth. The Spirit will also tell them of things to come, (the future).
Jesus mentions Satan again as the prince of this world and he says he already stands condemned. I think it’s worth mentioning that Jesus is very clear about who is controlling the world we live in. He says Satan has been condemned, but it would be very wise for us to remember that he is here now like he was then, stirring up as much trouble and creating as much chaos as possible.
After Jesus says the disciples won’t see him for a little while and then will see him again, they are confused and ask each other what he’s talking about. Here again, how often do we have deep concerns and troubles and go to each other to discuss them instead of to Jesus? He was right there with them. Jesus knows they are troubled and attempts to explain.
He explains that his leaving (the cross) will be like childbirth. There will be pain and anguish, but the grief will turn to joy, and no one can take that joy away. I wonder if the disciples remembered these words on Black Friday. On our side of Easter, they seem to me to be the perfect explanation, but we know the entire story. They didn’t have that luxury.
Jesus tells them that after he goes, the disciples can pray to God in Jesus’ name and their prayers will be answered. Their joy will be complete. He tells them that a time is coming when they will be scattered and they will leave him alone. He reminds them that he is never alone because God is with him.
He knows their faith will fail, but he knows God loves them and will forgive them. He also knows God does fabulous work through our failures. He once again tells them he wants them to know all of these things so that they will have peace.
Jesus has been talking about his death and is once again concerned about his disciples’ joy and peace. How can we not worship this man? He ends with, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What do you think about today’s reading? I’d love to hear from you.
Have an awesome day!