- Chad Werkhoven
John 16:1-15 - The Silent Speaker
The Holy Spirit may seem mysterious, but He has lots to say to you if you know where to look.
Read / Listen
Read John 16:1-15
All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 53
Q. What do you believe
concerning “the Holy Spirit”?
A. First, he, as well as
the Father and the Son,
is eternal God.
Second, he has been given
to me personally,
so that, by true faith,
he makes me share
and all his blessings,
and remains with me forever.
John 16 comes in the middle of one of the most intense conversations in history, as Jesus spoke to His frightened disciples hours before He'd be led off to crucifixion. These chapters in John's gospel form the basis for much of our theology and understanding of God's Tri-une (three / one) nature. This isn't just dry, irrelevant theological fluff that was optional for His followers to know. Jesus explained exactly why He spoke of these things as the disciples intently listened to each word He said. They (we) needed to hear and know this theology so that they would not fall away.
Though the disciples couldn't understand it at the time, Jesus' departure was for their good, since the Advocate-Comforter-Helper (the Greek word is Paraklētos which literally means to call out from alongside) would come in Jesus' place (v7). Jesus here introduces the disciples to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus doesn't speak of the Spirit as simply being another version of Himself. This is an ancient error that many have fallen into, that the God of the Old Testament morphed into Jesus, who later turned into the Holy Spirit. Although it's in this chapter late in Jesus' earthly life that we're formally introduced to the Spirit, He's been present from the very beginning. He hovered over the waters as God spoke the world into existence, He's quite active in the Old Testament, and He had made a physical appearance in the form of a dove descending upon Jesus as He was baptized.
But even though the Spirit is clearly a unique individual person, He's also an inseparable part of the three-in-one God. Jesus speaks of that difficult to comprehend relationship, saying that all that belongs to the Father is His, and all that the Spirit makes known has been received from Him
Some have been critical of the Heidelberg Catechism in that it only has one relatively short Q/A regarding the Holy Spirit. On one hand that's true, but on the other, it will take us this entire week to chew on this answer, and even that won't be enough time to fully digest all that it communicates.
The Holy Spirit has often been referred to as the 'shy' member of the Trinity, because His entire purpose is magnifying the glory of the Father and the Son and not in focusing attention on Himself. That may seem to be the case, but this isn't necessarily an accurate description.
Certainly the Bible doesn't tell us as much about the Spirit as what it does about the Father and the Son, but remember that every word you read in the Bible was breathed out by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), which guides you into the truth. As we look at the sheer volume of information that the Spirit has spoken, we see that the Spirit isn't shy at all!
This is tricky stuff that transcends logic: that God is both three and one. But the best way to experience the peace of God that is your only comfort in life and in death is to listen to the very expressive member of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for speaking to you through the words breathed out by the Holy Spirit and pray for a growing desire to listen to Him more and more.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 28