22 May 2016

John 16:12-15

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (v. 13)

Psalm: Psalm 8


Today is Trinity Sunday and our passage speaks of the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This passage is part of Jesus' farewell words and prayers to his disciples. He warns them of his imminent departure and promises them the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus does not burden his disciples with a lot of information or a rule book - rather he promises them that the Spirit will lead them into truth. The Spirit will speak what it will hear and announce to the disciples what is to come. This can so easily sound like a 'carte blanche' for future disciples to claim almost anything as being warranted by the Spirit and verse 13, taken in isolation, may seem to invite such deviance. However, if we look at the whole passage we see interdependence between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John sees both Jesus and the Spirit as envoys, sent by the Father. John's Gospel envisages a 'trinity of consistency'.

One of the tasks for disciples down the ages is to engage and help others to engage in discerning the truth, discerning the voice of the Spirit amid the competing claims within the Church and the wider community.

To Ponder

  • Are you ready to recognise that the full truth about Jesus and about God's will for the world still lies before us? How might this change your way of interacting with Christians of other traditions, or indeed, people of other faiths?
  • In our own situation how might you act to open up conversations between people of different traditions for mutual enlightenment?
  • These days many people are of the opinion that there is your truth and my truth - equally valid. How do you react to this in the light of what this passage says about "all the truth'?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Methodist minister at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London. Prior to being appointed to serve there she worked in the Connexional Team from 1996-2002 as the secretary for international affairs.