15 June 2017

John 16:12-15

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not spek on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (v. 13)

Psalm: Psalm 93


We are deep within that famous conversation on the night of Maundy Thursday (John 13-17). Five chapters was a lot for the disciples to take in on that confusing night! I suspect that Jesus may have been able to remind them of his words in the six weeks after his resurrection, before he ascended into heaven, when there was more time to prepare them for what was to come. This short passage would seem especially relevant then: waiting for the Spirit of Truth (aka the Advocate, the Holy Spirit). That Spirit was given to them gently on Easter Day (John 20:22-23) and powerfully at Pentecost (Acts 2).

Jesus speaks here of the Holy Spirit as truly 'a person', not simply 'his own spirit'. Although the two are certainly intimately related in Christian understanding, the Holy Spirit here is a guide, and one who will speak the thoughts and words of God to the disciples. Once again, we can only listen in awe, as Jesus puts into words this mysterious relationship of Father, Son and Spirit. Once again, we are invited to be part of it. The Christian life is incomplete (and the Church would not have got very far) without this constant giving and sharing, this speaking and listening, this guiding and declaring, that is part of the relationship of the Trinity into which we enter.

To Ponder

  • In the life of your church, how much time do we spend waiting on the Holy Spirit before you act? Or are you so busy that there is little time for that?
  • In our personal lives, do you ever want to ask God what the future holds? How can faith in eternal and loving God who gives us the Spirit help when it comes to trusting without seeing?
  • How would you respond if you were involved in this intimate conversation with Jesus?

Bible notes author

The Revd Andrew Murphy

Andrew Murphy is married to Emily and they have two children, Phoebe (aged 4) and Benjamin (aged 18 months). Andy is the superintendent minister of the Market Harborough Circuit (a small circuit in the south of Leicestershire, and over the border into Northants). Previously, Andy’s ministry was based in Barwell in the Hinckley Circuit for eight years. And before that, he trained at the Wesley Study Centre in Durham, close to his home-town of Consett. Andy has a passion to help God’s people grow in faith, and occasionally writes hymns, sketches and songs. Spare time includes trips to play parks, watching Disney films or Postman Pat, reading Mr Men books, visiting Middle Earth, and reminiscing over the good old days of supporting Newcastle United. In the picture, Andy is the one in blue (and the snowman’s name is Olaf)!