Jesus says farewell – Part Thirteen (John 16)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

Two weeks ago (in John chapter 14) we encountered the first significant block of teaching Jesus gives on the Holy Spirit – the advocate whom he would send in his place once he had gone. The fact that Jesus described him as “another paraclete” told us that the Spirit’s role would be very similar to that of the first paraclete – Jesus. He would be the presence of Jesus who would be with us (a companion alongside) and in us (an indwelling power), equipping us for the task to which we have been sent.

This week, we arrive at John chapter 16, in which the nature and role of the Spirit is taken up again.

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Catch-up Friday

Use today (and the weekend) to catch up on any readings you’ve missed.

If you’re up-to-date, read the last part of chapter 15 that we won’t have time to cover. What does this text have to say to Western Christians who, in general, aren’t harshly treated for being Jesus’ followers?

John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

Jesus says farewell – Part Twelve (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. This week is all about friendship with Jesus. We’ve seen how friendship with Jesus was friendship of the highest order, in that he was prepared to lay down his life for us, his friends. The response to this act of friendship ought to be loyal obedience, yet this is done not as a “slave” but as an intimate friend who’s been let into the inner circle. Today, we see how friendship with Jesus means that we have a task to do.

Friendship with Jesus means we have a job to do

John 15:16a “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”

In a first-century friendship between unequals, friends were often given tasks to do on behalf of their benefactors; to act as their agents. In Greek thought, friends were referred to as a ‘second self.’ Letters that survive from the period show that it was common for writers to urge that a friend be welcomed and treated ‘as if he were me.’

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Jesus says farewell – Part Eleven (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. This week is all about friendship with Jesus. We’ve seen how friendship with Jesus was friendship of the highest order, in that he was prepared to lay down his life for us, his friends. The response to this act of friendship ought to be loyal obedience. Today, we see how friendship with Jesus involves intimacy. 

Friendship with Jesus involves intimacy

We saw yesterday that a friend of Jesus is obedient. But this doesn’t mean mindlessly obeying orders. There is an intimacy on offer whereby we are let into Jesus ‘inner circle’:

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Jesus says farewell – Part Ten (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. This week is all about friendship with Jesus. Yesterday, we saw how friendship with Jesus was friendship of the highest order, in that he was prepared to lay down his life for us, his friends. Today, we look at the obligations of those who are Jesus’ friends. 

A friend of Jesus is obedient

Our friendship started with Jesus’ laying down his life for us. It was his initiative; verse 16 says that he chose us to be his friends. Now we are in his debt. We owe him a debt we can’t repay, and so we become his grateful, loyal ‘friends’. And that friendship – like all friendships – has some obligations:

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Jesus says farewell – Part Nine (John 15)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Having spoken of himself as God’s authorised agent (14:1-14) and introduced the Holy Spirit who would continue his role (14:15-26), Jesus now talks about what it means to be his “friend” – which is our focus this week. 

 

Friends with Jesus

We were made for friendship. God obviously thought it was a good idea, telling us back in Genesis ‘it is not good for the man to be alone.’ As we’ll see later, those in ancient societies spent much time writing about friendship in lofty terms: the Greek philosopher Aristotle described friendship as ‘a single soul dwelling in two bodies… Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.’ Two thousand years later, ‘mateship’ is still central not just to our identity as Australians, but, more fundamentally, to our identity as humans.

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Jesus says farewell – Part Eight (John 14:25-26)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. The Spirit will be like Jesus – another advocate/counsellor who is God’s presence, with us and in us. But what’s the point of this presence? We now look at one of the most important functions of the Spirit: helping us to remember and put into practice Jesus’ teaching. 

John 14:25-26 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The Holy Spirit will teach us ‘all things’. Don Carson points out that this can’t mean all things without exception:

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Jesus says farewell – Part Seven (John 14:23-24)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. The Spirit will be like Jesus – another advocate/counsellor who is God’s presence, alongside us and fighting for us. What’s more, the Spirit dwells in us…

The Spirit is the means by which God is present with us and in us

John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

This is a crucial part of the whole storyline of the Bible. Let me give you a quick overview: It starts off in the garden of Eden where humanity lived in the presence of God. Sin came, and as a result Adam and Eeve were cast out of the garden. God no longer could live with the people he had created. Throughout the OT we see God graciously dwelling among his people, in a special tent and then in his temple. But there was still a barrier – a curtain that separated the people from God’s presence in the Holy of Holies.

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Jesus says farewell – Part Six (John 14:16-22)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Yesterday, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. But who is the Holy Spirit, and what is his role?

Back when my eldest was in Kindergarten, I came home one day to be told by my wife that he had been the “star of the day” at school. (Apparently everyone got a turn at being the “star of the day” at some point. I guess it was to prepare them for life in the real world, where everyone at some stage has their turn at being a reality TV contestant.) So I went in to see him, and started off by saying “I hear you were star of the day.”

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