October 27 – John 16:1-15


Passage Intro

For the next four weeks we’ll be looking at sections from Jesus’ last discourse with his disciples just before his betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s helpful to keep that order in mind because everything Jesus says in these chapters has the crucifixion slowly approaching in the background.

Our passage for this week covers the Holy Spirit, and oddly enough, the Bible doesn’t give us a ton of material on this Third Person of the Trinity. As much as he gets mentioned regularly throughout the Old and New Testaments, much of what we learn is through observation as opposed to any sort of formal instruction; while we see what the Spirit does, we hear very little about why and how he does it. In fact, John 14-16 gives us more information about the Spirit than any other passage in the Bible.

This week we’ll be looking at a selection of this material, in which Jesus tells us about his Ascension and plan to send the Spirit. We learn a couple facts about the Spirit, that he convicts us of sin and unrighteousness, that he leads us to truth, that he speaks to us directly from Jesus and the Father, even that he is a he, since the Greek pronouns here are specifically masculine. And each of these facts has a set of conclusions; for instance, if the Spirit is the one who leads us to “all truth,” then we should think through what that means for non-believers. Or another example, knowing that the Spirit convicts of sin is crucial to knowing how to share the gospel with others; we can’t guilt them of sin or logically convince them to repent, only the Spirit can truly convict.

These facets of the Spirit’s nature and role certainly help us understand him, but they also help us know how we’re meant to interact with him. If you want to truly leave behind sin in your life, go to the Spirit so he can instruct you in righteousness. If you want truth, go to the Spirit so he can lead you into it. If you want your close friend to finally follow Jesus, go to the Spirit so he can do a work that you can’t. And if you want to actually hear from God, go to Him by going to the Spirit. These aspects paint a picture of the dependence a Christian is meant to have on the Spirit, and they expose the weaknesses of a life not lived depending on him. Keep yourself from going to the Spirit and of course you’ll struggle with sin you don’t feel conviction over, with hearing from God, even with knowing what’s true. What we all need is less of us and more of Him.

Questions for Discussion

• Can someone read John 16:1-15 for us?

• What stood out to you from this passage?

• What can this tell us about the Spirit?

• What do you think about Jesus saying his going away is “to your advantage”?

• What does this tell us about the way people are meant to depend on the Spirit?

• What does this passage mean for those who don’t have the Spirit?

• How does this passage help you reflect on the way you personally relate to the Spirit?