Lectionary Reflection: John 15:26-16:15 What God Approves

I.          Testify

This is what we are supposed to do: testify for Jesus, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  It is incumbent upon us all to testify for Jesus.  Okay, we haven’t been with him from the beginning, but we have the same Spirit, the same Counselor to tell us all about Jesus and make his Word (about Jesus) come alive.  (In fact, a friend of mine says the Holy Spirit is the biggest fundamentalist-fanatic ever.  All he ever talks about is Jesus).  So we, also need to testify on Jesus’ behalf.  We are his Witnesses and I am not just saying that to plug my book because Witness hasn’t been published yet.  Testify.  We are his witnesses.  There are no others.  Think about it.

II.        Thrown out (despised) even killed as if God would approve… Can we say 9-11? 

Radical Islam (can I still say that?) can kill innocent men, women and children and believe they are doing so for God.  But wait.  I think we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg.  There is no telling what the next few years or couple of decades might bring.  This I know: that the world (generally) has moved and is moving further and further away from God.  Consider the blues song (which I also haven’t published yet):

            You take some hostages and hide them in a hall

            You frighten all the innocents and back them to the wall.

            The pain and suffering you say is justified

            But God who hears the children’s tears will not be satisfied.

(Refrain)

            I’ve got the terrorist blues – ‘cause they don’t know what love is.

            So tell me, have you heard the news – that they don’t know what love is

                        They don’t know.

III.       Told in advance, but not told at first because:  THEY HAVE TO KILL JESUS FIRST…

This is priceless.  Jesus tells them (us) in advance what will happen (be prepared) – what we can look forward to:  being thrown out (despised) killed as if God approves.  But he did not tell the disciples at first.  Why?  Because this would only begin AFTER Jesus himself died, was raised, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit for the disciples (us) to testify.  They crucified the message.  Why should we be surprised they also want to shoot the messengers?  See what we have to look forward to?  Can you imagine prison time for declaring the gospel in public?  No, wait.  That has already happened in several places in the US recently.  How about this:  Will there come a time when encouraging people to return this nation to its Christian roots will be called “un-American” and possibly even treasonable?

Nevertheless, testify.  We are his witnesses.  There are no others.  Think about it.

IV.       It is good that Jesus ascended to send the Holy Spirit to us

To convict the guilty world of:

1.         Sin  because people do not believe.  

Simple:  Don’t believe in Jesus and you remain in your sins.  There is no “Their religion is good enough for them” syncretism here.  No.  Apart from Jesus people are without hope.

2.         Righteousness because he ascended  so people cannot see ie: you & me who believe.

It is for us who believe without seeing, like Abraham, where God counts our belief as righteousness to be saved from our sins…

You see?  Here God makes the distinction and divides the world into two parts.  That division is NOT based on race, color, gender, national origin, or anything else we have to write laws against.  It is simple indeed.  There are those who know Jesus and those who need to know Jesus.  No other kind of discrimination matters.

Meanwhile, there is a whole world of people out there who need to hear our testimony about Jesus.  Don’t you think?  Or should we keep silent and let them be condemned?

3.         Judgment because the devil stands condemned already.  The question is who will go with him?  Perhaps those to whom we do not testify?

At the last, this is Jesus’ way of saying it is (will be) all good in the end.  The hard part has already been taken care of.  Jesus himself is coming to bring it all to a close.  Even now, Lord, come.  Meanwhile, as Paul said:  “I consider the present sufferings…”  Well, you can look it up for yourself.  The Holy Spirit will help you.

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