The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 16:1-11 seems on the surface to jump from one idea to another. But there is a strong unifying factor. Jesus tells his disciples that they should be glad that he is going away. When he goes away, he will send the Holy Spirit. This is the hope his disciples can have in this world.
Jesus has already established that the world will be opposed to the disciples. In this enmity they will even persecute Jesus’ people, removing them from the synagogues. Several times people have asked me why that is a serious penalty. Being removed from the synagogue was an expulsion from worship, from forgiveness, and, finally, from society as a whole. The person who is removed from the synagogue is an outcast from society. He is left with no hope.
The great news is that the Holy Spirit will come. God is busily providing a means of forgiveness, a means of life, a means of fellowship, a family of faith. There is no need to fear in Christ. The Holy Spirit is sent.
In the midst of troubles it is not easy to perceive the presence of the Holy Spirit. The encouragement we can give, however, is that in the Scripture we are reminded of a presence which we are all too ready to forget. Did Jesus promise the Holy Spirit? Yes he did. Does he fail in what he has promised? No, he doesn’t. We can trust that as we look to him we will have all the care and guardianship that we need. Jesus has gone away to send the Holy Spirit.
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