Jesus Builds on His Resurrection Victory
John 16:5–15 (CSB)
5 But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.
Dear fellow redeemed: If you were in the hospital facing the certainty of your death, what kinds of plans would you be making for your activities in the coming months and years? Probably none. If anything, you would be expressing your funeral preferences and telling your family where to find the life insurance and the will.
So what’s with Jesus? He’s on his way to Gethsemane and Calvary and death, but He’s explaining part of His plan for changing the world. That is why this text is an AFTER-Easter text; it means something because Jesus has in fact risen from the dead. Much that Jesus said during His ministry only makes sense in view of the resurrection. What’s more, His teaching makes the connection between the glorious truth of the resurrection, and our daily lives as we live them.
In these words, He tells how he will remove the spiritual blindness from the world and create faith in Him as the risen Savior. He speaks these words of our text to His disciples even before His arrest, so that they will eventually understand that even now, …
JESUS BUILDS ON HIS RESURRECTION VICTORY
- The Holy Spirit Builds through the Word
- The World’s Attitudes are Condemned and Corrected
- The Spirit Gives Truth and Salvation
In writing on this text, Luther commented, “This is a good text, but it takes good students.” This is one of the parts of Scripture that reminds us that God’s word is very deep. It’s not unclear, but it requires that we be careful, and thorough, and willing to do our homework if we are to be benefited by this Word of God.
The first thing that Jesus is telling His Disciples is that His work of redemption is nearing completion, and that since He will soon have redeemed the world, the Holy Spirit will come to build on that, as part of the establishment of a REAL KINGDOM.
Just as the Romans capitalized upon so many battles won to build an empire, so the Holy Spirit capitalizes on the resurrection victory of Christ to build God’s kingdom on earth.
- The Holy Spirit Builds through the Word
Jesus says, 5 But now I am going away to him who sent me.” In retrospect, we can see that He is referring to His ascension and exaltation. No longer would Jesus be reduced to a humble earthly life; soon He would be ruling heaven and earth as the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
It would at first seem to be a tragedy, as He says, 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. As I have said many times, what the disciples saw with their human eyes was not the only thing happening. They saw Jesus capture, arrest, death, and burial, but what was really happening was the redemption of the world and the destruction of death itself.
This is why I say that this text draws the connection between the Easter Victory and you and me today. By working faith in our hearts, the Holy Spirit shows us the victory over sin and death, so that we can truly share in the joy of the resurrection. And his coming ascension was so that instead of teaching those within earshot of His voice, He would teach in every time and every place through the Word of the Spirit, as He tells His disciples, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.
2. The World’s Attitudes are Condemned and Corrected
It is highly unlikely that either you or I can really fathom the importance of those words. Jesus has redeemed the world, and He proceeds to rule it as the one who has taken possession of it.
Let’s make that more personal. Jesus died for you. When you were born, you didn’t know it, much less believe it. But by His word and power He has directed the affairs of the world, he has directed Christian people, so that His saving word and sacrament would come to you, and work faith in your heart.
You and I aren’t Christians just because we were born to Christian parents. We were born to Christian parents, so that we might be brought to faith as Christians.
We aren’t Christians because we happened to live in a predominately Christian country, God has raised up predominately Christian countries so that the inhabitants of the world might be brought to faith as Christians. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus puts it, 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
What do these three statements mean?
First: He will convict the world about sin, because they do not believe in me. In simple words, the Holy Spirit uses God’s law to touch the hearts of unbelievers with terror over their sins. Without repentance and faith in the saving work of Christ, the world is lost and condemned, as Jesus said already: “Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”” (John 8:24, CSB)
Second: He will convict the world 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me. In simple words, this means that through His word, the Holy Spirit will strip away any righteousness by which mankind of itself hopes to gain God’s favor. Only the righteousness which Christ proclaims for us before God’s throne will avail. That is the righteousness to which the Holy Spirit points in His Word, as He did through Peter ““Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”” (Acts 2:36, CSB)
Third: He will convict the world about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. In simple words, this means that as God has rendered judgment upon the Devil already, and certified it by the resurrection of Christ, so He has passed judgment upon all the world that is with the devil and at odds with Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches us that there IS no question of the absolute judgment of God. All who oppose God have already brought judgment upon themselves, and only God’s time of Grace has stayed His hand.
Put another way, the world will know what judgment took place on Calvary – there YOU, sinner, were judged and condemned in the person of Christ. But that judgment will fall on the devil and all who do not believe in Christ.
So in these ways, the world’s unbelief, and false righteousness, and arrogant persistence in the ways of the prince of this world are condemned and corrected. That is part of His plan to rescue you.
3. The Spirit Gives Truth and Salvation
Jesus promised His disciples that they would have access to absolute truth so that they could share this truth with the world. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
It is that absolute truth that I have quoted so many times already this morning. It is the absolute truth that you learn when you study and confess the doctrine of the church. It is the absolute truth that you share with others when you speak the fact that we are all condemned under sin but delivered by the sacrifice of Christ. It is to impart this truth, and to prepare our children to speak it and defend it that we support Christian education, from Sunday school to Christian schools to colleges. It is because they teach this truth that we are so grateful for Christian moms. In this way they give not only physical life but spiritual life.
Because the Holy Spirit reveals the truth, you benefit personally from the saving work of Christ. You are made part of the kingdom of God on earth. We are made part of God’s church, in which there is the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life. What Christ has earned becomes yours, as He says, 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.
While the unbelief of the world damns and destroys, God’s gift of faith to you comforts you with the certainty of deliverance from all the woe of sin.
While the righteousness of the world cannot bring even social order, the righteousness of Christ has brought an end to condemnation for you.
While the world falls under the judgment of God, you stand in the victory of Christ, by faith in Him.
So then, may each of us rejoice in the victory of the resurrection, and cast off the unbelief, false righteousness, and doom of this world. May we hunger and thirst for what the comforter brings – forgiveness, life, and salvation in word and sacrament. And so may Christ’s church, Christ’s kingdom on earth and in heaven, be our safe refuge, and our passage into life.