This time of year a hint of sadness underlies summer fun for some of us. We parents of college students know now that we are counting down the days to when, when we wake up in the morning, our loved one will be many miles away instead of down stairs in their bedroom. In John 16 Jesus speaks to His disciples. He has told them that He is going away and they are getting more and more sad, “filled with grief” at the prospect that Jesus will be taken from them in His death and resurrection. Jesus comforts them by saying, I realize that you are sad, but truly, it is for your good that I am going away, for only if I go can the Holy Spirit come to you.
Jesus explains the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convict the world, that is, show the world its need for a Savior. I have a lot more to say to you, Jesus told the disciples, but you can’t bear to hear it all now. But, Jesus told them, when the Holy Spirit comes, He will guide you and help you understand my words and my will.
So, in today’s passage, the Holy Spirit comes. He doesn’t come to just the 12. He comes in dramatic fashion (tongues of fire) to believers from many countries and languages. Like Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit doesn’t draw attention to Himself but at Pentecost, believers who received the Holy Spirit told of God’s mighty works. (v. 11). One of the first miracles of Pentecost was unity; many different peoples brought together by the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus promised, today we can listen to the Holy Spirit. We can ask Him to guide us in God’s will, to comfort, to help us understand.
The work of the Holy Spirit is a vast concept to try to understand. I am awed when I read Jesus’ assurances in John 16; He is so sure about the work of the Holy Spirit that He knows that going away for a little time is God’s best plan. Thank God for the Holy Spirit.