S (Scripture): John 16:5 (Jesus speaks) But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking me, ‘Where are you going?’ 16:6 Instead your hearts are filled with sadness because I have said these things to you. 16:7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.
O (Observation): Jesus has told the disciples that he will be persecuted. This dismal-looking future has them wrapped up in the emotions of sadness and despair. They can’t get past the difficult parts, knowing that Jesus will be gone. In fact, they are so caught up in their sadness that they don’t think to ask where Jesus is headed.
Jesus is covering some new territory here. “Once you’re dead, you’re dead!”, they thought. But Jesus has an ace up his sleeve: The Advocate! Call it the Advocate, Counselor, Healer, Holy Spirit, this Advocate is coming to accompany Jesus’ disciples, once Jesus is dead and resurrected.
The odd thing is that this Advocate can only be released upon Jesus’ death and resurrection.
A (Application): When I began my first call as a pastor, I felt that much of the weight of the “success” of the congregation was on my shoulders. Quite often, I forgot to look around and see who was willing to respond to Jesus’ call to discipleship. I was following the Jesus who had been crucified but not yet resurrected – the Jesus who did NOT send the Spirit.
But as our God of grace is want to do, God revealed to me glimpses of the kingdom anyway. God reminded me that this is not about me, but about what God is already doing in the world.
Even today, as our congregation struggles with “next steps” in the life of our communal faith, we must ask: “Lord, where are you going?” And when the Lord responds that the Spirit is with us, we have to be bold enough to grab onto the Spirit’s inspiration and guidance, and follow The Lord. We will have to be bold and believe that the Spirit – God’s will revealed – will be the one to guide us.
What is the Lord calling you into these days? Are you afraid? Are you bold and daring and following through?
May you know the Spirit’s presence and guidance this day and always.
P (Prayer): Lord, let us be bold enough to step forward with your vision for our congregation. Help us to see that your hand will guide us…and that when we falter, you will direct us back onto the path. Amen.