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COLUMN: You will receive the Holy Spirit

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By Steve Gettinger | Pastor of Risen Lord Lutheran Church

Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 16:12-22 says:
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

In the gospel reading from John Chapter 16, Jesus is with his disciples in the upper room having his last supper with them. It was the last evening Jesus would spend with them before his crucifixion. He would be dead in less than 24 hours. Jesus was explaining what was about to happen to him, but the disciples did not seem to understand his explanation.
Jesus began to talk to the disciples about the Holy Spirit. He told them that after his death and resurrection the Holy Spirit would come to them and that it would guide them into all the truth. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would remember their experiences with Jesus and they would proclaim the wonders of salvation to the world.
This is very important because we would not have the New Testament if the Holy Spirit had not come and helped the disciples. The Holy Spirit aided the disciples with a sharp and accurate memory regarding all that Jesus said and did so that they could write it down for the world to read.
Jesus then continued to describe the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work. Jesus said, “… for the [Spirit of Truth] will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (verses 13 and 14). With these words, Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would not tell them anything new. Instead, the Spirit would clarify and sharpen the things that Jesus already said to them.
These words about the Holy Spirit are important for us today. These words tell us how we can discern the true preachers from false preachers. True preachers preach from the Bible, God’s word. They do not add to or take away from the Bible. They do not mix man’s ideas and philosophies with the word of God.
Now let us turn our attention to something else Jesus said to his disciples that night. Jesus said, “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.”
In a little while, Judas would betray Jesus into the hands of the enemy. The enemy would mock, torture and crucify him. After he died, his friends would lay him in a tomb. He left their sight. They saw him no longer. With this suffering and death, Jesus earned salvation for all people. Jesus said, “… and again a little while, and you will see me.”
Jesus did not remain in the tomb. He rose from the dead and he lives forever more. The disciples saw him again. The disciples were eyewitnesses that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Jesus promised “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (verse 22).
There are times that each of us can feel alone and isolated in this world that we live in. I want to assure you today, that if you have faith and trust in Jesus and His promises you can be sure that he knows you by name and that you are one of his precious children.
Jesus told us that we would have times of sorrow on this earth (verse 20).
He is with us in our sorrows:
-Where there is the sorrow of guilt, he teaches us the joy of forgiveness.
-Where there is the sorrow of doubt or worry, he strengthens our faith by his word and teaches us the joy of trusting in him.
-Where there is the sorrow of grief, he reminds us that he has conquered death and he points us to the joy of heaven that is ours in him.
We may have times of sorrow, but they will not last forever.
One day we will all be free from sorrow and grief.
One day we will be reunited with those who died in the faith.
One day Jesus will return and we will see him in all of his glory.
Amen.