Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. When we are involved in an argument with someone, truth may come out that brings pain and regret. Facing the reality of our sins is always hard. When Nathan confronted David about his sin of adultery, the great king had to reconcile his actions with his faith. Being told that he was breaking God’s law was something he couldn’t handle. We can’t handle it either when we are confronted with ugly truths about our behaviors and actions.
In our passage from John today, Jesus tells his disciples that they will not be able to handle the things he has to say as he is preparing to leave this world. He has been speaking about sin, righteousness, and judgment:
John 16 (Common English Bible)
“I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go away to the one who sent me. None of you ask me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have said these things to you, you are filled with sorrow. 7 I assure you that it is better for you that I go away. If I don’t go away, the Companion won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
8 When he comes, he will show the world it was wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. 9 He will show the world it was wrong about sin because they don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world it was wrong about righteousness because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will show the world it was wrong about judgment because this world’s ruler stands condemned.
That was a lot to take in. Jesus says that the world has been wrong about sin and righteousness, perhaps referring to the old way of living under the minutiae of the 613 man-made laws that supplanted the Ten Commandments. Remember that Jesus himself has clarified things according to a new way: we are to love God and love one another with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The world has been wrong about him because they don’t believe in him. But judgment is coming, and the world’s ruler stands condemned. They just can’t handle this truth.
12 “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now.
In a final act of mercy, Jesus promises to send the Spirit of Truth to continue to teach and guide them in this new way. This will enable them to handle the truths to come.
13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own, but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That’s why I said that the Spirit takes what is mine and will proclaim it to you.
All of the promises of God are still available. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost will be the deliverer.
Today as you meditate on this text, ask the Spirit of the living God to fall afresh on your heart. And ask him to reveal his truths to you and through you.