Saturday 6 April 2019
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Yesterday we saw that Jesus has warned his disciples that they would be persecuted. It is in this context that Jesus now reminds the disciples that they will not be on their own. He will send the Holy Spirit from God to them.
Testifying is what witnesses do. Good witnesses tell the truth about what they have seen or heard. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He always tells the truth about Jesus. In the previous chapter Jesus has told his disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things and will remind them of everything he has said to them (John 14:26). In the next chapter Jesus goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will lead the disciples into all the truth (John 16:13).
Now Jesus says to his disciples that they also have a responsibility to testify. Yes, they have the Holy Spirit to help them and give them boldness, but they still have the job of opening their mouths and talking about what they have seen and heard. This includes the teachings of Jesus, the miracles he performed, his death and his resurrection. The disciples haven’t fully grasped yet that Jesus is about to die and after he does die they are not expecting the resurrection. Jesus, of course, is several steps ahead of them.
The book of Acts tells the story about how the disciples obey Jesus by testifying about him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter is fisherman without a formal religious education, but on the day of Pentecost he is filled with the Holy Spirit and preaches boldly to about three thousand people.
What about us? The Holy Spirit has been given to us to make us bold as we tell people about what Jesus has done. Do we sometimes try to persuade people to believe in Jesus without the help of the Holy Spirit? This is unlikely to bear much fruit.
Or if we have been filled with the Holy Spirit, do we sometimes shrink back from talking about Jesus because we are afraid of the negative reaction we may get? Jesus tells us to expect persecution, but also to expect that some people will believe (John 15:20).
Let’s be encouraged today: we have the Holy Spirit to make us bold witnesses.
Thomas Halley, Sawyers Church Leadership Team