Tuesday of week 6 of Easter – Gospel


Commentary on John 16:5-11

The disciples are sad because Jesus is going to leave them. He now reassures them that, contrary to what they must be thinking at this moment, it is better for him to go. If Jesus does not go away, then the Spirit, the Paraclete, will not come.

As long as Jesus is with his disciples in his present form, he is actually very limited in his presence. It is fine as long as they are all together but what would happen if they were to be scattered in various places to do his work? And what of the many more disciples in distant places who would never have an opportunity to be in direct contact with Jesus?

It is through the Spirit of Jesus, the risen and ascended Jesus, that he can continue to be with his people at all times and in any place on earth. Yes, it is better that Jesus should go and come back through the Spirit.

And the Spirit “will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, about who was in the right, and about judgment”. That is, the Spirit will reveal the wrongness of the world, that world of the purely secular, in not putting its trust in the Way of Jesus.

The world’s sin is primarily one of unbelief, an unreadiness to open its mind to the vision of life that Jesus gives. The Spirit will clearly show the rightness of Jesus in his claims to come from God and to being the Word of God to the world. The Spirit will reveal the meaning of Christ’s death as the condemnation of all that is evil in the world, above all in its denial of love as the centre of living.

The New American Bible expresses it thus:

These verses illustrate the forensic character of the Paraclete’s role: in the forum of the disciples’ conscience he prosecutes the world. He leads believers to see (a) that the basic sin was and is refusal to believe in Jesus; (b) that, although Jesus was found guilty and apparently died in disgrace, in reality righteousness has triumphed, for Jesus has returned to his Father; (c) finally, that it is “the ruler of this world”, Satan, who has been condemned through Jesus’ death.

On which side am I? On that of the Spirit or that of the world?

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