Going and Coming

Jesus' rebuked their sorrowing, and pointed them to His Spirit.

The Gospel of John: John 16.1-5

Read and meditate on John 16.5-7.
Jesus was going, but the Spirit was coming. And having the Spirit is definitely to our advantage.

                 5“Now the time has come, and I
must go away to Him Who sent Me here.
Yet none of you inquires concerning where
I go. 6But since I’ve said these things to you,
your hearts are filled with sorrow. 7It is true,
that it is better that I go away.
The Helper will not come here if I stay,
but if I go, then I will send Him to
you.”

- John 16.5-7

Reflect
1.  Jesus chided His disciples in verse 5 for not being curious about where He was going. Rather than seek a fuller understanding, they simply became discouraged, and were sorrowing. How do you understand this rebuke? What was the Lord trying to get His disciples to see or do? Complete this prayer: I know, Lord, that I can sometimes become discouraged by circumstances, when I what I should do is…

2.  Jesus indicates that, had they asked, they might not have fallen into sorrowing. Are we sometimes like that? We come upon some situation that we don’t understand, or don’t find agreeable, and, rather than seek the Lord in prayer and His Word, we get upset. Does this happen to you? Explain. What would Jesus have us do instead? Thank You, Lord, that we can pray about everything, and that Your Word is living and powerful and sufficient. The next time I begin to get discouraged…

3.  Jesus’ going away meant that the Spirit would be coming to them. Review John 14.16, 17, 26, and 15.26, 27. How might remembering this have kept the disciples from sorrowing? It’s not wrong to sorrow, especially when a dear friend is departing; but all sorrow on the part of believers should be kept in a larger context and tempered by the promises of God. How would you try to comfort a fellow believer who was sorrowing the loss of a loved one? You’re always pointing me forward, Jesus, and upward, too, so that…

4.  What “advantage” did Jesus’ going away hold for the disciples? Why was this more advantageous to them than having Jesus stick around? Help me to realize more of the power of Your Spirit at work within me, Lord, to…

5.  Jesus promised to send the Spirit for a specific work. How would you feel about the Spirit if He refused to do the work Jesus sent Him to do? Meditate on John 20.21. To whom does this apply? How? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you wrote for questions 1-4.

Summary
“Great is the tyranny of despondency. We need great courage in order to stand strong against it and, after gathering from it what is useful, to let go of what is superfluous. And so, it has a purpose at times. When we ourselves or others sin, that is a good time to grieve. But when we fall into human difficulties, then despondency is useless. And now when it has overthrown the disciples, who were not yet perfect, see how Christ raises them again by his rebuke. They who before this had asked him ten thousand questions …—these men, I say, now hearing, ‘they will put you out of the synagogues’ and ‘will hate you’ and ‘whoever kills you will think that he does God’s service’—were so cast down as to be struck dumb, so that they say nothing to him. And so he reproaches them and says, “’hese things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go to him that sent me, and none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.’ Immoderate sorrow is a horrible thing, dreadful and even deadly, as Paul said, ‘Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up by too much sorrow.’” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)

The promises of God’s Word, and the presence of His Spirit, can give us faith, hope, peace, and joy in the face of every trial or uncertainty. How can we keep this in mind, so that we make good use of it at all times?

Closing Prayer
Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.

Psalm 36.5-10

Psalm 36.5-9 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Your lovingkindness, Lord, is great, it reaches heav’n above;
Your faithfulness mounts to the skies, and keeps us in Your love.
Your righteousness like mountains high and judgment like the deep
Preserve Your creatures one and all and in Your mercy keep.

How precious is Your love, O Lord; we shelter in Your wings.
We drink refreshment to the full from Your abundant springs.
You give us freely of Your grace, we drink it with delight;
Life’s fountain is with You, O Lord, in Your light we see light.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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