John: Swinging

John 15:18–16:15

I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.

This is the longest continuous speech of Jesus’, longer even than the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5–7. Remember, this talk goes all the way back to chapter 13, and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples on the night of Passover. We’re still in the midst of that scene.

And now perhaps he hints that the Christian life, life in the Jesus pattern, may not always be very easy.

Curious if Jesus has in mind the violence he’ll suffer within the next 12 hours.

When he walked the earth, he encountered antagonists. He provoked darkness, and the darkness fought back. Now, he suggests that his followers shouldn’t be surprised to encounter the same.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the thought of the world hating me. In fact, I probably spend a lot of time and attention and getting the world to like me. But Jesus seems to suggest that association with him is to provoke the same darkness.

Falling away is a very real possibility. So Jesus gives this pep talk so we don’t get surprised, so we keep swinging at the darkness.

It is to your advantage that I go away, for if  do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.

This is one of the best places to look in the Bible for what the character of the Holy Spirit is like.

Sometimes I wish that Jesus was right here. For real. In the flesh. Seems like it would make everything so much easier, right? It’s really easy to wish to be one of the disciples. To have been there and seen it all, live and in person.

But Jesus seems to be saying just the opposite is true: It’s sweeter to have the Holy Spirit than his physical presence with us.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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