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John 15:26-16:15

Lesson Focus

We receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit so that we might proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. 


Lesson Outcomes

Through this lesson, students should:


  1. Grasp the significance of the Holy Spirit's role in empowering believers to testify about Jesus Christ and his work.

  2. Recognize that the core issue of sin is rejecting the way of Jesus Christ, and understand the Spirit's role in convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.

  3. Appreciate the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit in navigating life's complexities and discerning God's will, leading to a deeper commitment to living and proclaiming the truth about Jesus.


Catching up on the Story

Today is Pentecost Sunday.  It’s the Sunday we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the “third person” of the Trinity.  We have the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit isn’t anything new in the life of our faith.  Rather, in Old Testament times, the Spirit would be given to certain individuals for certain times so that they could accomplish God’s will. 


Since the original day of Pentecost, God’s Holy Spirit has been given to every believer in all places so that we might be enabled to live Christ-like lives here and now. Just by way of reminder of where we’ve been so far, we began this year in Advent, waiting expectantly for the coming of God in the person of Jesus Christ. On Christmas, we celebrated the beginning of God’s kingdom in the birth of Jesus. 


Our focus shifted slightly during Lent as we began preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus’s death and ultimate resurrection.


On Good Friday, we gathered together to celebrate Jesus’ death, but we did not mourn for long, as we gathered back on Easter Sunday morning to celebrate his resurrection. Of course, Jesus doesn’t immediately ascend to be with the Father after his resurrection.  The book of Acts tells us he was around for 40 days after his resurrection before his Ascension.  But before his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the giving of the Holy Spirit. And we have the story of that day in the Book of Acts.  This year, we aren’t going to look at that story from Acts in depth.  Rather, we will examine what Jesus tells his disciples about the Holy Spirit from John’s Gospel. 


Our passage in John starts before the crucifixion.  It’s Jesus’ last week before his death, and in this section of John, we are treated to Jesus’ farewell sermon.  Jesus is wrapping up his earthly ministry with a whole lot of things the disciples need to know, like how much the world, and even some religious folks, will hate them and persecute them and how he must go away.  But he assures them that they will not be left alone. 


The Paraclete

John ends chapter 15 by speaking about the “advocate” who comes from the Father. Now, John uses the term “advocate,” which is how the NRSV translates the Greek word “paraclete.”  Paraclete is a rather tough word to translate. It literally means “to call alongside.” For John, the Paraclete is the Holy Spirit, the one who comes from the Father.


So we have Jesus, right before his death, telling his disciples that he’s leaving them and that God’s spirit will come to them soon.  Unlike the other gospels, John gives us the best picture of what the Spirit will do.


First, the Spirit will testify on Jesus’ behalf. He will also help the disciples testify on Jesus’ behalf. Until the day of Pentecost, the disciples could not have accomplished what they did without the power of the Spirit.


At this point, Jesus tries to reassure his followers that it’s good for him to go away.  Jesus says that it’s to his followers’ advantage that he goes awa