Have you ever been looking for answers but didn’t get the results you were looking for because you were asking the wrong questions? That happens all the time to me when I am looking for answers on Google. It gives me answers to questions I ask, but if I don’t ask the right question I don’t get the right answers.
In John 16 Jesus tells the disciples exactly that when he says,”None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.” In essence he tells them that in their grief over the prospect of being separated from Jesus they are asking, “What will happen to us, how will we survive” when they should be focused on where he is going.
It is reasonable that they might ask those kinds of questions because Jesus has told them what will be happening to them in the near future. He tells them they will be rejected by the Jewish religious community and worse, “anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God”. In relation to that last part think about the actions of Saul before Damascus.
Despite all that, Jesus says that where he is going, and the fact that he is going far outweighs all of the problems the disciples will face. But where is he going? Jesus is speaking, I think, both of his impeding crucifixion and his ultimate return to the Father, but he is not speaking openly to his disciples. He says,”In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’’, perhaps speaking both of the crucifixion/resurrection events and the ascension/second coming events.
But he says that by his going and through the Advocate to come the world will be proved wrong about three things: sin, righteousness and judgment. The world does not believe it sins and so they do not believe they have a need for Christ. They don’t believe they have a need for righteousness because they have not come face to face with a holy and wholly righteous God. And they don’t understand the judgment to come even though, through Jesus’ actions, the prince of the world is now condemned.
While they will see Jesus’ crucifixion, I think he is also telling them they will not really understand what has happened until later when the Holy Spirit comes and explains things to them. This spirit of truth will tell them things it receives from Christ and will Glorify Christ.
1) Are we asking the right questions, or are we so focused on the immediate, so lost in our own crises that we can’t see where God might be moving?
2) Are we listening the the Advocate and what he tells us or are we listening to the world? Which has Jesus said has the good information?
3) How does listening to the Advocate work? How does he communicate?
4) How can we be sure it’s the Advocate and not our own desires we are rationalizing?