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John 14-16

At the 'Last Supper', Jesus taught His disciples about the Holy Spirit and gave him a special title: 'parakletos'. This word is very difficult to translate into English. Its technical meaning is 'advocate: someone who speaks up on behalf of a friend in an ancient law court'. But it can also mean 'supporter', 'comforter', 'teacher', 'counsellor', 'helper' and 'guide'.

  • In your life, who has been a parakletos to you: an advocate, supporter, comforter, teacher, counsellor, helper or guide. Share a few stories about these special people in your life.

Read John 14:15-27

  • What are the links between 'love' and 'obedience' in this passage? What do you feel about this aspect of Jesus' teaching? [1]

    • What role does the Holy Spirit play in this?

  • How does the presence of the Holy Spirit give us peace and help us not to be troubled or afraid?

    • Is this something you have ever experienced for yourself?

Further on in the same conversation, Jesus circles back to the topic of the Holy Spirit.

Read John 16:5-15

  • Do you think it is really 'better' to have the Holy Spirit than the physical presence of Jesus? Why/why not?

  • Across both these passages, Jesus keeps calling the Holy Spirit 'The Spirit of Truth'. What do you think Jesus means by this title? (look closely at verses 8-11 to help answer this)

    • Practically speaking, what does the Spirit do to make God's Truth known to us?

Read Psalm 139:1-18

Spend some time reading and meditating on the words of this Psalm.

If you would like to structure this time, you could use the outline below, based on the ancient 'Lectio Divina' method. It should take around 20 minutes. You might like to put on some very quiet instrumental music in the background, and to read each of these instructions at the appropriate moment as you go along. I have included suggested timings as a guide.

  1. Be still: Pray that God would speak to you through his word, and focus on being still and present in this moment. (~2 minute)

  2. Read: Read the passage very slowly, allowing yourself to really take in what it is saying. Read and re-read as many times as you need - there is no hurry. (~5 mins)

  3. Meditate: Select a line or a couple of lines that stand out to you. See if you can memorise it, turning it over and over in your mind; you could write it out by hand, or whisper it aloud to yourself. Allow it to interact with your thoughts, memories and feelings. As you reflect on it, allow it to bring thoughts and feelings and questions to your mind. (~5 mins)

  4. Pray: Talk to God about what is now in your mind. Share with him your thoughts and feelings. Ask God your questions. In the silence, listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you through the words of scripture and even in your very thoughts and feelings. (~5 mins)

  5. Contemplate: Be still and rest. Allow the truth to sink into you and take root. Reflect on what God is doing and is going to do in your life. (~3 mins)

  • If you would like to share anything from your time of meditation, feel free to do so.

[1] This must not be taken to mean that our love and obedience somehow merit this gift; rather, it is to those who are so related to his Son that the Father gives the Counsellor. It is also important to note that while obedience to Jesus is the key on the human side to receiving the gift of the Counsellor, we must not turn it into some sort of superspiritual obedience that only extraordinary Christians can achieve. What is meant by obedience is belief in Jesus and a commitment to follow him. Jesus’ first disciples were not superdisciples deserving the gift of the Spirit because of their extraordinary faith and obedience. They didn’t understand things; their thoughts were often the thoughts of mere humans, not the thoughts of God. At the time of Jesus’ greatest need, they forsook him and fled, and Peter even denied that he knew Jesus at all. But in contrast to those of the world, who did not love and obey Jesus, they did love him and in their own imperfect way they did obey him. It was to disciples like these Jesus promised the Counsellor.

Colin G. Kruse, John, Tyndale Commentary, pp300-301


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