Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
John 16:5-15 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
This Gospel is intended for our great comfort. Jesus says to his disciples that he is going to the one who sent him, but, it is to your advantage that I go away! Pay attention to these words. Learn them well and use them in your daily life as often as you need to pull strength from them. IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!
Everything that Jesus and His Father does IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Everything that Jesus allows to happen in your life IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Every thought in God’s mind is for you. He has not a thought, not a single action, not a breath, not a heartbeat that is not on you and FOR you. God is with you, even though he is not visible, but he is more than just with you, HE IS FOR YOU! Every movement of God is for you. Every thought is for you. Every desire in his heart is for your good. Every intention of God is to bless you. That is why every good gift and every perfect gift is from heaven above (James 1:17). Every ray of sunshine, every drop of rain, every flower that blossoms, every tree that grows, every breath you take, every beat of your heart is a gift from God. Every night you go to bed and close your eyes to rest is a gift from God. Every morning you wake up still alive, is a gift from God.
Yes, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to his Father who sent him. And that it was for your advantage. For at that moment Jesus was to inherit the kingdom of heaven and earth. “All that the Father has is mine,” he says. Jesus is Lord of all. The heavens and the earth are his. He reigns supreme on the throne above all things. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him,” (Matthew 28:18).
And he rules it all for you! For your advantage. It is for your advantage the He sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. His rule is over all things, including Satan and his demonic angels. He rules over your problems, over your sicknesses, over your sufferings, over your pain, over your death. Hence, he tells you, through the Apostle, “For those who love God all things work together for good,” (Romans 8:28). Both in your life and in your death. “Neither death nor life…can separate you from the Lord of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39).
How hard it is to understand and comprehend this in your suffering. When you wrestle with God and complain to him that you are being treated unfairly; when you feel he is punishing you by sending you all manner of sorrow and affliction; it is hard to see past your visible and physical circumstances and see his love and blessing in everything that he does. Cling then to these words of promise IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! When you feel abandoned, he is with you, and sends His Spirit to guide you into all the truth.
The devil attacks and tries to draw you away from faith in Christ. He attacks you with sins that separate you from God. He attacks you with tribulations, suffering and sorrow which cause you to doubt God’s love for you. But, true faith in Christ looks past all these things. It looks right at the cross of Jesus and sees Jesus taking your place in all these things, in your temptations, in your guilt, in your sins and in your death, and there, on the cross, faith in Christ sees your salvation. Sees that everything God does, even sending his Son to the cross, even pouring out his blood and giving his life, is FOR YOU!
So, when you are troubled, when you are sad, when you are worried, when you are sick, when you are facing death, cling to these words of Jesus, IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Everything God does and allows to happen to you is for your good.
And that includes the fact that he told his disciples I am going away. He is indeed away sitting on the throne in heaven, because from there he rules over all things for your advantage.
Yet, he is not gone! This gospel is the highest in sacramental theology of any part in scripture. He is gone away, yet he is with us. And not just sitting with us in church today, or in the car as your “co-pilot” according to the popular bumper sticker. No! He is much closer to you than that. He is IN you. He comes into you in baptism as he pours out his Holy Spirit INTO you. He is IN you because you come to the Lord’s Supper where you eat his body and drink his blood. Jesus’ flesh and blood is placed into your lips and on your tongue in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. He can be no closer to you, no more intimate with you than that.
Then the promise: If I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. He will send the Helper. This is the Holy Spirit. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit will glorify Christ and declare Him to us. He does not come to glorify Himself, or to make a lot of noise about the Spirit and getting the Spirit, but he declares Christ and speaks only what he hears from Christ. And what He declares from Christ is to convict the world because of sin and righteousness and judgment.
Because of sin because they do not believe in Jesus. Those who do not believe in Jesus are dead in their sin. Those who do not have faith in Christ have no forgiveness, have no salvation, have no eternal life. They are dead to God and neither know God nor understand God. They do not know of His love. They do not know of his comfort. They do not know of his forgiveness. They do not know of his salvation. None of these do they have on account of their unbelief. This is the preaching of the Law. To convict the world of sin and crush the sinful soul to repentance.
The Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness. This is the Gospel. The Gospel that says that your sin is forgiven and paid for on the cross. The Gospel that says you are redeemed and reconciled to God. The Gospel that says you are declared righteous by God and on account of that declaration you have eternal life with Jesus in his kingdom.
And he will convict the world of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged. This is the cross of Jesus. The ruler of this world, a reference to Satan, has been judged and is bound, under the power and lock and key of Jesus, the one who reigns supreme over all the universe, both good and evil are under his rule and authority FOR YOUR ADVANTAGE.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in all the truth. Jesus tells his disciples that he has much to say to them, but they could not bear it all at that time. So he sent the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost who taught them and guided them into all the truth. And who continues to teach us and guide us into all truth.
Here we see the love of Jesus for us. That he sends the Spirit to teach us and guide us into all truth. And here is precisely why it is appropriate to set aside one day every year to remember your mother. It is not a day to praise mothers or motherhood, but a day to give thanks for your mother. And all of you have a mother whom you can honor and thank. For it is often through your mother that the Holy Spirit first does his work in you. It was you mother and father who brought you to baptism in most cases when the Holy Spirit was infused into you and created faith in you. It is often the mother who is your first teacher, teaching you the truths of Scripture, of Jesus, of forgiveness, of God’s love and of salvation. It was your mother and father who brought you to instruction in the church in Bible study and the Catechism. She is the one who gave life to your body and the one who gave you life in Christ. Who taught you the faith that saves. Hence, she was an instrument in the hands of the Spirit whom Jesus sends to you to teach you and guide you into all truth.
Love and honor you mother and give thanks to God for the role that your mother has played in your life and salvation. Amen.