John 16:8-12

And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Reflection – Brandon Hudson

Jesus makes these statements in the upper room with his disciples, in the middle of many discourses about the path he is taking and the cross where it will lead. Earlier in this discourse and even earlier in this chapter, he is telling the disciples about the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the gift that he will leave to his disciples after he is crucified, resurrected, and ascends.

One of the things that is fascinating to me about these words of encouragement that Jesus seeks to leave to his disciples is how the Spirit will deal with sin. Jesus was, in the eyes of those who sought to crucify him, a sinner. The way that he enacted the love of God in his mission on earth often brought him into conflict with those who had constructed an understanding of sin that excluded those with whom Jesus spent most of his time. And when he is discussing the role of the Spirit, he makes sure to note that when the Spirit fill’s God’s people the understanding of sin would be challenged and changed.

It’ easy to think of the ways that the Pharisees sought to trap Jesus, but it is harder to ponder the ways that we might be being called to rethink our own understanding of sin. We have all been handed and concocted various architectures of sin that we find fitting. For some of us, we use these constructed ideas to support our own ideas of what is right and wrong while turning a blind eye or hardened heart to what the Spirit wants to show us.

The sin that the Spirit reveals is a lack of belief in the person and work of Jesus. To cast aside this sin is to have our eyes opened to what God is doing not only in the past but actively in the present. It often means allowing God to deconstruct our built up walls and plans in order to build something more beautiful, more expansive, and more inclusive.

My prayer for us as we walk with Jesus is that we would take the advice of many a middle school dance chaperone and “leave room for the Holy Spirit!” When we do so, we can put aside our map of how we think things should go and let the Spirit guide us into new and exciting places where we can watch God work in new ways first hand.