If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
Reflection – Patsy Jeffcoat
This passage is part of John’s account of Jesus’ ‘farewell discourse’ to the disciples before crucifixion. The people that hate him have witnessed his ministry among them. He has talked to them, and they have seen his works. So, they have no excuse for the sin of persecuting and rejecting him. They can’t plead ignorance. God has sent his Son to offer mercy to them, and since they rejected the Son, they must also hate the Father. It is a sad, painful, and damning realization that they hated without cause.
On the other side of the gloom though, comes the glimmer of light. Jesus speaks words of comfort and encouragement to his disciples by telling them that the Spirit of truth is coming. Even as they are facing abandonment, they will not be left alone. The Spirit will be with them to help them testify to all they have seen and heard as they were with Jesus from the beginning.
Here we are 2000 years later, celebrating Lent by remembering all that Jesus faced leading up to crucifixion, and feeling the weight of all that entails. However, like the disciples, we too can be comforted and encouraged by these words. The Holy Spirit is with us and can be trusted as we testify to the good news of Jesus and his promises. Easter is coming. Resurrection is coming. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are with us.
Thanks be to God.