John 15:26 – 16:4
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
1 THESE things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
The disciples who have consistently been with Jesus are charged to bear witness to Jesus. They have been with him from the beginning, have seen his signs and miracles and have heard his teaching, both public and to the disciples alone. In these Bible verses, Jesus continues to prepare the disciples both for the Passion and also for their mission, to bring the gift of Christ to the whole world, and he tells them of the hardships they must then endure, which for all but one of the Apostles, John, will result in martyrdom.
Jesus speaks of what will happen at Pentecost, when after a time when the disciples have hid themselves, confused and afraid for their lives, the Holy Spirit will descend upon them, bringing them great joy and new knowledge and conviction, such that they be compelled to rush out from their private meeting place and proclaim the good news of Christ to everyone.
The Holy Spirit is named by Jesus as the Counsellor and the Spirit of truth. He is a guide for us for all time. When we examine our conscience, the Holy Spirit is with us. Our very calling to be with Christ is through the Spirit. It is through the Spirit that we may pray.
In these verses, Jesus explains that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent from the Father by the Son. We may touch here on the question of the filioque, upon which Catholic and Orthodox Christians have been at variance as concerning the Trinity. It is a great mystery.
While contemplating these Bible verses, we may wish to reflect especially on the gift and the works of the Spirit in our lives. For the Apostles, the gift of the Spirit meant that their faith in Jesus, the Son of God, was no longer to be a private matter; it was then time for the Apostles to begin their ministry.
As Christians, we may wish to think of how we bring Christ to others, both Christian and otherwise, and of how much we share of our faith and all that it teaches us outside of church services and private prayer. It is a gift of the Spirit that we are able to share our faith and good works.
We will know also that there are times when our call to imitate Christ is rejected by others, and often by people who themselves feel they are doing the right thing, indeed who may think or say that they are serving God. We are taught by Jesus to endure such difficulties, and no matter what others may say or do, to remain steadfast in our love for Jesus.
‘Being God, the Holy Spirit, together with the Father and the Son, makes us new in baptism. He leads us back from ugliness to our former beauty, and fills us with his grace, so that we no longer have any capacity for the things which are not worthy of love. He frees us from sin and death.’ Didymus of Alexandria