John 13-16

The Holy Spirit and Leadership

While the other gospels continue with Jesus dealing with the religious rulers after He cleared the Temple, John’s focus in these chapters is on the time spent with His disciples just before He was betrayed and arrested. Jesus knows he will be with them for only a short time so He must prepare them for what is ahead.

As Jesus and His disciples were making their way to Jerusalem just a few days earlier, both Matthew and Mark record that James and John asked Jesus if they could be seated on the right and left of Him when He came into His glory. Matthew tells us that the boys even got their mother involved in their jockeying for a position in the kingdom.  This event is recorded in Matthew 20:20-28 and Mark 10:35-45 where Jesus had just told the disciples what was about to happen to Him in Jerusalem, but apparently the disciples didn’t hear or understand what He was talking about. So Jesus explains that they were thinking as the gentile world thinks; that when one becomes a leader they have power to lord it over those under them. Jesus taught that this is not the way of the kingdom. He said, “But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 NASB

In Chapter 13 Jesus teaches and demonstrates servant leadership. Before Jesus came to Jerusalem Jesus had taught the disciples that the worldly leadership likes to “lord it over” people. Servant leadership is shepherd leadership which Jesus demonstrates by washing the disciple’s feet.  Shepherd leadership leads by serving but also recognizes that there is an authority structure and the final authority deserves the glory. Verses 12-20.

Christians are known as followers of Jesus. This is why it is so important for believers to be servant leaders. We are to be like our Lord but when a believer lords it over one another they are robbing God of His Glory and taking His name in vain in the process.  In the balance of Chapter 13 Judas leaves to carry out his evil plan and Peter is jockeying for position and will have to learn about servant leadership the hard way.

In Chapter 14 Jesus assures the disciples that even though He is going away they will not be alone. He tells them about the coming of the Holy Spirit who will abide with them and will be in them. However, at this point in time, the Holy Spirit has not been given. He will not be sent until Jesus is taken up to Heaven. When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost He brought spiritual gifts which are meant to empower the disciples and believers for ministry. It is important for believers to understand that as Jesus was with the disciples; leading them, teaching, empowering them for ministry, so also the Holy Spirit is with us and relates to us in the same way. Of course the disciples did not always do well in relating to Jesus. Sometimes they lacked faith and let fear overtake them. Other times they doubted Him and even tried to direct Him but Jesus was always with them drawing them to Him.  If we are not careful we can do the same with our relationship with the Holy Spirit. So let’s take a look at some of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to help us be aware of His presence in our lives.

The Holy Spirit comes along side us and convicts us of our sin and our need for forgiveness and to be born again in order to enter the kingdom and have eternal life. John 14:17, and 16:8-11

When we respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and make our confession of faith in Jesus we are born again. It is then that the Holy Spirit moves into our heart. It is in our heart that we realize that He is with us as Jesus was with the disciples. He is our councilor and our comforter. When we are confused and pray for wisdom the Holy Spirit guides us and He will remind us of what Jesus has said. Of course, it might be smart to be hiding the Word in our heart so the Holy Spirit has something to remind us of what Jesus said and we must also be receptive. See Matthew 7:7-12; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:13-14

Finally, the Holy Spirit empowers us for ministry so we can serve our Lord and bring glory to Him. Acts 1:8

Remember that when a person becomes a believer it is the result of the conviction of the Holy Spirit as we read in John 16:8-11. Salvation is always an “inside job” but believers have an important part in the process John tells us in John 15:26&27.  We must be a witness to others in word and lifestyle. We cannot save anyone no matter how clever we are or try to be. Nor can we botch the job because we are not eloquent in speech, wise and witty, clever etc. But we can hinder the process if we let pride get in the way and attempt to convince someone in our own strength. We need to speak and live our life in a way that points to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit bring the conviction. When a person responds to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and gives their life to Jesus they are born of the Spirit. John 3:5-8

It was Jesus who died for our sins, but not only our sins, but also the sins of the entire world! 1 John 2:2. That includes your worst enemy, my worst enemy and all of those who participated in our Lord’s crucifixion. He did this to demonstrate the love of God. God’s love is a benevolent love that gives to the object of love what that person needs and not necessarily what they want. This is in stark contrast to the worldly kind of love we are so familiar with that says, “If you love me you will give me what I want.” God’s love is summed up in these words, God so loved the world that He gave….  John 3:16

This is the love we are commanded to have in John 13:34&35. It is God’s love that drew us to Him when we realized our sin and that Jesus willingly went to the cross for our sin.

May Jesus be lifted up in your life.

Pastor Dave