Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

John 14: Your Advocate

(If you want to print this Bible Study, try our PDF version

As we continue our study of the Gospel of John, Jesus introduces the disciplines (and us) to the promise of the Holy Spirit: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.”  (John 14:16)   This Advocate is to be another team member in the ministry ahead and the building of the Church.  Among the Holy Spirit’s tasks is to “testify” to God and God’s plans in the world.  The Holy Spirit helps us call out sin in ourselves and in the world.  The Holy Spirit works within each of us and within the Church as we accept salvation and repay it through words and deeds of thanksgiving and love for God and for one another. 

 

Monday    John 15:26

[Jesus said] “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.” 

Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as a “Spirit of truth,” and John in his Gospel and in the later epistles (1 John 4:6) emphasizes the importance of truth in testimony about Jesus. 

What does it mean for the Advocate to be the “Spirit of truth”? 

What has the Holy Spirit testified about Jesus?

Tuesday                      John 15:27 (NRSV)
[Jesus said] “You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.”

Testimony usually involves statements (words or actions) based on personal experience or knowledge received in some other way.  Jesus calls on the disciples to speak and act from their personal experience with him.

Is it possible for us, 2000 years later, to testify for Jesus from a personal experience with him?

What can you say about Jesus based on your experience? 

Wednesday    Acts 2 (NRSV)
(Peter said)  “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus who you crucified.”

Peter gives one of the best examples of testimony in the Bible.  (See Acts 2.)  He speaks from his experience and from the authority of the Scriptures; he speaks directly and confidently to a powerful crowd; he speaks truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection; he speaks with purpose and with a concrete plan (“repent and be baptized”).  He also speaks filled with the Holy Spirit.

What are some other great examples of testimony in the Bible? 

Have you seen or heard effective testimony in person?  What impressed you?  What made it effective? 

Thursday        Revelation 12:10-12 (NRSV)
. . . But they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . .

Nowhere in the Bible is the struggle between good and evil portrayed in more pitched terms than in the book of Revelation.  And nowhere is testimony as decisive as in this struggle.  Testimony is a powerful tool.  Speaking the truth … to ourselves, to our loved one, to our adversaries … can make great changes.   

What is an example in history where testimony has caused a great change? 

What is an example from your life?

Friday              Leviticus 5:1
When any of you sin in that you have heard a public adjuration to testify and – though able to testify as one who has seen or learned of the matter – does not speak up, you are subject to punishment. 

In other words, if we are called to testify about something we have seen or that we know about, it is wrong to refuse to testify.  Quite a challenge!  Though a tenant of ancient Jewish law, it is difficult to square this command with our modern “right to remain silent” society.  The price of God’s salvation, however, is testimony to our own sins and the sins of the world.  The Holy Spirit or the Advocate or the Paraclete “comes alongside” (parakletas) to help us meet this challenge, as Jesus promised.

Are you able to identify your own sin and speak to God about it? 

If so, how do you go about it?  If not, what seems to be in the way?

Saturday         John 16:12-14
[Jesus said] “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

Jesus continues to instruct and encourage his disciples (and us) with the promise of Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will testify on behalf of Jesus as Jesus has testified on behalf of God.  There are many things yet to be spoken; there are many things yet to be learned; there is more (each and every day) for us to testify in our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit. 

What more do you want to hear from Jesus? 

What more do you have to say on his behalf?

God, thank you for the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.   Amen