Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away,
for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go,
I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 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 judgement,
because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
When I was a pastor I once received a middle-of-the-night phone call from a mother frantically asking me to go to the hospital and “save” her dying son. I told her that I would go to the hospital and talk to her son, but that I could not “save” him, only God could do that. I went, believing the Spirit of God could take my stumbling words and use them. And He did!
In today’s scripture Jesus says He will send the Holy Spirit to believers, empowering them to talk to the world about Jesus. Through our words and lives the Holy Spirit “will prove the world wrong” about three things: “sin and righteousness and judgement.” The world is deceived in its thinking about these three things. In fact, it will require the supernatural enlightening of the Holy Spirit to prove them wrong. God can do that, just as He did with us. He can flip the switch and the light will come on! Amazing grace!
Jesus says that the Spirit will first prove the world wrong about sin: “about sin, because they do not believe in me.” Clearly the world does not understand the nature of its sin, that it does not believe in Jesus. The world’s number one problem is not believing in Jesus. This is the fundamental, predominant sin (John 3:18, 36). We are in step with the Holy Spirit when we invite people to believe in Jesus.
Jesus also says that the Spirit will work through a believer’s witness to prove the world wrong about righteousness: “about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer.” The world doesn’t understand the true nature of righteousness anymore than it understands the true nature of sin. The world thought Jesus unrighteous and thus crucified Him as a criminal. But the righteousness of Jesus is proven in His going to the Father. Sitting at the Father’s right hand is vindication of His righteousness. We look to Jesus then for our righteousness.
Finally, the Holy Spirit will prove the world wrong about judgement: “about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” The world does not understand judgement, or that through His cross Jesus judged “the ruler of this world” and all the forces of evil. The apostle Paul witnessed to Jesus’ condemnation and judgement of the ruler of this world and evil powers: “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son…He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them” (Colossians 1:13; 2:15).
Early in my Christian walk I would sweat and fret about trying to convince people about the truth of Christ’s Gospel. I wondered how I could convince anyone to believe. Today I realize that I cannot convince, or prove anyone wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgement. But the Spirit can! That is the Spirit’s work! It is just as Jesus promised His first followers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). What exciting work God has given us to do! What a life to live!
- Why is the Holy Spirit working to prove the world wrong about the sin of not believing in Jesus, rather than other sins?
- How do I sense the work of the Holy Spirit relieving me of pressure in talking to others about Jesus?
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)