14 May 2014

The John 16 Reality Check

I have come to love that which I used to dread.  The late Easter season in the 1 year series... the lessons from John 16, the ones that don't even go in order but move around.

See, I'll be honest - one of the things I appreciate about the 1 year series is how it is not sequential - how it jumps around from topic to topic and theme to theme, rather than just moving at a plodding pace through the Gospels chapter after chapter, to where (in my brief, 5 month experience) you would get those times where you think "didn't I just preach this last week?"  And then we have Easter.  And we have 4 weeks in a row dealing with John 16.  And I used to dread it - I would transfer Ascension simply to give me something other than a 4th week of John 16 again.

Now I see the wisdom.  Now I see the great reality check that the Late Easter season is.

Consider - Easter 4 - John 16:16-22.  The world is going to hate you, and people will rejoice at your suffering.  Well, there's some blunt reality -- but over and against this this Truth - Christ will see you again.  Resurrection trumps the lousy reality.

Consider - Easter 5 - John 16:5-15.  It's good that Christ leaves, that there isn't a big, visible Earthly Kingdom.  Rather, the Spirit will proclaim Law and Gospel, will proclaim that we are sinners, that we are forgiven, and that Satan and his world are defeated.  This is a great "theology of glory" reality check right there -- the Spirit is going to have to remind you that you are a sinner, that you are forgiven, and that Satan doesn't win.

Consider - Easter 6 - John 16:23-33.  What greater reality check is there than the last verse?  In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.  Even as the world around you is wicked and evil and falls to pot - there is the reality.  Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, alleluia!  The world is over come... and we have peace in Christ.

And then Easter 7 - John 15:26-16:4.  You are going to get battered and bruised.  That is the reality.  Even the most holy and pious seeming of people will be the ones to trash you, to toss you out of the synagogues, the churches.  That's the way things will be - but you still proclaim Christ and Him crucified for sinners, bear witness to His death (I was there, I saw the blood and water pour out - he who saw it has borne witness and his testimony is true!).

All a giant reality check.  And as the attendance dips again, and once-in-a-while families are done with Easter and Confirmations, as Easter Lilies start to die off (although this may be a joy to those suffering from allergies) and all the other joyous things fade away - we get this wonderful reality check.  Yeah, things will go back to normal, normal for this fallen world.  And that's lousy.

Christ is still risen, He is risen indeed.

1 comment:

Tapani Simojoki said...

Thank you! A great encouragement, as I prepare to preach again this Sunday. Last year I dodged John 16 and preached on James 1, for the same reason you used to transfer Ascension.