John 15:26-16:4 NRSVue
26“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. 27You also are to testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
1“I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away., 2They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
“Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
Some thoughts on this scripture
/When the Counsellor comes…/ The Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, does not operate as an alien intruder whispering surprising news into my ear. Rather he helps me to be myself, and to learn from my experience. When Peter, James and Paul, at the first council of Jerusalem, disagreed on whether to circumcise pagan converts, they resolved their arguments by reflecting on their experience; then they were able to conclude: /It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us…/
Give me the wisdom, Lord, to learn from what I have lived through.
There's an atmosphere in these chapters of John's gospel that Jesus wants to be with us, that he likes being with us, and cares about his friendships with us. Prayer is firstly God's invitation to us to be present, before it is anything of our activity. We pray because God is God, because God exists, and moreso, because God is love. Prayer time is 'handing over time' - handing over cares, joys and sorrows into the care of the loving God.
Jesus taught his disciples with his word, and prepared them for life when he would no longer be with them. He knew that there would be opposition to them and danger to their lives because of their following of him. Banishment from their places of worship would bring them to remember what he told them. Prayer is listening over and over again to the word of God so that it becomes part of us like our daily food and daily bread.
God gives us gifts for ourselves but they are not private personal property. Jesus asks us to give witness. I think of how I might do this and ask for the help I need.
Aware of how much being a witness to the gospel costs, I pray for the strength to remember these words of Jesus in the hour of need.