Easter 4, John 16:5
Have you ever seen a play when one person is playing two parts, for example, character “A” a timed and shire person & character “B” a very brave and forceful soldier.
In this situation character “A” would have to leave the stage and change costumes before they could come back on as character “B”, and of course in a play character “B” would have to leave the stage and change again before they could come back on as character “A”.
Also in this situation if characters A & B in the play are being played by the same person they would be able to be on the same stage together at the same time.
In today’s Gospel reading which is part of Jesus’ discourse to His Apostles after the Last Supper, in which He tells them that He has to leave them so that the Holy Spirit can came to them.
Jesus had more than once revealed to the Disciples that He was to suffer and die for man’s redemption and that their road to glory was to be by the way of the Cross.
This time Jesus goes on to give them a more detailed description of the sorrows that are to come upon them in the immediate future and also of the ultimate great triumph of their cause and His, making clear to them that He has to return to God the Father, who had sent Him, so that the Holy Spirit could come in to the world.
They could not bear to hear Jesus speak of what was to happen to Him and so probably did not want to discuss it, much less to ask Him for more details.
The Disciples had become so grief-stricken at the thought of Jesus leaving them, and they had not yet been fully convinced of His divinity, and they still believed that His death would end everything for them.
Jesus tells them that it is the will of the Father, that He must die, but He goes on to tell them that He will rise again from the dead after three days, and in due course He will return to His Father in Heaven, so that the Holy Spirit can come and be with them, and mankind until the end of time.
God the Father had sent His only Son Jesus Christ into the world to “dwell among us” to teach us, and show us the way to the Father.
And now The Father and The Son are to send the Holy Spirit to complete the work of our redemption by His divine inspiration, His divine encouragement and His divine sanctification which He will and still does bring to each individual through the Church, and the Sacraments that Jesus had instituted hear on Earth.
The great miracle of Pentecost was still to come for the Disciples, when that great gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit was to come and give them convincing proof that Jesus Christ’s teachings are true.
It is that same Holy Spirit that was to give the Disciples supernatural courage, as up to that point in time had been timed fisherman from Galilee, and so frightened that they locked themselves in a room “for fear of the Jews”, but who from Pentecost became fearless heralds of Jesus Christ and started to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.
This was to be the proof which no one but those hardened in sin of pride and unbelief could refuse to accept.
Jesus goes on to promise the Disciples that the Holy Spirit will bring Justice to the world, and that the miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples and the infant Church will prove Christ’s claim that He had come from God the Father, and was the Son of God, and to have been the sinless, all-just redeemer of mankind.
These powers and gifts of the Holy Spirit will only come upon the Disciples when Jesus has completed his mission and had return to His Father in heaven.
When this happens then everyone should be convinced of Christ’s justice claims, the truth of His teaching, and all believes will become sharers in the justice which He brought to them and the world.
The coming of the Holy Spirit will also convince the world that Satan’s reign over mankind was finished, that Jesus Christ had brought our redemption, the gates of paradise have now been reopened and the power of Satan has been overthrown.
Before the coming of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in to the world, the power of Satan was visible everywhere in the worship of false gods and in the immoral lives of mankind.
Pentecost was to initiate a change which gradually spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the then know world and is still spreading today.
The war against Satan and his human agents was on, and still continues today and we can see this in the false teaching of Islam and parts of the Church, and terrorism but the victory is assured to the soldiers of Christ.
Satan can take no prisoners, except those who are willing to desert Jesus Christ.
Jesus teaching and instructions to His Disciples was not yet complete, but because of their sadness at the thought of His departure and because of the weakness of their faith, which required the miracle of the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit to correct.
Jesus’ promise to the Disciples was fore-filled when The Holy Spirit came upon them at that first Pentecost and all their teaching was completed, after which their characters changed as they were no longer timed and afraid, but now went out as fearless soldiers of Christ, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.