Turning the World Upside Down
Jesus’ long teaching given to the disciples at the Last Supper has many facets. Included among them is his promise to send the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. Throughout this long section Jesus at times describes the role of this Advocate as teaching and as giving witness to Jesus. In today’s passage Jesus names the Spirit’s role as a prosecutor of the world, convicting the world, turning upside down the world’s judgment on Jesus.
In the face of those who accused Jesus of the sin of blasphemy, the Advocate will demonstrate the real sin is not believing in Jesus. Though it seemed that Jesus was declared guilty and died in disgrace, his return to the Father shows that God’s righteousness has triumphed through him. And though Jesus was condemned to death, it was actually Satan, the ruler of this world, who has been condemned through Jesus’ death.
Where is this “court” in which the Advocate exercises this role? It is in the hearts of the disciples, all those who come to faith in Jesus (“the Spirit of truth . . . will be in you.”). In the face of the world’s boasting, the Holy Spirit gives them the eyes to see how things really are.
When we look around us, it is easy to be tempted to doubt the promises of Jesus, to wonder where he is in a world that seems so far from him, to question whether the death and resurrection of Jesus has had any real impact in the world at all. Only the Holy Spirit, who dwells within believers, can assist us to see the effects of not believing in Jesus, to proclaim the triumph of Jesus and the defeat of Satan. In moments of doubt, let’s allow a prayer to the Holy Spirit to come to our hearts, the Holy Spirit who remains our Advocate and helps us see the truth of how things are, even when our world seems upside down.
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