Easter 5—Cantate (Jn 16, 5–16)

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When He, the Spirit of the Truth, comes He will guide you in all the Truth.

᛭ INI ᛭

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) Condemnation is a nothing (Οὐδὲν). It doesn’t exist (אֵין). And it doesn’t exist, it’s a nothing now—right now! For those who are in Christ Jesus. “Those who are in Christ Jesus” are those who have faith in Him, those who have been baptized into His Name, the Name He shares with His Father and the Spirit. “I baptize you into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28)

What all that means is this: there is right now, today, this very moment, no condemnation for you. This doesn’t have anything to do with you. Far from it! It has everything to do with Jesus. He “was given up for our transgressions and raised for our justification.” He died and was raised so that your sins could be condemned in His condemnation and death and your innocence is proved and assured by His being declared innocent from condemnation and death in His resurrection.

“In Christ Jesus” means that His death and resurrection were delivered to you and you were united to both cross, death, and empty tomb in Holy Baptism (Rom 6, Col 2, 1 Pet 3). You receive the benefits of His cross and His Baptism by faith. “Having been justified by His grace…through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Tit 3), “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 5)”

In the world there is no such thing. It is for you. In Baptism “you received the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2; Tit 3) and “you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a spirit of sonship by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The same [Holy] Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. If children, also heirs: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. (Rom 8; Gal 3)” That’s how it is for you, but again, in the world there is no such thing.

In the world there’s a different spiritual reality, if it’s okay to use that term. Jesus clues us in to that reality in our Gospel reading:

“When He,” that is, the Holy Spirit, “comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment. Concerning sin, because they they do not believe in Me. Concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father, and you will not see Me anymore. Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

There are some implications for what Jesus says about the world and the Holy Spirit today. One of them is that the world stands convicted. Pardon and peace with God are a nothing (Οὐδὲν) for the world. They don’t exist (אֵין). Conviction exists (יֵ֛שׁ). Another thing that Jesus’ word’s mean, their implication is that conviction is the world’s spiritual reality because (1) there is sin in the world, (2) there is no actual righteousness in the world, and thus (3) there is only judgment for the world and its ruler, the devil.

That’s hard for you and I to accept because there’s a part of us that gets convicted along with the world. That’s our flesh. Sin and its power is at home to roost in our flesh, our human nature. It’s separate from what God created as good in the beginning, separate in a way known only to Him, but now our human nature ruined with enmity toward God and selfishness, fear, worry, doubt, and dread toward our neighbor.

“Our flesh has not those pure desires The spirit of the Law requires.” According to the Spirit’s conviction this is true, and we know this by faith, and that gets us to what Jesus is comforting you and I with today. When He comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He will guide you in all the Truth.

The Spirit guides you in the Truth. Truth isn’t a system of ideas that’s correct or something. Truth isn’t a proper moral framework. Truth isn’t a set properly ordered feelings. The Truth is a person. The Truth is Jesus. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Truth, the Spirit of Jesus guides you to Jesus.

This is what we mean, for example, when we say in the Small Catechism that the Spirit “enlightens me with His gifts.” He doesn’t bring out something that’s already there, but brings something new—faith in Jesus. “I believe I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him.”

And that’s exactly why Jesus sends Him. He wants you to be His, so He sends the Spirit who works on You in His Word and Sacraments to do exactly that. The Spirit was first given you in Holy Baptism as Peter says. (Acts 2) The Spirit comes to you through the Scriptures which He inspired. (2 Tim 3) He comes to you in the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood for you for the forgiveness of sins because Jesus’ Word and Promise are also there. “These words along with the bodily eating and drinking are the main thing in the Sacrament, whoever believes these words has exactly what they say, forgiveness of sins.”

Thank the Spirit today. He guided you here, brought you here, caused you to be here. This is all that Jesus wants for you. He wants you to be His, and He sends the Spirit to do it, who works in concrete ways. Out in the world there’s only conviction: concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. The Spirit does this, too. “I should” and “I would have but” and “I didn’t mean to” rule out there. As Paul says, “Their consciences accusing and sometimes excusing them.”

But for you: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) Condemnation is a nothing (Οὐδὲν). It doesn’t exist (אֵין). And it doesn’t exist, it’s a nothing now—right now! For those who are in Christ Jesus. “Those who are in Christ Jesus” are those who have faith in Him, those who have been baptized into His Name, the Name He shares with His Father and the Spirit. “I baptize you into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28)

What all that means is this: there is right now, today, this very moment, no condemnation for you. This doesn’t have anything to do with you. Far from it! It has everything to do with Jesus. He “was given up for our transgressions and raised for our justification.” He died and was raised so that your sins could be condemned in His condemnation and death and your innocence is proved and assured by His being declared innocent from condemnation and death in His resurrection.

Just as Jesus says, When He comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He will guide you in all the Truth.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

᛭ INI ᛭

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