As Calvary’s cross casts its long shadow in His mind, Jesus spoke matter-of-factly with His disciples. He commanded them to love one another (John 15:17). He forewarned them of the world’s hatred and persecution (John 15:18-27John 16:1-44). He told them He was going away (John 16:1-7).

They were grief-stricken, but their grief would turn to joy (John 16:6, John 16:22). Through the Holy Spirit, He would be with them and live in them forever (John 14:16-20). Then Jesus reiterated this promise by explaining the Spirit’s work, not only within and among the disciples, but also through His indispensable work in the world.

I. The World’s Convicting Counselor (John 16:4-11)
The Spirit whom Jesus is sending is another Counselor (John 14:16; John 16:7 parakletos, one called alongside as a helper and intercessor), who is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13).

Yet, for those who are not Jesus’ disciples, the Holy Spirit is a convicting Counselor. “When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

Leon Morris cites the legal implications in the Holy Spirit’s work. He noted that for believers, God’s Spirit is a Defender; for unbelievers, He is a Prosecutor seeking conviction and correction (Morris, NICNT John, 1971, p. 697). Indeed, as Warren Weirsbe observes, there can be no conversion without conviction. How does this convicting Counselor work in the world?

First, He convicts us of sin, specifically the sin of unbelief (John 16:9). As He did on Pentecost through the apostle’s preaching, He brings piercing conviction to the heart (Acts 2:37). He exposes excuses, destroys defenses and overwhelms us with unavoidable guilt because of sin and selfish unbelief.

Second, the Spirit calls those who are dying in sin to place their trust in the life-giving Savior. He alone is righteous (John 16:10). He alone makes us right with God.

Third, the Spirit convinces us the adversary and his followers are defeated foes, who will face judgment (John 16:11).

II. The Disciples’ Truthful Translator (John 16:12-15)
Not only does the Spirit convict unbelievers, but also guides Jesus’ disciples into all the truth (v. 16:13). This means the Spirit of truth is a truthful Translator about the Person and work of Jesus (John 14:6), and He guides believers into the Spirit-inspired truth of God’s Word. He will bring glory and bear witness to Jesus, and He will empower His disciples to do the same (John 15:26-27; John 16:13-14).

A century ago, in the border towns of Texas and Mexico, a man named Jorge Rodriguez gained notoriety as a bank robber. His daring daylight heists forced the legendary Texas Rangers to assign extra posses along the Rio Grande.

Within a few days, one of the rangers tracking Rodriguez followed him into a Mexican village cantina. Stealthily slipping behind him, the ranger put a pistol to the robber’s head and said, “I know who you are, Jorge Rodriguez; and I have come to get back all the money you have stolen from the banks in Texas. Give it to me, or I am going to pull the trigger.”

Silence followed. Tension mounted. Rodriguez didn’t speak English. The ranger didn’t speak Spanish. A well-dressed patron came over and said, “I am bilingual. Shall I act as translator?” The ranger nodded.

Rodriguez stammered, “Tell the big Texas Ranger that I have not spent a cent of the money. If he will go to the town well, face north, count down five stones, he will find a loose stone. If he pulls it out, he will find all the money. Please tell him quickly.”

The translator paused and collected his thoughts. He assumed a solemn look and turned to the ranger. “Jorge Rodriguez says he is a brave man. He says he is ready to die” (Claypool in Hughes, Behold the Man, 1984, p. 91).

Poor Jorge! On the edge of eternity, what he most needed was a truthful translator. Thankfully, we have been given a truthful Translator, just as the world has been given a convicting Counselor. Jesus sends the Spirit of truth to guide us into the truth of God’s Word to the glory of the Father and the Son. Jesus sends the Counselor who prays for us and empowers our witness to those He brings under conviction.

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