• 15 June 2022
  • Stuart Robinson

Trinity Sunday John 16:12-15

I conducted a funeral this past week and the grief and sadness was evident even as people were filing in.

The husband of the deceased wept, and wept, as he spoke of his love for his late wife.

Death and separation are painful to be sure…and they raise all kinds of questions and emotions, to do with being left alone; an uncertain future; identity; love.

‘Who am I now, that she’s gone?’ is a phrase I hear from those who lost ‘significant others’.

I mention all that on this Trinity Sunday because those are the kinds of emotions that Jesus’ friends are experiencing in this part of John’s gospel.

It is sometimes referred to as Jesus’ ‘farewell discourse’.

Jesus is leaving his friends.

He’ll go to death via the cross…and their hearts, not surprisingly, are troubled, John reports in chapter  14:1.

‘Will we be left alone?’; ‘is our future uncertain?’; ‘who are we without Jesus?’ are the kinds of feelings they were likely to have experienced.

And have you not felt that way?

We gather to worship and honour a Jesus we cannot now see:

A Jesus who no longer appears to be physically present in a world that, for all intents and purposes, is unravelling.

And that is not an overstatement, is it?

Hopefully, after 100 days, we’ve not become desensitised to the appalling war in Ukraine…or to the fact that in our global village as we speak, more than 40 million people – mainly women and children, are being traded and trafficked as slaves.

Never before has that quantum been so high.

And according to the World Health Organisation – in the first year of COVID 19 alone, global prevalence of anxiety and depression jumped a massive 25%. One major explanation for the increase is the unprecedented stress caused by the social isolation resulting from the pandemic. Linked to this were constraints on people’s ability to work, seek support from loved ones and engage in their communities.

Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have also all been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression. Among health workers, exhaustion has been a major trigger for suicidal thinking. The greatest burden of this travesty has again been on women and children.

An unravelling world is a reality for us in 2022.

And Jesus’ speaks to our pain and our sense of helplessness here in John 16.

First, even though he is leaving his friends – physically, he makes it very clear that their relationship will continue.

He tells them there in verse 12 that he has more to share with them.

He is still interested in them.

They matter to him.

But right there and then, they have no further capacity to process what Jesus will teach them.

The phrase literally means that the time is not right.

This is not platitudinous drivel from a well-meaning soon-to-be-executed friend.

No, Jesus will continue to protect, support. and invest in his friends.


Well, second, in John 14:18 the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, promised his friends that he would not leave them as ‘orphans’ – rather he would come to them (v.18) and be with them in and through the ministry of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

And do you see here in verse 13, the Holy Spirit – or the Spirit of truth, will come personally to Jesus’ followers and he will guide them, and lead them in the truth of Christ (verse 14) !

You see, the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus (verse 14).

He’ll enable us to grasp more fully the love of Jesus; the compassion of Jesus; the power of Jesus; the majesty of Jesus; the sheer awesomeness of Jesus; he makes known to us what Jesus has spoken to him.

And that includes, third, the revelation that Jesus makes in verse 15 – that all that belongs to God the Father, also belongs to God the Son.

That is why Jesus is worthy of honour and glory; that is why his disciples fall to ground and worship him as he ascends into heaven – Luke 24:52:

All that belongs to God, belongs to Jesus.

And God, the Holy Spirit (verse 15),will come to Jesus’ friends and enable them to grasp more fully the intimate and dynamic relationship between the Father and the Son.

Beloved, it takes nothing less than God-in-Trinity, to draw you to himself, to redeem you from sin’s rule, to bring you to new birth, to empower and equip you for service and witness, to enable you to grow in knowledge and holiness, and to lead you through this life into the eternity which he has gone ahead to prepare.    

Our prayer for each other – in this season of turmoil and fear, needs to be that of St. Paul for the church in Ephesus – and we hear if, in part, in our Epistle reading. And with this I close:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches, God the Father may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


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