Trinity Sunday 26.5.13 John 16. 12-15

19 05 2013

All Truth

This is a very short gospel reading. Its very brevity makes you wonder how many words it takes to tell the truth.

John 16. 12-15

Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Why can the disciples not bear the ‘many things’ yet to be said to them?
  2. Can you begin to imagine what ‘all the truth’ might be like?
  3. What does Jesus mean by saying that the father will ’take what is mine’?

Heart Questions

  1. How are the disciples feeling at this stage in Jesus’ discourse?
  2. Do you believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is something your heart can connect with?
  3. How do you feel about the idea that the three persons of the Trinity have the same heart?

Hand Questions

  1. What one action of yours could speak volumes of truth?
  2. What are the ethical implications of believing in the Trinity?
  3. What does the Spirit of truth require of you at this stage in your life journey?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.

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Pentecost 19.5.13 John 14.8-17 [25-57]

1 05 2013

The Holy Spirit

Jesus is asked a question – but as usual the question is not good enough to get a direct answer. But fear not, the spirit of truth is coming.

John 14.8-17 [25-57]

Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

15 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you …

25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Why do you think Philip asked that question (v8)?
  2. ‘Another Advocate’: what is your sense of the meaning of ‘paraclete’?
  3. What might it mean to do ‘greater works than these’ (v12)?

Heart Questions

  1. Do you find the prospect of the ‘Spirit of truth’ comforting – or is there a bit of threat in there for you?
  2. What do you feel about Father and the Son coming to make their home in you? Are you that hospitable?

Hand Questions

  1. Do you have a ‘Philip question’ in you that you need to ask someone?
  2. Can you identify the works that you do?
  3. Can you find one practical way to obey the commandment to love your real-life neighbour?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.





Christ the King 25.11.12 John 18.33-37

18 11 2012

The Voice of Truth

This passage is a really charged exchange. Jesus and Pilate in a face-off.

In my opinion it’s an outrage that the the Lectionary stops at verse 37. The drama is not complete until we hear verse 38: ‘Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”‘

By the way, I wrote about this passage in my book ‘Barefoot Discple’, reporting on a time when I got people to act this dialogue out. It was amazing. People found many different ways of doing Pilate – but the voice of Jesus was always calm.

John 18.33-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection I am going to suggest three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels. You might prefer to stay in one area. But beware of staying in your comfort zone. That’s rarely where profound preaching comes from.

‘Head Questions’

  1. Why did Pilate start with the question,’are you the king of the Jews?’
  2. Where is Jesus’ kingdom from?
  3. What does it mean to ‘testify to the truth’?

‘Heart Questions’

  1. How do you imagine the tension between Pilate and Jesus?
  2. What do you feel when you read Jesus’ words about hearing his voice?
  3. Do you like Pilate’s final question (v38)?

‘Hand Questions’?

  1. What personal responsibilty flows from following Jesus?
  2. What can you do to help yourself and others hear Jesus’ voice?
  3. Why have you come into the world – what, as far as you understand it, is your personal vocation?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up – working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.