Archive for the ‘John 16’ Tag

Forty-Fourth Day of Easter   9 comments

Christ the Victorious

“I have conquered the world.”–Jesus

May 30, 2022


Acts 19:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul travelled through the inland regions till he came to Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples.  When he asked them,

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?

they replied,

No, we were not even told that there is a Holy Spirit.

He asked,

Then what baptism were you given?

They answered,

John’s baptism.

Paul said,

The baptism that John gave was a baptism in token of repentance, and he told the people to put their trust in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.

On hearing this they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues of ecstasy and prophesied.  There were about a dozen men in all.

During the next three months he attended the synagogue and with persuasive argument spoke boldly about the kingdom of God.  When some proved obdurate and would not believe, speaking evil of the new way before the congregation, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples with him, and continued to hold discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.  This went on for two years with the result that the whole population of the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.

Psalm 68:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

May God arise and his enemies he scattered,

and those hostile to him flee at his approach.

You disperse them like smoke;

you melt them like wax near fire.

The wicked perish at the presence of God,

but the righteous are joyful;

they exult before God

with gladness and rejoicing.

Sing praises of God, raise a psalm to his name;

extol him who rides on the clouds.

The LORD is his name, exult before him,

a father to the fatherless, the widow’s defender–

God in his holy dwelling-place.

God gives the friendless a home

and leads the prisoner out in all safety,

but rebels must remain in the scorching desert.

God, when at the head of your people

you marched out through the barren waste,

earth trembled, rain poured from the heavens

before God the Lord of Sinai, before God the God of Israel.

John 16:28-33 (Anchor Bible):


his disciples exclaimed,

at last you are speaking plainly, without figures of speech!  Now we know that you know everything–you do not even need that a person ask you questions.  Because of this we believe that you came forth from God.

Jesus answered them,

So now you believe?  Why, an hour is coming–indeed has already come–for you to be scattered, each on his own, leaving me all alone because the Father is with me.  I have said this to you so that in me you find peace.  In the world you find something, but have courage: I have conquered the world.

The Collect:

O God, by the glorification of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit you have opened for us the gates of your kingdom:  Grant that we, who have received such great gifts , may dedicate ourselves more diligently to your service, and give more fully the riches of our faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


I have conquered the world.

The Johannine Gospel places these words in Jesus’ mouth shortly before his apprehension, torture, and execution.  This seems an unusual statement to make immediately before such an event.  Yet, given the narrative of John’s Gospel, it makes sense.  In that book the glorification of Jesus was his crucifixion and he was in control all along.  This is the fully human and fully divine Jesus with an accent on divinity.

Christianity conquered the Roman Empire, which executed Jesus, who rose from the dead and defeated death.  And no power has been able to extinguish the Christian message.  Many have tried, and none have succeeded.  Legend states that as Julian the Apostate, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor died, he said,

You have conquered, O Galilean.



Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 30

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Forty-Second Day of Easter   9 comments

Above:  A Carthusian Monk at Prayer

Intimacy with God

May 28, 2022


Acts 18:23-28 (Revised English Bible):

After some time there [Antioch] he [Paul] set out again on a journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, bringing new strength to all the disciples.

There arrived at Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, powerful in his use of the scriptures.  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and was full of spiritual fervour; and in his discourses he taught accurately the facts about Jesus, though the only baptism he knew was John’s.  He now began to to speak boldly in the synagogue, where Priscilla and Aquila heard him; they took him in hand and expounded the way to him in greater detail.  Finding that the wanted to go across to Achaia, the congregation gave him their support, and wrote t the disciples there to make him welcome.  From the time of his arrival, he was very helpful to those who had by God’s grace become believers, for he strenuously confuted the Jews, demonstrating publicly from the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Psalm 93 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD has become King,

clothed with majesty;

the LORD is robed, girded with might.

The earth is established immovably;

your throne is established from of old.

from all eternity you are God.

LORD, the great deep lifts up,

the deep lifts up its voice;

the deep lifts up its crashing waves.

Mightier than the sound of great waters,

mightier than the breakers of the sea,

mighty on high is the LORD.

Your decrees stand firm,

and holiness befits your house,

LORD, throughout the ages.

John 16:23b-28 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

Truly I assure you, if you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name.  Until now you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.  I have said this to you about the Father in plain words.  On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I shall have to petition the Father for you.  For the Father loves you Himself because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from God.  [I came forth from the Father] and I have come into the world.  Now I am leaving the world and I am going back to the Father.

The Collect:

O loving Father, grant that your Church, being gathered by your Holy Spirit, may be dedicated more fully to your service, and live united in love, according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


The reading from John speaks of intimacy with God via Jesus.  Implicit in this understanding is that one will make only proper petitions of God since one has pious priorities, so God will respond favorably to these requests.  The deepest and most meaningful aspect of this gospel lection, though, is spiritual intimacy with God, who although other and beyond metaphor, has drawn near to human beings.  We can relate to God and have a partial understanding of God because God has made this possible.  And we have the historical example of God incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Through Jesus we have direct access to God.  So no mediators are necessary, which is not to say that they do not exist.  We humans ask those whom we can see to pray for us.  Growing up United Methodist, I thought nothing of doing this yet objected to asking saints, members of the Church Triumphant, to pray for me.  Yet there is no difference between asking a person on Earth to pray for me and requesting a saint in Heaven to intercede on my behalf.  And I have done both.

Intimacy with God and an offshoot, understanding the essentials of faith, deepen with time.  This day’s reading from Acts introduces us to Apollos, an early Christian evangelist.  At this point in the story he had a partial understanding of baptism.  Yet Priscilla and Aquila informed him of what he did not yet know.  One lesson I draw from this is that we humans need to support each other in our journeys in faith, encouraging one another in kindness and love of God, not beating each other about the proverbial head and neck with doctrine.


Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 28

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Forty-First Day of Easter   10 comments

A Street in Ancient Corinth

On Sadness and Disappointment

May 27, 2022


Acts 18:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

After this he [Paul] left Athens and went to Corinth.  There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, and his wife Priscilla; they had recently arrived from Italy because Claudius had issued an edict that all Jews should leave Rome.  Paul approached them and, because he was of the same trade, he made his home with them; they were tentmakers and Paul worked with them.  He also held discussions in the synagogue sabbath by sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Gentiles.

Then Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, and Paul devoted himself entirely to preaching, maintaining before the Jews that the Messiah is Jesus.  When, however, they opposed him and resorted to abuse, he shook out the folds of his cloak and declared,

Your blood be on your own heads!  My conscience is clear!  From now on I shall go to the Gentiles.

With that he left, and went to the house of a worshipper of God named Titius Justus, who lived next door to the synagogue.  Crispus, the president of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, as did all his household; and a number of Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

Psalm 98:1-3 (Revised English Bible):

Sing a new song to the LORD,

for he has done marvellous deeds;

for his right hand and his holy arm have won him victory.

The LORD has made his victory known;

he has displayed his saving righteousness to all the nations.

He has remembered his love for Jacob,

his faithfulness towards the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

the victory of our God.

John 16:20-23a (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus said,]

Truly, I assure you, you will weep and go into mourning while the world will rejoice; you will be sad but your sadness will be turned into joy.  When a woman is in labor, she is sad that her hour has come.  But once the baby is born, her joy makes her forget the suffering, because a child has been born into the world! So it is with you too–you are sad now; but I shall see you again, and your hearts will rejoice with a joy that no one can take from you.  And on that day you will have no more questions to put to me.

The Collect:

O loving Father, grant that your Church, being gathered by your Holy Spirit, may be dedicated more fully to your service, and live united in love, according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


Sadness and disappointment are unavoidable parts of life.  We all unfulfilled dreams.  People have disappointed us gravely, and sometimes we have failed ourselves.  At other times those we considered “our kind of people” have rejected us.

Consider the cases of Jesus and Paul.  Jesus was a few hours away from his excruciating death at the hands of the Roman Empire and aided and abetted by Jewish religious authorities.  This was quite an emotional burden to carry.  Yet he knew that what they did was not the end.  A resurrection followed.  And Paul, a Jew, faced violent rejection by some of his fellow Jews, but found Gentiles generally more receptive.  The grief and disappointment were difficult to take, but they were not the end.

As a Christian I depend primarily upon Jesus, without whom there would be no Christianity.  And as a Gentile I stand on the shoulders of Paul, a transformational figure in the faith.  They won.  Is that not reason to rejoice?


Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 27

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Thirty-Ninth Day of Easter   6 comments

Above:  Areopagus, Athens, Greece

Image Source = ajbear AKA KiltBear

Glorifying God

May 25, 2022


Acts 17:15, 22-18:1 (Revised English Bible):

He [Paul] argued in the synagogue with the Jews and gentile worshippers, and also in the city square [at Athens] every day with casual passers-by.

Paul stood up before the Council of the Areopagus and began:

Men of Athens, I see that in everything that concerns religion you are uncommonly scrupulous.  As I was going round looking at the objects of your worship, I noticed among other things an altar bearing the inscription ‘To an Unknown God.’  What you worship but do not know–this is what I now proclaim.

The God who created the world and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands.  It is not because hie lacks anything that he accepts service at our hands, for he is himself the universal giver of life and breath–indeed of everything.  He created from one stock every nation of men to inhabit the whole earth’s surface.  He determined their eras in history and the limits of their territory.  They were to seek God in the hope that, groping after him, they might find him; though indeed he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move, in him we exist; as some of your own poets have said, ‘We are also his offspring.’  Being God’s offspring, then, we ought not to suppose that the deity is like an image in gold or silver or stone, shaped by human craftsmanship and design.  God has overlooked the age of ignorance; but now he commands men and women everywhere to repent, because he has fixed the day on which he will have the world judged, and justly judged, by a man whom he has designated; of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

When they heard about the raising of the dead, some scoffed; others said,

We will hear you on this subject some other time.

So Paul left the assembly.  Some men joined him and became believers, including Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus; and also a woman named Damaris, with others besides.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14 (Revised English Bible):

Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels;

praise him, all his hosts.

Let kings and all commoners,

princes and rulers over the whole earth,

youths and girls,

old and young together,

let them praise the name of the LORD,

for his name is high above all others,

and his majesty above earth and heaven.

He has exalted his people in the pride of power

and crowned with praise his loyal servants,

Israel, a people close to him.

Praise the LORD.

John 16:12-15 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.  When he comes, however, being the Spirit of Truth, he will guide you along the way to all truth.  For he will not speak on his own, but will speak only what he hears and will declare to you the things to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will declare to you.  Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said: ‘It is from me that he receives what he will declare to you.’

The Collect:

Lord God Almighty, for no merit on our part you have brought us out of death into life, out of sorrow into joy:  Put no end to your gifts, fulfill your marvelous acts in us, and grant us who have been justified by faith the strength to persevere in that faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


Often, when asked why are Christians, people say that they want to go to Heaven and not to Hell.  Heaven is preferable to Hell, but if this is principally why one identifies as a Christian one’s religion is mostly or entirely self-serving.  Embedded in the Incarnation is the premise that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve.  The crucifixion is most emblematic and indicative of this service.  And Paul did not understand his Christianity as self-serving, for he suffered greatly because of his faith and actions which flowed from it.

Also, by serving and glorifying God we are supposed to draw people to God and encourage those already united with God in faith.  Thus gifts of the Holy Spirit have a communal purpose; they build up the faith community, not the individual.

The Westminster Catechisms (Larger and Shorter) state that man’s chief and highest end is “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”  This is the most concise statement on that subject.  Enjoyment of God can take many forms, but indicates (regardless of its form) a spiritual state.  This can come only from God, who draws us more closely into the divine presence and transforms us.  St. Augustine of Hippo said, “Love God and do as you please.”  Certainly, if we love God as St. Augustine understood that thought, we will take delight only in what pleases God, so we will be able to follow our delights without fear of them leading us astray.  Now all we have to do is reach that pinnacle, by grace, of course.


Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

Thirty-Eighth Day of Easter   13 comments

Above:  Yosemite Morning

From Worse to Better

May 24, 2022


Acts 16:16-34 (Revised English Bible):

Once, on our way to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination and brought large profits to her owners by telling fortunes.  She followed Paul and the rest of us shouting,

These men are servants of the Most High God, and are declaring to you a way of salvation.

She did this day after day, until, in exasperation, Paul rounded on the spirit.

I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,

he said, and it came out instantly.

When the girl’s owners saw that their hope of profit had one, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the city authorities in the main square; bringing them before the magistrates, they alleged,

These men are causing a disturbance in our city; they are Jews, and they are advocating practices which it is illegal for us Romans to adopt and follow.

The mob joined in the attack; and the magistrates had the prisoners stripped and gave orders for them to be flogged.  After a severe beating they were flung into prison and the jailer was ordered to keep them under close guard.  In view of these orders, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas, at their prayers, were singing praises to God, and the other prisoners were listening, when suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken; the doors burst open and all the prisoners found their fetters unfastened.  The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open and, assuming that the prisoners had escaped, drew his sword intending to kill himself.  But Paul shouted,

Do yourself no harm; we are all here.

The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and threw himself down before Paul and Silas, trembling with fear. He then escorted them out and said,

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

They answered,

Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,

and they imparted the word of the Lord to him and everyone in his house.  At that late hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds, and there and then he and his whole family were baptized.  He brought them up into his house, set out a meal, and rejoiced with his whole household in his new-found faith in God.

Psalm 138 (Revised English Bible):

I shall give praise to you, LORD, with my whole heart;

in the presence of the gods I shall sing psalms to you.

I shall bow down towards your holy temple;

for your love and faithfulness I shall praise your name,

for you have exalted your promise above the heavens.

When I called, you answered me

and made me bold and strong.

Let all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,

when they hear the words you have spoken;

let them sing of the LORD’s ways,

for great is the glory of the LORD.

The LORD is exalted, yet he cares for the lowly

and from afar he takes note of the proud.

Though I am compassed about by trouble,

you preserve my life,

putting forth your power against the rage of my enemies,

and with your right hand you save me.

The LORD will accomplish his purpose for me.

Your love endures for ever, LORD;

do not abandon what you have made.

John 16:4b-11 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

At the beginning I did not tell you this because I was with you; but now I am going to Him who sent me.  Yet not one of you asks, me ‘Where are you going?’  Just because I have said this to you, your hearts are full of sadness.  Still I am telling you the truth:  it is for your own good that I go away.  For if I do not go away, the Paraclete can never come to you; whereas, if I do go, I shall send him to you.  And when he does come, he will prove the world wrong about sin, about justice, and about judgment.  first, about sin–in that they refuse to believe in me.  Then, about justice–in that I am going to the Father and you can see me no longer.  Finally, about judgment–in that the Prince of this world has been condemned….

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given your Church the great joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Give us also the greater joy of the kingdom of your elect, when the flock of your Son will share in the final victory of its Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


The situation looked grim.  Authorities were about to apprehend Jesus, torture him, and put him to death.  Yet, in the context in the Johannine Gospel, Jesus comforted this apostles and foretold his victory, his departure,  and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  (FYI:  The Fortieth Day of Easter is the Ascension and the Fiftieth Day is Pentecost, hence the positioning of this reading at this point in the Episcopal Easter lectionary.)

The situation looked grim.  Paul, empowered by the same Holy Spirit, had committed a good deed, delivering a young woman from economic exploitation.  In retribution her owners had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, and imprisoned on false charges.  As bad as this situation was, it set up the opportunity for Paul and Silas to save the life of their jailer and to bring him and his family to Christ.  Imagine the fear the jailer, a low-level government employee, must have felt.  It was sufficient for him to prefer suicide to the alternative.  Yet, at that moment, he found new life.

I have experienced very dark times in my life.  More than once I have preferred death to life, although I was too afraid to attempt suicide.  More than once I have cursed a day on which I woke up because I feared what life might hold for me.  That was true in 2007; I write this in 2010.  Out of those dark times came great blessings.  Although I take no joy in those events from my life in 2007 I rejoice in the blessings which have flowed from them.

Human life consists in part of peaks and valleys, deserts and rich fields, light and darkness.  It is easy during happy times to ignore God and rely on oneself, but more difficult to do during hard times.  When we exit the valley we need to carry with us the knowledge of dependence on God, of which God has reminded us.


Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 24

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