Who hasn’t experience sorrow and grief over the loss of a loved one? Sorrow filled the hearts of Jesus’ disciples when they heard him speak about his imminent departure. Jesus explained that it was for their sake that he must leave them and return to his Father. He promised, however, that they would never be left alone. He will send in his place the best of friends, the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells his disciples three very important things about the work of the Holy Spirit — to convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. The original word for convince also means convict. The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier. He makes us holy as God is holy. He does this first by convicting us of our sin and by bringing us humbly to the foot of the Cross. The Spirit convinces us of God’s love and forgiveness and of our utter dependence on God for his mercy and grace. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us from the error of our sinful ways and to show us the way of love and truth. The Jews who condemned Jesus as a heretic and blasphemer thought they were serving God rather than sinning when they crucified Jesus. When the gospel was later preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37), many were pricked in their heart and convicted of their sin. What made them change their mind about Jesus? It is the work of the Holy Spirit to both convict us of wrongdoing and to convince us of God’s truth. The Spirit convinces us of the righteousness of Christ, backed by the fact that Jesus rose again and went to his Father. The Holy Spirit also convicts us of judgment. The Spirit gives us the inner and unshakable conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. God’s judgments are just and good. When we heed his judgments we find true peace, joy and reconciliation with God. Do you allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your life that he may set you free from the grip of sin and set you ablaze with the fire of God’s love?
Reflection written by Don Schwager of www.rc.net