The ministry of the Holy Spirit is all about King Jesus the Messiah. In the Upper Room on the night before he was crucified, Jesus described three things that the Spirit would do in and through the disciples when he came upon them. We will look at these over the next few days. First, there is this:
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:8-11)When the Spirit came on them, he would show that the world had been wrong about Jesus of Nazareth. One of the points of the Gospel According to John was to draw the distinction between those who received the Lord Jesus and those who rejected him, but especially that John’s readers might be among those who received.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:11-12)Bringing out the truth of these things would not simply be the work of the disciples but that of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples. In one of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to the disciples, he said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22). Imparting the Holy Spirit to them was very much part of sending them out to testify about King Jesus.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:18)
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)
When the Holy Spirit came, Jesus said, he would prove the world to be in the wrong about three things: sin and righteousness and judgment.
- About sin, because they did not believe on Jesus the Messiah. Yet he is the one who came to deal with the problem of sin and destroy its power. The unbelieving world crucified him, yet it was at the cross that Jesus broke the power of sin — for the sake of the world.
- About righteousness, because Jesus has ascended to his throne at the right hand of the Father. His kingdom establishes the righteousness and justice of God in the world, and will continue to do so until it is complete. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet,” so that in the end, God will be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 28).
- About judgment, because the “prince of this world” has now been condemned. This was a reference to satan. The cross was not God’s judgment upon Christ but Christ’s judgment upon satan and all his works. Earlier that week, when Jesus came into Jerusalem for the final time, he said, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:30-31). The power of the devil was broken at the cross, and the principalities and powers of this world were disarmed.