Posted on Sun, May 25, 2014
May 25, 2014 Sixth Sunday in Easter
John 14:15–21 – “Spirit of Truth”
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
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 forever. 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. 18 ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’
It’s graduation time! It’s CRAZY Change time!
May is a time to celebrate change, but change is never easy. It can be amazing with all the potential of the unknown and the opportunities that may lie at our feet, but it can also be a time that is difficult and very lonely for everyone.
From chapter 13 of John after the Passover meal in the upper room to the end of chapter 17, FOUR FULL CHAPTERS, Jesus is acting like the protective mother thinking about the days when his beloved disciples will be ‘on their own’ and Jesus will no longer be with them in his physical form to comfort, guide and teach them. Four chapters of metaphors, parables and promises that they will not be left ‘comfortless’ as the King James put it; that they will not be orphaned (according to the NRSV), ever.
Jesus knows the disciples have left everything in order to follow Him, he has taught them through word and deed as best he can, but there is no way they will be able to comprehend what they will witness when Jesus is arrested, humiliated, and nailed to the cross. Jesus can already feel their confusion in their hearts and I am sure this is disconcerting to Jesus to feel their pain and bewilderment. But they will never know what He is ultimately trying to accomplish until after he has given his life, buried, risen from the grave, and then Jesus has sent to them the Holy Spirit, The Comforter, The Advocate, otherwise known as ‘The Paraclete.’ They will have to experience life ‘on their own’ for just a little while, until he sends the Holy Spirit.
Jesus loved those disciples, and he knew their abilities and their shortcomings. He knew that Peter would run when he would be confronted with the accusation of being a ‘follower of that rabbi from Nazareth.’ He knew that Thomas would not be convinced of Jesus’ resurrection until after he put his hands into Jesus’ side and saw Jesus’ wounded hands and feet. He knew the burden his beloved disciple John would feel when John would be charged to take care of Jesus’ mother Mary, by Jesus himself WHILE he was hanging on the cross. He felt not only the pain and confusion in their hearts now, he could feel the pain, doubt and confusion they would have in the very near future and especially when they would be called out to preach, teach and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit! Jesus knew and knows everything in our hearts… and therefore, he sends to us the Great Advocate, the Great Comforter.
The text is amazingly clear on teaching the Trinity. God is one, but is seen in three persons, there is God of the Old Testament, there is God seen in Jesus of the Gospels who is the fulfillment of all that is promised by God and the prophets all through those stories of the Old Testament, and God the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus to give the People of God the power to be the Body of Christ doing the work of Christ, preaching, teaching, healing and working for justice and joy!
Jesus says, “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 forever.”
This is just a statement of fact; When we know that we are loved by God through Christ, and we respond in thanksgiving in prayer and song, this is essentially ‘worship.’ When we love Christ for what Christ has done for us, and this realization really hits our hearts, serving and acting out of love becomes easy. And every act of compassion and mercy become spiritual experiences that open up more and deeper expressions of our faith.
And then Jesus truly reveals the reality of the Trinity, when he says, ”16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” Jesus is speaking about God the Father sending to us The Holy Spirit who will give us power, direction and an identity… but why does he do this for the disciples and us?
He knows that we are just children in God’s eyes. He is looking at you and me speaking to us as directly just as he did when he spoke to his beloved disciple John. He knows the hard work the church will be called upon to do in the future. He knows the miracles that will need to be performed; the amount of compassion that will be demanded of the church with sometimes very little resources. He will know the hardships that his children will go through when businesses don’t work as planned, whwn relationships that don’t work out as planned, when sickness and death come at the very worst of times, when political leaders use their power and influence to enrich themselves rather than work for the benefit of all citizens, when people are simply ignored and left behind. He knows people will be hated or vilified because of the color of their skin, background history, sexual orientation or whatever justification people will choose just to divide and conquer people. He knows the loneliness each and every one of us will encounter; therefore he sends us the ultimate Comforter, Advocate and Truth.
Jesus could see the hardships of each and every disciple, beginning with his beloved 12 and even into the future where Jesus was speaking to you! “I will not leave you orphaned or without someone to comfort you. I may not be visible to your eyes, but I will be coming to you as your Eternal Advocate. As God is in me, I will be in you”
The Command is to love, SO THAT, we can be in touch with the Love that Is Christ within us! And when we love and care for one another, “I will be revealed,” Jesus says! Therefore, as the world is in desperate need for comfort, compassion and understanding we are not encouraged to love, but commanded to love SO THAT the world will see God who is living in you, be made known to the world. For the Christian, Jesus’ commandment to love is not a guideline, to love is a command; it is something we are ‘commissioned’ to do so that the love and compassion of God becomes who we are in our words and deeds. We are commanded to love and forgive so that we will know the Christ that it abiding with us forever. Amen.
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