Reading: John 14:15-17
Verse 16: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.”
Turning to our gospel lesson for this week, Jesus offers the disciples some needed reassurance and a promise. Coming out of a difficult to understand conversation about Jesus being the only way to the Father, he offers the words that we read today. He begins with this: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” The most recent command is this: “Love one another. As I have loved you…” Living out their faith and into this relationship with God – both are first grounded in love. From a place of complete and steadfast love will come obedience. In human terms, we ground our wedding vows in this kind of love.
Jesus has been addressing the fact that soon he will die. The disciples will soon find themselves without the physical Christ. In today’s teaching Jesus offers these words: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.” Jesus himself will initiate this new relationship or connection with God. Through Jesus’ request God will send the spiritual Christ to be with the disciples. The Holy Spirit will be with them forever. There is both an assurance and a promise here. Yet, as in all relationships, we have a role to play. We must receive the Spirit into our lives. We must respond to the offer, to the invitation, to the “knock” on our hearts.
Jesus states that those who are of the world “neither sees him or knows him.” For those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and for those of us who do and yet choose to live in sin, the Holy Spirit is disconnected. When there is separation in our relationship with God, then we too are of the world. Even then God reaches out, calling us back into right relationship. Through God’s complete and steadfast love our brokenness is again transformed and we can walk and live once more as a child of God. Our God’s love redeems and restores us over and over, allowing the Holy Spirit to “live with you” and to “be in you.” Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, your love and presence are offered without limit, without condition. You are the perfect giver of these good and gracious gifts. Lead us to receive them, to be filled with them, and to be people who pour them out into one another’s lives. Amen.