Jesus is continuing his farewells to the remaining Disciples before his impending betrayal by Judas and subsequent arrest and execution.
In today’s passage (John 14: 15-21) Jesus is comforting, encouraging and reassuring his friends. He gives them a new hope for their future life without him in what he promises.
And this involves a journey; the journey of a Believer. Last week we read, “I am the way and the truth and the life”. (14:6)
It is a journey inspired by trust, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”. (14:1)
It is also a journey inspired by love. In the new commandment he had given earlier. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”. (13:35,35)
So important is this call to love, that here he reinforces it saying, “If you love me, you will obey what I command”. (14:15)
At its most basic, loving Jesus, means listening to his Word and putting it into action. To ‘obey’, in this context, is to love like him.
And, just as he helped the Disciples when he was living with them, so he promises to continue helping them once he has left this world.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth”. (14:16,17)
This is the Holy Spirit. This will be their Helper who will strengthen, support and guide them in their life and their work.
These people will not be on their own in the midst of a troubled world. And neither are we, because that same promise Jesus made to his Disciples, he makes to all Disciples since, and to all Disciples to come. It is to us today.
“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you”, (14:18). He comes to us in the promise of his Spirit.
The Spirit, is God’s ongoing gift to His people; that’s what enables Believers to follow and obey Christ’s commands. To love like him.
Love demands care and consideration of others and their feelings. It means tolerance, sensitivity and understanding in our dealings with each other. It calls for a willingness to give of ourselves and a willingness to serve.
Love is God’s gift of himself to us and our response is to love him in return.
Knowing the challenges and persecution that the emerging church experienced, we can only imagine how valuable Jesus’s words of assurance would have been to his disciples. For them it would make the impossible, seem possible.
The church today, we personally today, are also going through uncertain and challenging times; perhaps wondering what the future holds, even what the future will look like?
In answer to these difficulties and concerns I read that someone said, “When life caves in, you do not need reasons – you need comfort. You do not need some answers – you need some-one. Jesus is the One.
He comes to us with His presence. He promises His followers, “On that day you will realise that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you.” (14:20)
The Holy Spirit is the presence of Christ living within us. That’s how close He is to us. We cannot ask for anything better. He becomes part of us.
Supported, strengthened and encouraged by the promise of the Holy Spirit, Christ with us, we are empowered to show the love of God in all we do.
So let us give thanks for Christ’s promise and his loving presence with us.
Then let us put his love into action in our daily living in all we do and say; in the way we treat others and in the way we speak with each other.
Let us embrace Christ’s command to love as he loves us; all the time supported, strengthened and encouraged with His presence.
Let us pray.
Eternal God, Lord of life and Creator of all that is, in you we live and move and have our being. As you have watched over us in the past, you also watch over us in the present.
In Jesus you offer life to the world and love to its people; and for that we give thanks. May we be alive with His risen life, refreshed and revived,
As your Son promised his friends the gift of the Spirit to help, support and encourage them, so let us be open to ways that brings help, support and encouragement to those who feel alone, vulnerable, and are anxious of what in life lies ahead.
In all our dealings with each other, may our words and our living reflect the welcome of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit whose heart excludes no-one but whose love is for all, always.
Amen, and God bless each and every one of us.