Lent – Day 15: Friday, 5 March
15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’
All that Jesus promises is validated on the relationship he has with Father God. He is the Living Word, but he carries out his mission on earth in obedience to Father God. He now tells his disciples that he is soon going back to Father God, but although he’ll no longer be seen he will still be present with them and they will see him, though not visibly. He will ask Father God to send his Holy Spirit to them. He will ask, and Father God will send – that’s a promise.
If struggling to understand how Jesus can be in Father God and vice versa at the same time isn’t hard enough for the disciples (and us), Jesus now turns this concept their way, when he tells them that the Holy Spirit will live with and in them.
Just to make it yet more complex, Jesus tells them that, even though he’s leaving, he will come back to them and will model with them the same relationship Jesus has with Father God.
This is mind-blowing stuff. It is complex, and when you think you understand it you realise that it is so amazing that it really should not be true. But you believe that Jesus speaks the truth, for He is the Truth, and so it must be true.
Jesus is promising the Holy Spirit to his disciples. He describes the Holy Spirit’s coming in verses 15 to 17, and then goes on to repeat what he said, but this time in terms of himself. The Holy Spirit enables them to know Jesus, and knowing Jesus enables them to know God. Everything depends on the agency of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot assume that Jesus is saying these words for the benefit of his disciples only. He is not making a promise exclusively to the disciples. He is talking about all people who will believe in his name – all of us have the same offer.
How would you describe your relationship with Jesus?
How would you describe your relationship with Father God?
Is a relationship with the Holy Spirit possible?
Father God, we are not orphans, for we are adopted into your family as sons and daughters with the status of sonship, and are thus all heirs to your promises, because of Jesus. Enable me by your Holy Spirit to know this truth in my very core. Enable my church fellowship to live in this truth and the hope implicit in that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.