Today’s Bible: John 14: 15-27 New revised standard version (NRSV)
15 “If you love me, you will keep it[a] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[b] to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees nor knows him. You know him, because he stays with you, and he will be inside[c] you.
18 “I will not leave you an orphan; I’m coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; for I live, and you will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Those who have my commandments and those who love me keep them; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them. ” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how will you reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and dwell with them. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but is from the Father which sent me.
25 “I told you these things while I was still with you. 26 But a lawyer,[d] The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have told you. 27 I leave you peace; I give you my peace. I do not give you as the world gives. Don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t let them be afraid.
Tim’s pious reflection for today
Classic cartoon in Saturday Evening Post a boy about five or six years old is shown talking on the phone. He says “Mom’s in the hospital, the twins and Roxie and Billie and Sally and the dog and me and Dad are home alone.”
The house was crowded and he felt alone. Why? Because Mom wasn’t there. You know what it’s like, don’t you? One can be in a crowd and feel alone.
After Jesus ’death on the cross, the disciples were together in the Upper Room, but they felt alone. A room full of people – alone. Why? Gone is the one who was their friend, comforter, counselor and teacher, helper, encourager and their strength.
In today’s passage of Scripture we have the words of Jesus preparing His disciples for this lonely time. He shared a meal with them and prepared them for his arrest, mockery of the trial, his death, and his resurrection — a time when Jesus would be present with the disciples again. He said these words to those earliest disciples. But these are also words for us who want to follow Jesus today.
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. He uses the word for “other,” which in Greek means “another of the same kind.” The mystery of the Trinity is mentioned here; three persons in one: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all different, and yet only one God. The Spirit will continue the work that Jesus did with the disciples. The reason they were firm in their faith for three and a half years was because they were with Jesus. As soon as they lost sight of who he was, they began to disintegrate even when he was physically present. He supported, strengthened, counseled and served them. But now it promises others comes who will do the same job.
In Hebrews 13: 5, Jesus makes it clear that the Spirit will always be present: “with you forever. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and with us. The writer of Hebrews (13: 5) puts it this way: “Be content with what you have, for he said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” The strongest negative is in Greek: “I will never leave you or forsake you . I will never, under any circumstances, leave or abandon you. ”
Jesus promised a “representative.” In Greek, the term translated as “representative” is paracletos, and appears six times in the New Testament and only in the writings of John (here and 14:26; 15: 26-27; 16: 7-11, 12-14; 1 John 2: 1). The English version of the word is Paraclete. Jesus promised that God would send us a Paraclete, The Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. We will never be alone. Jesus promises not to leave us orphans. The Paraclete, The Spirit will always be with us. The Paraclete is the very presence of God with us today. The good news of our faith that we affirm today is the good news of the presence of God in our lives.
One of the affirmations of faith that we sometimes utter in worship is called Modern affirmation. Part of it says, “We believe in the Holy Spirit as a divine presence in our lives, constantly remembering the truth about Christ and finding strength and help in times of need.”
There are two hymns about the Holy Spirit that are prayer hymns. I invite you to read these words and make this prayer your own:
Breathe on me, breath of God. Fill me with life anew, that I may love what You love and do what You would do. Soul of the Living God, fall on me again. Melt me, shape me, fill me, use me. Souls of the living God, fall on me again.