The Promise of the Holy Spirit
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This 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.
‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They 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.’
The disciples are scared – Jesus has told them that he will soon be leaving them, and probably in a rather violent way that will involve being betrayed by a close friend. They are not just scared for Jesus but also for themselves as they face an uncertain future. But Jesus offers them reassurance; he says, “I will not leave you orphaned”. In fact, he promises to ask the Father to give “another Advocate” – meaning the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is offering an amazing, mind-blowing gift. The use of the word ‘another’ here suggests that this advocate (or helper/counsellor/adviser/encourager could also be translations from the original Greek Paraclete) will take the place of Jesus’ role in the life of the disciples. But the Holy Spirit won’t just be walking alongside them – it will be living in them. So this is great news – we, the believers, can be included in the intimate relationship that exists between Father, Son and Spirit and, because Jesus lives in us through the Holy Spirit, his work is no longer restricted to his locale but is wherever we are too …
This gift comes with a condition though. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In the Gospel of John the only mention of Jesus commands are the commands to love others as he loved us (John 13:34-35 and 15:12-13). If we are to accept this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, then we need to be as Jesus to the world – a lofty aspiration and one that might, perhaps, drive us back to singing “Be Bold, Be Strong”.
Blessings as we pray that we might truly realize that the Holy Spirit lives within us and that we do not need to be afraid. Be safe! Be well! He is Risen indeed!
- What techniques do you use, or could you use, to feel closer to God when going through difficulties, challenges or scary times?
- How have you loved, or how could you love, today? How have others shown love to you?