The Comforter - John 14:15-24

If the life of sacrificial love and service we’ve been talking about so far in this series seems overwhelming, imagine what it must have felt like for the disciples. On top of Jesus throwing their expectations on end by calling them to a life of love instead of revolution, he then went on to inform them that he would soon leave them.

This reminds me of my college days when I would have all the other members of my group project bail on me, dumping all the work in my lap to deal with on my own. Unfair! But, Jesus isn’t a lazy college student who doesn’t care about his classmates' wellbeing. Quite the opposite. He cared deeply for his disciples and had not intention of leaving them alone. The same is true of his attitude toward us.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” ¬– John 14:15-17

To those who love him and follow him, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit as a “helper.” Translators have struggled to pin down quite the best way to express this word in English: helper, advocate, comforter. All are close, but comforter is probably the best because the Greek word here has the connotation of friendship: a friend who stays with you and walks with you. And while Jesus’ time on earth was brief and localized, the Holy Spirit’s presence in those who believe is eternal and universal (meaning: he’s in all believers all the time).

I love the language in the verses that follow. Here’s a selection:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you… He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him… If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” – selections from John 14:18-23

What strikes me about these verses is how trinitarian they are. They speak of the relationship, unity, and interplay between Father, Son, and Spirit. Even more remarkable that is that those who believe are now shown to be swept up into that divine relationship. It seems almost blasphemous to say! But this is what our eternal, holy God longs for: intimacy with us.

This is the comfort Jesus offers. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us is our link to our incredible triune God. So, as we seek to model our lives after Christ, putting his commands into action, living out Christ-like lives in a fallen world, we don’t go it alone. We have each other (as Jesus pointed out in a previous section), but more importantly we have God in us. It’s the Spirit that enables us to obey. It’s the Spirit that enables us to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and bind up the poor and broken. It’s the Spirit, alive in us, that gives us God’s heart of sacrificial love for the marginalized, the lost, and even our enemies.

Father, I pray that you would pour out your Spirit on us anew, that we would receive power to live as you’ve called us to live and that your heart for the lost people would beat within us. Amen.

Missions Spotlight:
First Choice Women's Resource Centers

A big THANK YOU to a number of women from the Grace Elijah Bible study who volunteered to help with assembling over 800 Spring Newsletters to be mailed for First Choice!
Please pray for First Choice as they seek to hire a Full Time Director and Part Time Registered Nurse for their new center in New Brunswick!
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