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Jesus promises the Holy Spirit
John Chapter 14, verses 15-17
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—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.
Those who believe in Jesus will naturally love him, and that love will show itself. Believers pay careful attention to Jesus’ commands and observe them. If we love Jesus, we will do the things he has told us to do. Our works will be the evidence of our faith and love for Jesus.
Jesus does not leave us alone to do his will, however. He told the disciples that he would ask the Father to give them another Counselor to be with them forever. The Greek word for “Counselor” literally means someone called to a person’s side to help, so “Helper” or “Comforter” are also appropriate translations. The term applies particularly to help in legal matters, so the choice in the NIV is appropriate.
Jesus was the only Helper the disciples needed. But he had told them he was going where they could not yet follow. So he and the Father would give them another Helper, namely, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would always help them as they expressed their love for Jesus. He is the Spirit of truth, just as Jesus is truth. The Spirit reveals the reality of God. He keeps us connected with Jesus. He is God with the Father and the Son.
The unbelieving world cannot receive this Helper because it cannot see him, cannot know him. This world also “did not recognize [the light]” (1:10), who is Jesus, the Word. The disciples knew the Spirit, however, because he was staying with them. Their faith and love for Jesus meant that the Spirit was active in their lives already (Romans 8:9). And Jesus said the Spirit would be in them.
When Jesus said “he lives with you,” his words lead us to think of Jesus’ own presence with the disciples. Jesus was with them, and Jesus’ Spirit was with them. But now that Jesus was to leave their presence, the Spirit, as Jesus said, “will be in you.” The Spirit of Jesus dwells in each believer’s heart. We still have that assurance.
Another way to understand the words “and will be in you” is to think of the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
John Chapter 14, verses 18-21
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus was assuring his disciples they would not be alone. Not only would he give them his Spirit, but he would return to them in his flesh after it seemed he had left for good. The unbelieving world would not see him again, but he would appear to his disciples after the resurrection to assure them he was alive.
Then Jesus spoke a truism: “Because I live, you also will live.” Jesus’ living assures our living. “Before long,” Jesus would go through crucifixion and death. He would suffer for the guilt of our sins. But then he would rise, and sin and death would no longer rule us. So his life now counts for our life, just as his death counted for our death. And by Jesus’ Spirit we believe and live that life now.
All this would become clear to the disciples “on that day”—Pentecost—when the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth (16:13). And the disciples have revealed it to us.
Together with the disciples, then, we know that Jesus is in the Father, we are in Jesus, and Jesus is in us. Not only the Spirit, but the Son himself is in believers, giving them his life.
Once again Jesus stressed the oneness of himself with the Father and, implicitly, with the Holy Spirit. And through Jesus we are united with the triune God.
Again, Jesus emphasized that obedience to his commands and love for him go together. Where you have breath, you have life. Where you have fire, you have heat. Where you have love for Jesus, you have obedience to his commands.
When we love Jesus, we know also that he and the Father love us. Jesus has promised us this and has shown himself to the disciples in his resurrection to cement that love.
As we noted before, here too the reader sees Jesus repeating thoughts. Again and again he reinforced basic truths. For example, he is I AM, and he and the Father are one. As Jesus’ discourse continues, think again of the spirals that wrap us in the truth of his gospel.
John Chapter 14, verses 22-24
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but Thaddaeus [Matthew 10:3]) spoke up. It seemed strange that Jesus would show himself to the disciples but not to the world. Based on their expectations of the Messiah, the world would need to see him. The disciples no doubt still felt Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom.
The answer lay in Jesus’ Word, translated here as “teaching,” a more encompassing term than “commands,” which he used in verse 21. This term is the name of Jesus in chapter 1: “Word” (Logos).
In a sense, then, any one of us who loves Jesus will hold to Jesus, guarding and keeping him in our lives. We will keep Jesus’ Word, through which we know him. We will obey his teaching.
When we love Jesus, the Father shows his merciful, caring love to us. And the Father and the Son dwell at our sides. That’s how the Messiah’s kingdom manifests itself. Where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, he is there with us (Matthew 18:20). In contrast, those who do not love Jesus do not keep his words and, by inference, do not have Jesus or the Father at their sides. Jesus’ showing himself, then, would depend on how the people received his Word.
John Chapter 14, verses 25-27
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus was telling his disciples profound truths. They were puzzled and perplexed. How could they sort this all out? How could they remember everything? Jesus knew their state of mind, but he had to tell them these things in the short time he had with them. He had to prepare them for the unthinkable trial and execution about to happen.
True, they wouldn’t understand everything then. But the Father, in Jesus’ name, would send the Holy Spirit to teach them everything and remind them of all Jesus had said. The sending of the Spirit from God on Pentecost had that special purpose.
On the eve of the most violent day of Jesus’ earthly life and the most heart-wrenching day for his disciples since he called them, Jesus gave them peace.
That was not a contradiction between promise and reality. Jesus’ peace is not the same as the world’s peace.
It doesn’t depend on harmony between countries and tranquility in families. It isn’t as fragile as the next temper flare-up or grab for power. It isn’t disturbed by plans gone awry. Even Jesus’ arrest, trial, torture, and crucifixion couldn’t cancel it.
Jesus’ peace calms troubled hearts and makes fearful hearts confident. His peace transcends human understanding and sustains us in all conditions. His peace keeps us at one with God and serene in our salvation. We need not be afraid or overcome by troubled hearts. We have peace from Jesus. Nothing can disturb that peace as long as we love Jesus.
John Chapter 14, verses 28-31
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Yes,” Jesus said, “I told you I was going away and coming back to you. You should be happy I’m going.” The disciples should be happy because Jesus was going to the Father. Jesus was going to fulfill the will of the Father for the world’s salvation. Then he could return to the Father, from whom he came. That is good news for all who love Jesus.
Jesus had previously said that he and the Father were one (10:30). But here he said the Father was greater than he. The words do not contradict each other because Jesus is both God and man. In his divinity, as the Word, who was with the Father in the beginning, Jesus is God, equal with the Father. In his humanity, sent by the Father, having humbled himself (Philippians 2:5-8), Jesus could rightly say, “The Father is greater than I.” Jesus’ path back to the fullness of his divine glory was through the cross.
Jesus told the disciples all this so that when they saw what was about to happen, they might believe. The devil, who is ruler of the unbelieving world, already had events in motion to do away with Jesus. Not that the devil had any power over Jesus, but Jesus was headed for the devil’s trap out of love and obedience to the Father. Yet one more time, Jesus demonstrated that he went to the cross willingly and purposefully to complete the Father’s plan.
John Chapter 14, verse 31 continued
“Come now; let us leave.
Jesus told his disciples to prepare to leave. Meanwhile, he kept on talking and left with them only after he finished his subsequent prayer (18:1).