‘Six foot six he stood on the ground,
He weighed two hundred and thirty-five pounds,
But I saw that giant of a man brought down,
To his knees by love.
He was the kind of man that would gamble on luck,
Look you in the eye and never back up,
But I saw him crying like a little whipped pup,
Because of love.’ (Johnny Cash)
Love is often portrayed as a powerful force that is impossible to withstand; Jesus however, calls us to choose love.
The Bible sees love as a choice. That’s why Paul can instruct husbands to love their wives and believers to follow the way of love. Jesus’ instruction to obey his commands, which occurs twice in a few verses, is given in the context of him washing their feet and telling them to do likewise (13:14-15) and his command for believers to love one another. He teaching certainly called believers to seek to live righteously but not in a Pharisaic way. He calls us to be humble and love one another.
Yesterday we thought about Jesus’ statement; “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” In today’s reading we learn something of the third person of the trinity; the Holy Spirit. It’s a subject that figures largely in John’s account of Jesus’ teaching on that final night. From this section we learn;
- He is a person (14:17). The Holy Spirit is always described as ‘he’ or ‘him’ and never as an ‘it’. Elsewhere we read that he can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). Jesus didn’t promise an infusion of extra strength, he promised a relationship with a person.
- He is a Counsellor (14:16). The Greek word is ‘parakletos’ and it means literally; ‘a person summoned to one’s aid’ (Zondervan NIV Commentary). He is present in the life of the believer as Jesus was to the disciples during his time on earth.
- He lives in you (14:17). We saw a few weeks ago Martha’s disappointment that Jesus was not in Bethany when Lazarus was dying (11:21). Jesus was fully human and so could only be in one place at a time. The Holy Spirit is always present for the believer.
- He will teach you (14:26). Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach and remind believers of his words. Without the Holy Spirit the Bible makes no sense. We need him to help us take in what God is saying from his word.
Even with all he is about to face, Jesus has a message of hope for the disciples; “I am coming back to you”. He could be talking about the resurrection or the second coming but for me, he seems to be pointing to his resurrection. Jesus was obviously deeply troubled by all he was about to face (12:27, 13:21) but these are not the words of a man facing an imminent defeat; there was victory in the air that night. The decisive blow was about to be struck and sin and death forever defeated.
‘I believe in God our Father,
I believe in Christ the Son,
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
Our God is three in one.
I believe in the resurrection,
That we will rise again,
For I believe in the name of Jesus.’ (Ben Fielding, Matt Crocker)