1997-09-04 - Another Helper
The Cross Series, Part 7
John 14:16-20 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 "After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. 20 "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
Jesus here is assuring His friends in a moment of agonizing confusion. They have followed the Master for three years, expecting the Kingdom of God. And piece at a time, Jesus has slowly hammered away at this idea. He has told them bluntly in recent days that He will die. He also specifically explained that He would rise from the dead. Their minds heard the words, but could not comprehend it. In a moment of faith, I could see one of two of them grasping it for that moment, eyes wide with the revelation. But the closer they came to Jerusalem, the harder it must have been. We have this same kind of mountain top and valley experience.
Jesus is still preparing His disciples for the next 12 to 18 hours a head and beyond. But, He also leaves us with wonderful promises. Jesus promised the disciples, and us indirectly, that after He left the Holy Spirit would come and live in the life of a believer. In one place, the Spirit is referred to as the earnest, or down payment. The initial installment with the promise of much more. Jesus also promises that the revelation of His deity would be much more clear. We have the benefit of looking back to what these eleven men had no framework for the concept: Christ and the Father as one, resurrection from the dead, the Kingdom of God not in an earthly revelation.
John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."
Verse 21 is loaded. He (you and me) who has the commandments (to love God and mankind) and keeps the commands. Those who love the Son (obeying the first command) will be loved by the Father (God as the source of love). The love that flows to us from the Father will be the headwaters of our love that flows back to God and to our fellow man. And in this intimate, personal relationship, the desire will be to learn more about this God who loves us so deeply and God will not hold back from us.
John 14:22-26 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered and said 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 abode with him. 24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Judas here is probably still struggling with the Jewish mind set that the Kingdom would come physically at the first coming of Jesus. It is not unlike being taught for a period of time that you can not subtract a larger number from a smaller number. Then one day your teacher shows up with a new concept called negative numbers, and suddenly the old rule no longer applies. Jesus tries to show Judas and any others who might be struggling the contrast. The Lord then gives his friends a place to hang on to for now. He promises that the Holy Spirit will help them to learn this and other ideas that they are struggling with. They do not have to understand completely now, but to trust that in time it will be clearer.
The same holds true for us. When Jesus reaches out to us, do we have to understand the fully concept of sin, substitutional death and new life the resurrection of Jesus holds for us? Somehow, I seriously doubt we understand these things fully today. There is always more. But it is never burdensome or complex. They may appear confusing at times, but it has its' foundation in simple grace, mercy and love, and never departs from there. If you find yourself far afield from these concepts, it is time to make camp and get your bearings. Jesus promised a joy in the journey. He cautioned us that there would be struggles and hard times, but that He would always be with us. The joy comes from learning more about God in the three Persons of the Trinity, God's faithfulness and love, and dependence on Him. And the Holy Spirit teaches us to depend on God in the midst of those struggles, teaches us more about Him and more about that faithfulness and love. The Holy Spirit is the Guide who points us always to Jesus, and Jesus always points us to the Father.
Dear Lord, There are times when we struggle just like we see the disciples struggling here. We don't always understand as much as we would like. Help us to lean on You in love and in dependence. Sometimes it is all we have and yet we try to lean on our own understanding. We learn the most when we abandon ourselves to Your care and mercy. Give us the strength to do so. Give us ears to hear the Spirit as He teaches. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.