The public ministry of Jesus starts to wind down by John 14, the text for yesterday’s sermon. He is now in a lengthy discourse with his disciples. Here we see Jesus saying goodbye. The goodbye covers nearly 5 chapters! Some have said this is proof that Jesus was Norwegian, since the goodbye takes so long. In no other Gospel is so much made of the absence of Jesus. Listen to the heartfelt honesty in Jesus’ words. Yes, Jesus will be risen, and will return. However, when he returns, he said, it will not be in a way they are used to.
The disciples are frightened! Who will watch over them? Who will give them direction? Thus John 14 gives them (us) a promise of a very specific, utterly essential gift…the Companion, the Holy Spirit, will come and teach everything necessary. The disciples of Jesus will be reminded of all that Jesus said.
All this says to me that Jesus doesn’t expect us to know everything or remember everything. We need some external help! That help is the Holy Spirit. I’ll be the first to admit that Jesus commands us to venture forth with courageous, countercultural, demanding lives. But the point is this…he does not expect us to do the demanding tasks and live the godly life by ourselves. Christ gives us what we need to be, in order to accomplish what he calls us to do. Little in the Christian faith is self-derived. None of it can be completed all on our own.
We’ll hear more about the Holy Spirit in a few weeks when Pentecost begins. For now, just know this…we aren’t abandoned and we will be instructed by Jesus. Peace he gives us. Amen! Sing when the Spirit says sing, I say. Pastor Gary