The Promise of the Holy Spirit!
If you love the Lord, then you will trust and obey Him, because real love is evidenced by gratitude and obedience, and because there is no other way! You will follow His precepts and commands with full faith and due diligence. In so doing, God will provide you with the ultimate Counselor, the very Holy Spirit of God and His Truth, living and working in you! He will never leave or forsake you! This is a necessity for life because the world does not know God or His ways and He must be displayed in you for others to see as He was presented by Christ for all to see. People will not even look for real truth or the real God, so they must see Him and His love in you. Jesus then said, I am going away soon, and the world will not have me, but it will have you. I will live again and be in and with you when I am raised again, and then you will know. So you must trust and obey, for this is what shows me and reveals to others that you know Me, and I will use you to tell others about me. The other Judas had a hard time with this wondering why does he not just reveal Himself for all to see, and leave out the middle man? Jesus responded, if you just love me and do as I say, you show Me to others. Then My Father will love them and come to them. But if you do not love Me, neither you nor they will know the Father. You will also have the Holy Spirit to council, equip, empower, and advocate for you, even going before you and keeping you informed. I am leaving; but in Him, the Spirit will give you peace so there is no need to be afraid or stress. But also beware the prince of this world, Satan is around and about, but in Me he has no power over me or you; so get going!
Contexts and Background
This passage continues Jesus' great "Farewell Discourse" where He gives His most passionate and important instructions about love and the Holy Spirit. As the betrayers of Jesus encircle Him, what does He do? Jesus encourages and comforts His followers and continues His mission. He then turns to the all important and encompassing reason why He is here. The most hideous torture ever conceived to produce the greatest amount of pain awaits Him, and He was experiencing betrayal all the time. He was going through the most heinous emotional pain a person could experience all at once in this passage. Yet, He turns His attention to us and encourages us to keep going and not to fret, and gives us examples and characterizations of love. So this begs the question how do I obey? How do I love? why do I stress? Why do we fuss?
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings
· If you love me. The proof of Love is not what we say about it; it is how we live it out, with faith, love, and because we are all linked and interconnected. Living obedience and gratitude must pour from the true believer for love to be displayed so to outlive and out love the world to show the world the sacrificial love of our Lord. Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus! Love confirms the authenticity of Jesus' followers (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:31-35; 15:12-13, 17; 1 Cor. 13:3; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thess. 1:3; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)!
· Obey / keep. Meaning a call to have respect for authority and follow through with reverence and compliance. Obedience is the real test and verification of genuine love! As a leader, you are to model this so to care for and keep careful watch over the people as a shepherd, because God will hold us to account (Isa. 21:8; Jer. 23:4; Ezek. 3:17; 33:6; 35:7; Hab. 2:1; Acts 20:28; Col. 3:18-4:1; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 3:1-6; 5:2-4; 3 John 9-10).
· Counselor / Helper / Advocate / Paraclete. Meaning a legal representative who helps by coming alongside, who consoles or comforts, strengthens or advocates. It refers to the Holy Spirit who comes alongside us as our comforter which is the role model for our actions too. The Holy Spirit is also the "successor" of Christ walking the earth, but not a replacement. He helps to carry on the work of our Lord in and through us. For a Jew, this meant being inspired or filled with the Spirit for God's mission like the Prophets of old. But here, in context, it is much more; the Holy Spirit is also our Advocate who defends us, like in a heavenly court, where Satan is the prosecutor, God is the merciful Judge, and Christ pays our penalty. He illuminates our minds, prompts our prayers, shows us the opportunities, and inspires our messages as we connect Christ to others in our encounters. In context, this is also a concrete description for the Trinity because the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, each exhibited here are equal, distinct, and are active as One God in the work of our redemption (Gen. 1:2; Ex. 20:6; Deut. 5:10-29; 6:5; 11:1-22; 13:3-4; 19:9; 30:6-14; Psalm 31:5; Isa. 11:2; 65:16; Matt. 10:20; John 4:23-24; 9:35-41; 13:33; 15:26; 16:7-13; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 2:14; Gal. 4:6; Phil. 1:19; 1 Pet. 1:11; 1 John 2:1).
· Spirit of truth. Meaning, The Holy Spirit is the Authority who guides us to the Way of God and the revelation and understanding of His Truth and discernment from the "spirit of error." That which is revealed and written in His Word, the Bible, we understand and teach with logic and inspiration that will never contradict His written Word (John 14:6; 16:13; 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 John 4:6).
· Truth. Refers to God's Holiness, His Righteousness, and His Holy Decrees and principles that are infallible, knowable, and that profit us in the here and now as well as what we take into and live with for eternity. Jesus is the embodiment of Truth, the Supreme Being whose precepts we are to emulate and that are true Truth (Psalm 119, all, especially v. 142; 151; John 1:17; 17:17)
· World. Referring to the sinful nature of humanity and those not redeemed who choose to do evil, make bad choices, and fight against Truth (John 5:18-19; 17:9; 1 John 2:15-17; 4:5; 5:4-5, 19).
· He lives. Referring that the Holy Spirit lives and works in us as an enabler to help, guide, and empower us so we can receive, know, and obey God and His decrees (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21).
· Be in you. Referring that the Holy Spirit will come after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection to empower the church-which we celebrate at Pentecost (Acts 1:11-f; 2; Rom. 8:9).
· Orphans / comfortless. Meaning deprived of parents, as orphans had little rights and were helpless, even though it was the family and extended family and clan that were responsible for them. They needed a lawyer or advocate to make it possible to get their rights, which is a role of the Holy Spirit. The picture here is that Jesus rescues us, the orphans, and places us in the good home of the Holy Spirit (John 20:19:23).
· Show myself / manifest / reveal. This is an image of God's shadow being displayed before Moses on Mt. Sinai, when God's greatest prophet and Law-giver could not see Him directly. God is omnipresent and all powerful in the universe and He cannot be seen or contained. But, Christ reveals God by being God incarnate and then we display God by our Christian character. Now, the whole world can see God firsthand through the Word having been made flesh (Ex. 16:1-10; 33:18-23; John 2:11; 12:22-33; 13:23; Rom. 3:19-23; 2 Cor. 3:6-18; Gal. 3:10-26; 1 Tim. 6:16; John 1:14).
· Why do you intend. Jews believed that because they had the Law, they were special and had a better and greater revelation and knowledge of God than the rest of the religions and people of the earth. This is very true and Judas (not the one who betrayed Jesus), wanted to know why, now that we have this new revelation, can't all have it, or would this be your power to overthrow the Romans? Jesus does let the world know through our partnership with Him as we share and demonstrate that knowledge.
· Home with him. Referring that God's presence is continually residing in and around us as a special favor we have as believers. The image is as God dwelt in His Temple so He now dwells in our hearts, minds, and actions, exhibiting His faithfulness by our faithfulness (Rom. 8-11; Rev. 3:20).
· Teach you all. The Holy Spirit inspires and preserves the Word of Jesus that are then transcribed by the Disciples to what we have in the Bible. The Holy Spirit also teaches us, helps us understand, memorize, explain, and elaborate on God's Word. The Disciples needed this to carry out the great commission and for the Church to continue beyond today. But, our commentary and teaching must never twist, contradict, or water down what is in the Bible nor are we ever to insert anything that is not there (Neh. 9:20; Psalm 143:10; Matt. 24:35John 16:13).
· Peace I leave. A Hebrew greeting like, "hello," "goodbye with peace," or "aloha," but with a much deeper meaning. This is another role of the Holy Spirit to show us and motivate us to God's precepts so we get along better with others by having good character, love, and forgiveness. Peace also gives us confidence and contentment in good times and keeps away fear in dire times, because we are backed up by the power and wisdom of God (John 20:19, 21-26; Acts 10:36; Rom. 5:1; 14:17; Eph. 2:14-17; Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15; Heb. 20:19-26).
· Do not be afraid / heart be troubled. Meaning to be stirred up and upset by the expectation of something bad happening or suffering. Jesus faced both physical and metaphysical sufferings that bore the undeserved wrath of God the Father for our sins. In addition, when Jesus departed, He gave the Spirit which became more valuable in multiplicity for Kingdom building. So, let us wipe away those doubts and fears that distract and stress us for no reason (Psalm 6:3; 42:11; John 14:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:21)!
· Be glad / rejoiced. Because Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are necessary and give us a gift we could not otherwise have without His sacrifice. And, he empowers us; we should be glad for His glory.
· Father is greater. While on earth, Christ the Son became subordinate for His redemptive work. Both now and then, He is fully and equally one with God (1:1-2; 10:30; John 14:9; Phil. 2:6-11).
· Prince of this world. A name of Satan meaning the leader of evil and prince over his vast army of subordinates and demons who carry out his orders and who are in conflict with God and Truth and His followers- us. Satan rules with tyrannical power.This is referring to his influence over the governments and political arenas of this world, that he is the one who is the ruler and guards his position. He is instigating the leaders to kill Jesus, yet Jesus is still in full control. Satan can influence and entice us; but, has no hold on Christians because of what Christ does for us (Daniel 10:12-11:1; John 12:31; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; 6:12).
· Come now; let us leave. Jesus is obedient in all He does and sets the example, even His humiliation and mission to the Cross. He fulfills the prophecies and later gets up from the upper room to fulfill His role (John 12:32-33; 17:21)!
Devotional Thoughts and Applications
Obedience requires the kind of trust and faith in Christ that a child has that he or she will be cared for, to be dependent on God and not on self. This helps us submit to those in authority- God first, then others who represent Him, and to value and respect them, enjoy orderliness, and learn from God and others. In contrast, a person with a lack of faith will not be very well obedient or submissive to Christ and His faithful followers; he or she will not respect others because the emptiness where faith is supposed to be is filled with pride and even self-destruction- worry and stress that lead a person nowhere good. This means we do not submit to dictatorial or dysfunctional family members or any form of bad leadership
Have you ever wondered why Jesus "needs" to use us to proclaim His Word and tell others? Why does He not just audibly reveal Himself to all? Well, He does not need us, but chooses to use us for a greater good. Because, the proclamation of the Gospel is not easy; it takes demonstrators- people to live it out. Just telling someone, even from God, doesn't get much of a response as seen in the Old Testament, because people naturally hate God. So the Holy Spirit must reveal Christ to them to entice them to believe, and then they need to see the product demonstrated. That is what we do in servant evangelism. We are called to learn and we need the info to know Who Christ is and then what He calls us to. Both people who are saved and those who are not all need love. We need the love from Christ so we have it to give to others, whether they will receive it or not. If we do not learn and love, we can't grow in faith and maturity or share the faith. In contrast, if all we do is learn and we are not transformed, we just become dumb, fat, and useless sheep who become annoying and not servant leaders and evangelists of God. Because faith and being His witness or exhibiter is a matter of how we are over what we are; how we are is more important than what we say!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1. What was the best council you ever received from someone? How did that make you feel?
2. If someone asked you what was the most important and encompassing reason why Jesus is here in you, what would you say?
3. Have you ever produced much of something like a bountiful harvest or a great productivity at work? How did you feel? How is this like showing others Christ by your character and disposition?
4. How is it that by knowing Christ and His Word, we will know Truth and the path of God's will that we are to follow? How can you better do this?
5. What do trusting and obeying mean to you? What do you think it means to people of the world? How have you seen it lived out? Why is there no other way?
6. How and why does Love confirm the authenticity of Jesus? How and why does Love confirm the authenticity of Jesus' followers? How is this displayed in you? How can it be more so?
7. How does love help us appreciate our fellow Christians and of course, our family and others around us?
8. How do you do at obeying God, His Word, and others? How do you show love? Why is the proof of Love not in what we say about it, rather how we live it out? Can you give an example?
9. What does it mean to you that God provided you with the ultimate Counselor, the Holy Spirit? How does it empower and reduce your stress knowing that He will never leave or forsake you?
10. How and why is obedience and/or submission to Christ's Lordship the real test and verification for genuine love? What can your church do to teach and inspire its people to do this more?
11. How does love help enable us to trust in our Lord and receive His call and principles? How are faith, love, and obedience interrelated? What happens when we are missing one of these vital components? How does one get them back in working order?
12. What can you do so Jesus is fully displayed in you for others to see as they were presented by Christ? What would this look like? What would it mean for your life and relationships?
© 2010, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/