John 14:15-27 ~ 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 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. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone 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. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, 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. 27 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.
John 14 is a pivotal chapter in the gospel of John. As Jesus was nearing the close of His public ministry He knew that His disciples were going to face some challenges that could rock the foundation of their faith and decimate all of the work that He had done. Two of the events are listed in chapter 13. Judas was about to betray Jesus, and Peter was about to deny Jesus. The third event is mentioned in chapter 12, Jesus was about to stand trial and be crucified.
These events were going to test both the metal and fortitude of Jesus’ disciples. These series of events had the potential to splinter, fracture, and possibly destroy this group and derail their future work. One of the most disturbing realities of what was about to happen is that the source of the problems the group was going to face was internal. We are reminded that not all of the problems you and I face are external. Sometime the crux of the problems we encounter can be found by looking in the mirror. Jesus was clearly more concerned with how the disciples would respond and react to what they were about to go through. There are times when we may not be the cause of the problems we face, but our response or reaction exacerbates and makes a bad situation worse.
Anyone who has lived understands and accepts the fact that for as long as we live we will experience challenges and challenging situations. The question is how will we handle them? Jesus was apparently concerned not only about the psyche, but also the emotional and physical well being of His disciples. Jesus understands how fragile we are and at any given point in time, any person can be pushed over the edge.
This is one of the reasons why God created people and all living things to be dependent. We all stand in the need of assistance. Men depend on Women for love and nurturing. Women depend on men for love and protection. Children depend on parents when they are young. Parents depend on children when they get old. Friends depend on each other. Animals depend on people to take care of the environment. People depend on animals for food and clothing. We live in a world where everyone and everything depends on some one and some thing else to help it maintain and ensure its survival.
Jesus recognized that His disciples would soon be in need of assistance. That is why, twice in chapter 14 Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” In other words, do not worry about it, because your help is on the way. It would be nice if we did not have to endure hardship, suffering, and emotional distress, but unfortunately these things are a part of our reality for as long as we are on earth. There are some situations and things that no matter how hard we try to avoid the pain it is inevitable. In times like these it is encouraging to know that God in Christ has made provisions for us and supplies us with the help that we need to make it through.
Who, what, or where does our help come from?
In this passage we see references and allusions to what theologians refer to as the Godhead, also known as The Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each person within the Godhead has a distinct personality and each person has a specific role and function. They are individually distinctive persons, but they all work together.
Most people know about the Father and the Son. However, equally as important, but the least talked about is the Holy Spirit. The primary reason for this is found in verse 17. Jesus points out that the world rejects the Holy Spirit because, “it cannot see Him and does not understand Him.” We are cautioned here to be careful about rejecting things solely on the basis of not understanding them. Some time the things we reject are precisely the things we need.
To help clear up any misunderstanding about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus provides us with more information. If we look again at verse 17 Jesus uses the pronoun “Him” to refer to the Holy Spirit. This teaches us that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person in relationship to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” and should never be referred to as “it.” The Holy Spirit also has a mind and has the ability to think and act. This is seen in verse 26 where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit can teach and will remind us of things. Yes, the Holy Spirit moves and operates in accordance with the will of God through Christ Jesus, but this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is a robot. The Holy Spirit is a person committed to complete obedience to God. The Holy Spirit is also a relational gift from God to believers. A by-product of the believer’s relationship with Jesus Christ is that Christ petitions or asks God to give and let us have the Holy Spirit. We cannot earn the Holy Spirit, we cannot work for the Holy Spirit, and we certainly cannot be good enough to merit the Holy Spirit. We receive the Holy Spirit after we have established a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In addition to teaching us about the person of the Holy Spirit, Jesus also teaches us about the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
1. The Holy Spirit is our helper – the Holy Spirit took the place of Christ after Jesus ascended back to the Father. He gives believer’s divine strength to enable us to face, go through, and overcome the trials and troubles we face in life. The Holy Spirit is constantly present in the life of believers and always at the ready to provide the help and assistance we need in any and every situation and circumstance.
2. The Holy Spirit is our teacher – He leads us into a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth. The Holy Spirit helps us to know the truth by explaining and providing instruction. He expands and increases our understanding and ability to apply and live out the principles and practices of Christ as outlined in God’s word.
3. The Holy Spirit helps us to remember – He brings to our remembrance and empowers us to recall or call back to mind all of the things that Jesus said, did, and taught.
Why has God given us a helper?
God gives us a helper for Christ’s sake. Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name.” God sends the Holy Spirit so that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection would not have been in vain. God sends the Holy Spirit so that the work of Christ can continue to advance. God sends the Holy Spirit so that Christ will be exalted and all who need Him and want to come to know Him will be drawn closer to Christ. God sends the Holy Spirit because the world we live in and people all over the world are in need of divine help and assistance.
No matter what is going on in our lives, or what station in life we are at this moment, our help is on the way. The good news is it makes no difference whether things are going well or poorly for us, our help is on the way. If things are going well, we can count on divine assistance when things begin to turn. If things are going poorly, we can look for divine assistance to turn things around. Either way, our help is on the way.
Jesus said, “I will ask…and the Father will send another counselor (helper).” An addendum to the good news is all believers have three levels of help:
• We have Almighty sovereign help from God
• We have Messianic salvific help from Christ
• We have Empowering spiritual help from the Holy Spirit
Jesus said, “I will ask…and the Father will send. All we have to do is wait, because our help is on the way.