John 14:15-24: Not abandoned.

“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.” NIV

The Holy Spirit has been described as ”the uncomfortable comforter”. In the Bayeux Tapestry, there is a caption which reads ”Bishop Odin comforteth his troops.” What the Bishop is actually doing is prodding his soldiers with his sword, and urging them back into the fight. Someone pointed out that at the heart of our word ”comforter” there is the word ”fort”. He said, ”The Holy Spirit comes to turn you into a fortress for the day of battle. The comfort is much more than, ”There, there now.”

Jesus was about to leave His disciples. He had only recently informed them about His imminent departure. He was everything to them, and if they felt like they were about to be orphaned, you could understand it (18). So Jesus assured them that whilst going away, He would nevertheless ”come” (18) to them in the Person of the Holy Spirit. This section points to a new relationship with the Spirit for the disciples (17b).

The Holy Spirit is spoken of by Jesus (in the Greek language) as ”allos parakletos” (”another advocate” or ”another comforter”). I understand that in Greek there are two words for ”another”. One means ”another who is different”, but ”allos” means ”another who is similar”. Everything Jesus had been to His disciples, that the Holy Spirit would be to them. They would not feel orphaned at all.

In the Holy Spirit; through His ministry, we ”see” Jesus (19) and know the reality of His presence within us, and in the midst of the church community. Someone pointed out that if Jesus were still on earth bodily, you might be able to book Him to speak at your church once in your lifetime. And that is ‘might’. But because He is now here in the Holy Spirit, you can have Him with you at every single meeting. What a privilege.