Going Deeper 5-24-19

The Gospel reading for Easter 6...
John 14:23-29   Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.  I have said these things to you while I am still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.  You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

John devotes four chapters of his Gospel (13-16) to a very long discourse from Jesus to His disciples following His washing of their feet in the upper room.  Several times within this speech Jesus points to the sending of "the Advocate, the Holy Spirit."  The main task of the Spirit is clarified in these verses.  The Spirit is to "teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."  Later Jesus will say that the Spirit will "will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment" and lead His followers "into all  truth."

​We do well to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit of God is in many ways very mysterious.  What follows is a very brief summary of my understanding of the Holy Spirit.  However, we dare not try to put the Spirit into a box in order to try to explain how the Spirit works.  In many ways, the Holy Spirit is a divine artist who works with a wide variety of tools in a wide variety of ways to produce diverse works of great beauty.  The way the Spirit works with me may be very different than how the Spirit works with others.  

I believe that the Holy Spirit is given to us primarily to connect and deepen our relationship with the ever-present Jesus.  One teacher of mine described the role of Spirit as being like that of the director of a play.  The director is never center-stage, and the goal is to keep everyone's focus where it needs to be.  The Holy Spirit is mainly tasked with keeping our focus on Jesus.  The Spirit is given to "remind [us] of all that [Jesus] said."

While there is much I do not understand about the Holy Spirit of God and how the Spirit works, one thing I do know for certain is that the work of the Spirit is absolutely vital.  As Luther wrote in the Small Catechism, the Spirit "calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies" God's people and "keeps them united in the one true faith."  I would call that vitally important work!

Come Holy Spirit!!

With You in Him,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."