Emissary of Jesus
Mighty God, on this day of Pentecost, I look to the empowering winds of Your Spirit to sustain me with Your life.
Read 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.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In today’s reading, Jesus anticipates and explains the ministry of the Holy Spirit as “the Advocate” (16). The Greek word used by John for “advocate” literally means “one called alongside (to help).”
The Spirit is identified as “the Spirit of truth,” as the communicator of truth (17). As such he is able to convict the “world”—humanity in rebellion against God—even overcoming an innate inability to accept him (17): he will convince them that right is on his side (John 16:8). We witness, but it is the Spirit who persuades people to trust Jesus. In other words, the Holy Spirit as Advocate makes the Gospel believable. In verse 26 Jesus again refers to the Spirit as “Advocate.” Here the Spirit is to become Jesus’ emissary, who will remind the disciples of everything he has taught them.
The gospels portray the disciples repeatedly failing to understand who Jesus really is and why he came. Why then should we trust the gospel accounts later prepared by these dull learners? Because, after Jesus is risen and glorified, the Spirit was given to enable them to recall Jesus’ teaching and to grasp its true significance. So it is the Holy Spirit as Advocate who makes the gospels reliable even in times of widespread skepticism and suspicion.
Today give God special thanks for the gift of the Spirit, particularly for his role in making believable our verbal witness to unbelievers. Also give thanks for the Spirit’s role in ensuring that the written testimony of the four gospels is reliable and can be commended without reserve by us to others. Ask the Spirit to make you bold and imaginative as you share the Scriptures with unbelievers and witness to what Christ has done for you.
“He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands, has all he needs” (Alexander MacLaren, 1826–1910). How do you feel about this statement?
“Breathe on me, breath of God; / fill me with life anew, / that I may love what thou dost love, / and do what thou wouldst do” (Edwin Hatch, 1835–1889).
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