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We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Having spoken of himself as God’s authorised agent (14:1-14) and introduced the Holy Spirit who would continue his role (14:15-26), Jesus now talks about what it means to be his “friend” – which is our focus this week.
Friends with Jesus
We were made for friendship. God obviously thought it was a good idea, telling us back in Genesis ‘it is not good for the man to be alone.’ As we’ll see later, those in ancient societies spent much time writing about friendship in lofty terms: the Greek philosopher Aristotle described friendship as ‘a single soul dwelling in two bodies… Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.’ Two thousand years later, ‘mateship’ is still central not just to our identity as Australians, but, more fundamentally, to our identity as humans.
Use today (and the weekend) to catch up on any readings you’ve missed.
If you’re up-to-date, read 1 Corinthians 12. What else do we learn about the role of the Holy Spirit?
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. The Spirit will be like Jesus – another advocate/counsellor who is God’s presence, with us and in us. But what’s the point of this presence? We now look at one of the most important functions of the Spirit: helping us to remember and put into practice Jesus’ teaching.
John 14:25-26 “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.”
The Holy Spirit will teach us ‘all things’. Don Carson points out that this can’t mean all things without exception:
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. The Spirit will be like Jesus – another advocate/counsellor who is God’s presence, alongside us and fighting for us. What’s more, the Spirit dwells in us…
The Spirit is the means by which God is present with us and in us
John 14:23 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.
This is a crucial part of the whole storyline of the Bible. Let me give you a quick overview: It starts off in the garden of Eden where humanity lived in the presence of God. Sin came, and as a result Adam and Eeve were cast out of the garden. God no longer could live with the people he had created. Throughout the OT we see God graciously dwelling among his people, in a special tent and then in his temple. But there was still a barrier – a curtain that separated the people from God’s presence in the Holy of Holies.
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Yesterday, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who love him and obey his teaching. But who is the Holy Spirit, and what is his role?
Back when my eldest was in Kindergarten, I came home one day to be told by my wife that he had been the “star of the day” at school. (Apparently everyone got a turn at being the “star of the day” at some point. I guess it was to prepare them for life in the real world, where everyone at some stage has their turn at being a reality TV contestant.) So I went in to see him, and started off by saying “I hear you were star of the day.”
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Last week, we saw how both we and Jesus’ disciples are not to worry, but to trust in Jesus. Why? Because he’s God’s authorised representative, who alone gives access to the Father. This week, we’re given another reason not to worry – because Jesus is sending the Holy Spirit in his place.
Introducing the Holy Spirit
Much of Jesus’ farewell speech is about the Holy Spirit. In fact, I’d go as far as to claim that the majority of what we know about the Holy Spirit comes from this part of John’s Gospel. It’s the closest thing we have to sustained, systematic teaching about the Spirit’s identity and role. And it contains what I think is the most significant single statement about the Spirit – in verse 16, which we’ll get to tomorrow.
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, we’ve seen that Jesus is God’s authorised representative. He alone gives access to the Father, and is the only one qualified to make the Father known. Today, we focus on our role…
We are also God’s authorised representatives!
Believe it or not, Jesus tells us that we will do greater works than he has done:
John 14:12-14 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
How can we do greater things than Jesus? What can be greater than turning water into wine, healing the sick, raising Lazarus from the dead? This is a very puzzling statement, which has led to many scholarly opinions. But I think we get some clue from some similar statements elsewhere:
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. So far, we’ve seen that Jesus is God’s authorised representative. He alone gives access to the Father. In fact, he’s the only one qualified to make the Father known.
Jesus makes the Father known
John 14:7-9 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. Yesterday, we looked at the overall theme of the speech: don’t worry, but trust Jesus – who is God’s authorised representative. Today, Jesus starts to fill out what that means.
Jesus gives access to the Father
Straight after reassuring them not to worry, but to trust in him, Jesus gives a reason. They won’t be without him forever. In fact, he has to go for a while, in order for them to be with him forever: