WHEN a person is about to leave, only to be back after a long time, it is normal that we hear him give instructions to those who will be left behind. Often included in these instructions are how he can be contacted and how communication with him can be maintained. Indeed, there is just this persistent attempt to ironically be present despite being absent.
The Lord Jesus, when his time on earth was coming to an end, did the same thing to his disciples. He left them with several instructions – instructions which were not only for his inner circle or for a chosen few, but for believers of all times and in all nations.
Jesus, in his physical body, has left the world, but his presence remains forever. How he remains present, this Sunday’s gospel (John 14:23-29) tells us so.
Some will find it hard to believe, but the truth is that he dwells in every Christian who loves him. And how are they that truly love him? Who else but those who do not merely give lip service, but those who keep his word (verse 23).
Obedience is the expression and proof of our love for God. Haven’t we heard many times that we must accept Jesus as our Savior? If we did, then he must be our Lord also, and if Lord, then as the Master whose commands we should do our best, by his grace, to follow.
In the same gospel Jesus promises to send us the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Triune God. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate or Paraclete; he is for us and not against us. Jesus, our Teacher, is now in heaven, but his words are in the Bible, written by men under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and will remind us of all that Jesus has told us (verse 26).
The promise of Jesus to be with us forever gives us hope and courage to face the tests and trials of this broken world. As we walk in this life, Jesus tells us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or be afraid (verse 27).”
Holding on to this gospel, let us pray for faith that sees Jesus in the invisible and hear him in the inaudible. “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Let us also pray that with this faith, our hearts may be inflamed to love God even more deeply and thus experience the joy of communion – of being united with the Trinity and of starting our experience of eternity right here in this passing world.