Sunday

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you” (v. 18)

John 14:15-21 Sunday 21 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 66


Background

Here in John's Gospel Jesus is speaking to his disciples aboutwhat is going to happen to him, "in a little while the world willsee me no longer" (v. 19). Understandably they are bewildered anddowncast about the impending events. So Jesus speaks words of bothchallenge and consolation.

The words of challenge are that just as Jesus is obedient to hisFather, so the disciples will show their love for him by theirobedience. This 'love' of which he speaks is not a sentiment or anemotion but a consistency of word and action, and a livedcommitment to the values that Jesus has exemplified in hisministry. This love is no easy love, just as the grace of God is nocheap grace.

Jesus knows what a challenge this loving obedience will be andso he promises the disciples a helper - the term 'Advocate' (v. 16)is used in the translation we have used. The word comes from theGreek word 'parakletos' which means someone called in to help in asituation of trouble or distress. Sometimes the word 'Comforter' isused, in its old sense of enabling the dispirited to be brave. SoJesus promises his disciples the Holy Spirit who will enable themto cope with the challenges that lie ahead.

Jesus gives his disciples a very personal and intimateencouragement, "I will not leave you orphaned". Recognising thedisciples' sense of foreboding and loss, he wants to reassure them.They will not be like sheep without a shepherd or followers withouta leader. They will not be left forlorn. Rather they will be givena helper who will not only enable them to cope but also live outthe calling to love in action.


To Ponder

  • Are there times when you have felt 'orphaned'? Recollect howyou came out from that experience and what helped you.
  • How can the Church and individual Christians help to givepeople outside the community of faith a deeper understanding of therichness of the concept of love?

 

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