Sunday 15 May 2016

Bible Book:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (vv. 15-17)

John 14:8-17 Sunday 15 May 2016

Psalm: Psalm 104


The celebration of Pentecost begins with Jesus' promise in John14 that the Father will send the Advocate, which is the Spirit oftruth. At various points in the Gospel, John refers to the spiritor Holy Spirit using the Greek word 'pneuma', which has multiplemeanings - such as breath, wind, or spirit. This rather generalterm allows Jesus to make pun-like play of words. For example, inthe conversation with Nicodemus (John3:1-9), Jesus says: "What is born of the flesh is flesh, andwhat is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that Isaid to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where itchooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where itcomes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born ofthe Spirit." (John 3:6-8)

'Pneuma' is the most-often used term in the Gospels forreferences to the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, or the energy andlife that enlivens all flesh. It is, therefore, striking that Johnemploys an unusual Greek term, 'parakletos', in chapter 14. TheNRSV translates this word as Advocate, which tends towardconnotations of a legal case or courtroom. Perhaps this relates tothe qualifying phrase in which Jesus refers to the'parakletos'/Advocate as "the Spirit of truth".

The Advocate will teach the disciples and reveal to them what istrue. In this sense, the 'parakletos'is a communicator. Communicateliterally means to be in union with or to join in unity. The'parakletos'brings the followers of Christ into union with theongoing presence and revelation of God. There is an implicationthat what the Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ, has accomplished inbeing the sign of God's presence in the world will continue throughthe coming Advocate/'parakletos'. The community united to God theFather and God the Son through the Spirit continues Christ's workof revealing the love and glory of God in the world.

To Ponder

  • In the 21st century how helpful is it for the Church to talkabout speaking the 'truth'? Why?
  • What is the role of the Church as a community in revealing thelove of God in the world?
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