Still With You (John 14:23-31)

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30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

If the season of Easter has shown us anything it is that against Christ satan is powerless. The ruler of this world met our Lord and Saviour in the garden and on the cross, and lost. Sin is payed for, death is defeated and the devil made powerless. But the disciples to whom Jesus was speaking couldn’t know that yet. All they would see is their Lord and master being taken away. And even though He did it in love, when Jesus rose and departed from them for a time it came as a serious blow. Similarly, it can still feel for us today like we may have been left behind, or that the world is winning against us and our Lord.

That is why Jesus took the time to make this very important promise to the disciples about to face Good Friday, and we who are looking at an ever darkening world before the Last Day comes. And His promise is simply this: I am still with you. For you see, Jesus is with the disciples and with us no matter where He is. Given Jesus’ residence in us through the Gospel, Jesus is with us even as He leaves the upper room. Jesus is with us even as he returns to heaven. Jesus is with us even as He sits at the right hand of God this very moment. Jesus is with us even though He doesn’t come back till Judgment Day. Through the Word He is still with us.

And His Word tells us that the Father and Son make their Home in you. 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

Consider that dear Christians, when a person makes proper use of God’s Word, God lives in that person. The Good News of our salvation through Christ ushers God Himself into our beings! Where the Word of God is preached and studied and read and prayed, there the Father’s love and Jesus’ peace and the Holy Spirit’s guidance will be as close to us as the brain and the heart in our own bodies.

For the Holy Spirit dwells in that Word to teach you all things. 25“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to help us understand the Word. His tool IS the Word! Jesus uses the word “Paraclete” to describe Him. That is the “one called alongside to help”. He is our Comforter, our Encourager, our Intercessor. As the One who proceeds from the Father and the Son, He is the successor to the gospel mission, that is the one who “carries on the work,” such as Joshua did for Moses, or Elisha for Elijah. Like a “second teacher” who will come after Jesus who is the first teacher and actually lead them and us to understand both the person and the work of Christ. His teaching is not quantitative in a sense of more and new things but qualitative in the sense of finally and fully understanding what Jesus has been teaching all along. The role of the Paraclete includes all of the above in some way.

And through this Paraclete working in the Word the peace of God will be yours forever. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. In Jesus comes a true and lasting peace (shalom), not as the world understands peace, and not as the world gives peace. The peace Jesus gives has teeth in it. For it is the outcome of blood, sweat, and tears. It is the peace between a pure God and a corrupt people that Jesus alone could bring about through His suffering death and damnation. It is a peace granted through reconciliation with God, secured by Christ. And it is a hard won peace that promises us an eternal place with Him and His place with us both now and forever.

And in that peace your joy will be complete. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. Jesus lifts the vision of the sad and fearful disciples. Both those who must witness first hand the dark Friday ahead of them, and we who see the valley of the shadow of death spread out before us. His return to the Father ought to bring them joy, once they see its full meaning. For He has gone that the Spirit may come alongside to help. He has gone to prepare a place for us in the eternal glories of heaven. Yet He is not really gone, for His promise remains. I am still with you.

His promise of I am still with you lightens the gloom and gives joy to the down-hearted. Jesus is with His disciples always … no matter where He is. Given Jesus’ residence in us through the Gospel, Jesus is with us even as He left the upper room. Jesus is with us even as He returned to heaven. Jesus is with us even as He sits at the right hand of God this very moment. Jesus is with us even though He won’t come back till Judgment Day. Through the Word He is still with us. He will always be with us, to the very end of the age.

AMEN.

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About kenmaher

When I'm not working I enjoy Astronomy, Camping, Comic Books, Epic Fantasy Novels, Games (both playing and designing), Hiking, Juggling, Sci-fi, and building strange things out of pvc pipe. I also enjoy being an honorary pre-schooler with my four great children ... much to their mother's dismay.
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