John 14:15-16, 23-26
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you for ever.”
23 Jesus answered him, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him.
24 Whoever does not love me does not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.
25 I have told you this while I am still with you.
26 The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”
Other readings: Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34; Romans 8:8-17
We return to the Gospel passage we read two weeks ago, along with verses 15-16 from earlier in the chapter. This teaching is so important that Jesus repeats it to help his first disciples remember it and put it into practice. Today we too have another opportunity to consider the significance of Jesus’s words.
Jesus asks the disciples to love him. Easy enough to say “yes”, you might think. But Jesus makes it clear that loving him takes far more than a simple word. Love in Jesus’s eyes has a very practical outcome and it takes the shape of obedience to his commandments.
Jesus continues with an amazing promise for everyone who obeys him. Both the Father and Jesus will come and live with them.
Jesus does not explain exactly what this “living with” will be like but it surely indicates a very special and intimate personal relationship.
At this point Jesus makes it clear that these words are not his own idea. This teaching comes directly from God the Father, which is of course equally true of all Jesus’s words.
Jesus now talks about the Helper, whom he reveals as the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is overlooked as people deepen their relationships with Jesus and the Father. But He plays a huge part in our relationship with Jesus. In this reading He is revealed to be a teacher and helper for the disciples, reminding them of Jesus’s teaching and helping them to understand and live it.
Perhaps in another sense the Holy Spirit is Jesus’s helper too. He continues the work Jesus started in the lives of the first disciples and in us today, now that Jesus has returned to his Father.
Jesus also repeats to the disciples that he will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help them after he returns to heaven and promises that the Holy Spirit will stay with them forever.
Consider the role of God the Father in this passage. Which words of Jesus strike you most from today’s readings?
How do you respond to this connection between love and obedience?
Do you find some areas of Jesus’s teaching difficult to obey and put into practice in your life? What can you do about this? Consider the importance of the Holy Spirit in your everyday life. Read Romans 8:1-17.
Think about what this means for you.
Today we remember the dramatic way the Holy Spirit filled the first disciples on the day of Pentecost. Prayerfully read Acts 2:1-11 and give thanks to God for sending us the Holy Spirit to be our helper.
Each day this week ask the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh and help you to live in a way that will please Jesus. It’s only with the Holy Spirit’s help that we can obediently love and serve Jesus.
“For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, Father! My Father!” (Romans 8:15).
Consider what an incredible privilege it is to be able to call Almighty God our Father and what it means to be his children.
Lectio divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word. These outlines for the Sunday Gospel readings are published by the Bible Society. Download at biblesociety.org.uk/lectio.© 2008 United Bible Societies. Bible text Good News Translation, second edition© 1992 American Bible Society, New York