“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.” (John 14:15 – 16)
“Another Advocate” – I have to wonder if this “Other” one is a substitute for the presence of Jesus, or for Yahweh who had been with the Abraham through to the judges, kings, and prophets of the Old Testament. So I went to the New Testament commentators, who waxed poetically about this Advocate being a upgrade from Jesus the Christ who could only be physically in one place as opposed to everywhere like the Holy Spirit. As to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, it seems (to biblical commentators & theologians) the presence of the Holy Spirit was less common and only happened to only certain individuals, and sometimes an in-dwelling for only a short length or specific time. And I have to shake my head in wonderment of this. Until I remember that the concept of care and compassion, and placing value in individual people was a human phenomenon that developed slowly. And in recent years seems to be less a part of some people’s thinking. So, yes, Jesus did need to ask for this specifically for his followers and future believers.
“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.” (Verse 17)
It was important then, to have Jesus be with the disciples and teach them so that the “Spirit of Truth” could come to them and abide with them. Does this mean than that preachers, ministers, spiritual directors and others who have the Spirit abiding within them can prepare young believers (of all ages) to be ready for the Holy Counselor & Comforter to dwell within them? It is, beloved reader, a rhetorical question.
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (Verses 18 – 21)
I have off and on, through this blog and in my own personal reflections, been thinking about my faith journey. That it seems as if my journey has taken a different course than others. I had an interesting conversation with one of my seminary professors as a part of a seminary class – I wish I could remember which one. We talked about the process of coming to faith, and that most people were “twice born”, meaning that there came a point in their life when they realized they needed to change or renew themselves. In Christianity this most typically means conversion or re-birth. The “once born” grow into increasing faith and do not necessarily turn a corner or change. They steadily grow into faith. Now, some explanations of this cast the “once born” as the more fortunate. Others it is the “twice born” and a conversion or new awakening that are the more blessed. It would be interesting to study the gospel stories and try to discern who were the once born and who were the twice born. Maybe someday I will look into that.
For now, beloved reader, may you be prepared and continually prepared to receive the Holy Spirit into you life, and may great things that glorify the Divine be the result. Selah!