God with us - Week 9: John 14:16-17
If you have the time, then grab your Bible and read John 13-14.
Put yourself in the place of the disciples.
You've gathered together for supper after a long day of ministry with Jesus. You're tired but ready for anything Jesus has to say to you. You settle down, ready for Jesus to speak, but instead, He stands, takes off His robe, pours water into a bowl, and kneels at your feet. You're startled by the sight of it. You know who is kneeling before you. The Lord Himself is washing the dirt from your feet like a servant, and at that moment, you are speechless.
As always, Peter finds the words!
He refuses the offer of cleansed feet until Jesus explains, "Unless I wash you, you won't belong to me." (John 13:8) The process continues until Jesus puts His robe back on and asks those in the room, "Do you get it? I've done this for you as your teacher; now you need to do this for each other."
The evening continues to make you feel anxious. You desperately hope you're not the one who will betray Jesus. His accusation to Peter throws you.
Why on earth would Peter do that?
You've barely had time to take in the reality that Jesus has given you a new commandment to follow:
"Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
Peter asks the question that won't leave your lips.
"Lord, where are you going?"
You're worried about Jesus leaving but He urges you not to be troubled. You simply need to trust, but everything seems uncertain, and you want answers now. Then Jesus says, "you know the way that I am going" (John 14:4), and you're relieved by Thomas' direct response. You relate to Phillip's confusion about what he is hearing. Then Jesus says something that sounds so ridiculous to you, so beyond your reach and far away from anything you are capable of.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name and I will do it!"
How on earth is that possible?
You are confused. You love Jesus and believe every word He says. Yet, the prospect of continuing His work here on earth, without His presence with you, is terrifying.
Jesus challenges again:
"If you love me, obey my commandments."
Despite the desire to do His will, the task seems impossible.
"16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognise him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you."
At that moment, you realise you won't be doing this alone. Jesus himself will ask your Heavenly Father to send an advocate, a helper, a counsellor, someone to guide and fill you with God's power. At that moment, something stirs within you.
Each one of us is called to the greater works Jesus talks about, and yet at times, just the thought of it troubles our hearts. The task seems too great, the obstacles too large, and our limitations stop us from moving forward.
Like me, some of you need the message of John 14:16-17 this week. We need reminding that the advocate is already here.
He will never leave us.
He will lead us into all truth.
Whatever God has called us to, we are not alone.
God is with us.