24th May 2024

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 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 recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans – I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18; NLT).

These words of Jesus provide the background to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost which we celebrated last Sunday. They are part of Jesus’ final words to his disciples on the night of the Last Supper. He has spoken of Judas’ forthcoming betrayal, Peter’s denial of him before the cock crows and, more generally, of the persecution that will come to all those who follow him. Jesus sees his own death looming and promises that his disciples will not be alone. Almost a “last will and testament”; a father providing for his children after his death.

This vivid human picture of Jesus as a loving father is quite different to the image of him that opens John’s gospel – the Word who existed at the beginning, through whom all things were made, the one who gave life to everything and is the light that cannot be extinguished (John 1:1-5). But hold these two images together and we see the Jesus who loves each of us individually is also the one who has total power over the things of the world. His Spirit is with us, if only we would pause in our busy lives and seek his presence.

Ian Waddington