15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Up until this point in John’s narrative we have not heard much about the Holy Spirit. While we find Him present at the baptism of Jesus He is so far the silent partner in the Trinity. But make no mistake, silent does not mean inactive. The Spirit of God is constantly moving throughout the Bible beginning in Genesis 1 all the way through Revelation 22. Now Jesus promises this Spirit to His followers as a constant companion and that promise lives in us today 2,000 years later. As the Disciples listen to Jesus, their hearts must be breaking because He is telling them that soon He will leave. They have no idea what He means when He promises to send the Spirit. They will grieve but they will also be comforted. This passage (along with many others) helps to explain the absolute unity that is the Triune God. Just because Jesus is not here in the flesh doesn’t mean He is not here. This Spirit is His Spirit. And for reasons that can only be explained by God’s great love, that Spirit has chosen to come and live not with us, but inside of us. As I think about my internal life I can only assume it’s pretty crowded in there for Him.
With that being said, each believer is a walking miracle for inside of them resides the Living God. He loves us so much that He cannot leave us here alone. While Jesus was most certainly grieved over having to suffer on the cross, I don’t think He was grieved to leave His disciples at all because He would return in the person of the Holy Spirit. He would be back; and not only in the distant future when His physical form returns on the clouds. He would be back 10 days after His Ascension in the form of the Holy Spirit. The coming separation would be minor and short.
Today we face no such separation. Jesus’ Spirit is here to stay and we will not know the grief of His absence.
Peace 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.
Learning how to press into that already present Spirit is a great skill to know. For me personally, it requires quiet and solitude. The Spirit can break through the noise but He rarely does. And as we all know, quiet is a rare commodity today. I have to intentionally seek it out and give the Spirit room to speak. The only way to experience the peace that Jesus promised is to allow the Spirit to deliver it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my life and let the stuff of life crowd out His voice. Those can become desperate days. But He doesn’t leave and I am grateful. The Holy Spirit remains and holds me close to the Savior all of the time.