Summary: The inheritance that Jesus has given to his followers.
You know, Sue and I are getting to the age now that we can honestly say that we are part of the ‘graying of America.’ In other words, we’re getting older. We are what we used to refer to, only a mere 20 years ago…as ‘the old geezers’. And to tell the truth…I’m beginning to feel that way, sometimes.
But, as I was saying, because of our age, Sue and I have taken some steps in preparing for the future. We have made out our wills and have had a revocable trust written…not exactly sure I understand it all, because it’s written in legalese, a language I don’t speak. But, we are trying to get things in order for when we turn everything over to our kids.
Our scripture this morning, from the book of John is described in one of my commentaries as, ‘The Bequests of Jesus’. Bequest…now this is a word you don’t hear much anymore…bequest. This word is defined simply as an inheritance, or donation, or a gift.
And so, as we read our scripture today, we can more easily understand it if we know that these words from Jesus are his effort to tell his disciples what he is ready to leave with them…it is his explanation of their inheritance from him.
But what do you suppose a man who has no possessions, very little money, and no place to put his head at night…what do you suppose a man like this has to give? What precious gifts does he have that he might pass on to those he loves?
Well, if you have the connections that Jesus has, you have some very precious gifts to give…and that’s what we’re going to explore this morning…the gifts that are promised to the Disciples of Christ.
If you remember, last week I spoke about discipleship and what it really meant. There were three characteristics that were required…that we first believe in Jesus…that we open ourselves up to learning his ways…and that we live a life of servitude.
And so, this morning, Jesus is speaking to us, his beloved disciples and Jesus speaks of five things in today’s passage that he wants to pass on to his beloved followers….his disciples.
…The Holy Spirit…
The very first person Jesus speaks of is his ally, the Holy Spirit, and he says two basic things about him. First, that the gift of the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. Like I said last Sunday, to the end of our days, the Christian must be a learner. The Holy Spirit that dwells within us, has the ability to lead us deeper and deeper into the truth of God if we will but let him. There should be no excuse for not keeping ourselves open to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. The Christian who feels that he has nothing more to learn, is the Christian who has not even begun to understand what the doctrine of the Holy Spirit means.
And then there’s another attribute of the Holy Spirit that Jesus wants us to have…and that is the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is present in order to remind us of the things that Jesus has said. And this means two things…In matters of belief, the Holy Spirit is constantly bringing back to us the things Jesus has told us. We have been encouraged to become more Christ-like in our daily living. That means that everything we think, say and do must be tested against the words of Christ. We must continually strive to understand and discover how to apply the meaning of Christ’s words to our lives. The Holy Spirit guides and directs us in that road of discovery.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit will continually nudge us if we begin to act unrighteous. I guess you could call it guilt feelings. Nearly all of us have this sort of experience in life. We are tempted to do something wrong and are on the very brink of doing it, when back into our minds comes a saying of Jesus, a verse or passage of scripture, or the words of someone we love and admire, or one our parent’s admonitions. These thoughts happen in a split second…saying to us ‘stop’. Well, this is the work of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
Did you know that ever since 1811, the U.S. Treasury has operated a ‘Conscience Fund’? Since that time, it has received almost 3.5 million dollars from guilt-ridden individuals who might have, at one time or another, defrauded the government.
…The Gift of Peace…
Not only does Jesus ask the Father to provide the Holy Spirit, Jesus also gives us his peace…but not as the world gives. Well, what does that mean?
In the Bible, the word for ‘peace’ is ‘shalom’. It means so much more than a simple absence of trouble. It means everything that makes for our highest good …in other words, it wishes for us a peace that cannot be taken away, not by sorrow, or danger, or suffering. It is an inner peace. A peace that is independent of any outward circumstance.