Summary: Year C Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 20th, 2001 John 14: 23-29
Title: “Do not let your hearts be troubled”
Jesus is in the midst of his farewell address to his disciples. The overriding theme at this point is his departure from them and his sending the Paraclete to take his place.
The Synoptics tell us that Jesus spoke to his disciples at their final meal together, but John has the discourse spanning five chapters. He presents Jesus as delivering one final packaged message that, in fact, contains material the Synoptics have scattered throughout his public ministry. Put in the form of a “farewell message” the material has a timeless value, so it speaks to all Christians of all ages and conditions. The urgency of the imminent coming of the kingdom preached in the Synoptics is replaced by the urgency of Jesus’ imminent death and the “coming of the kingdom” is replaced by the coming of the Spirit. The Spirit or Paraclete does not become incarnate, as Christ did, but dwells in all who keep Jesus’ commandments. His stay with them is not temporary but permanent. The Spirit will be Jesus himself in a different form. He will teach them, counsel them, console them and will be recognized by them in the peace they experience. This peace is Jesus’ gift to them. So is his Spirit. They are one and the same reality.
John has put together in this chapter; once independent sayings of Jesus about divine presence and divine indwelling. Jesus speaks of the indwelling of the Spirit (14: 15-17), Jesus himself (14: 18-22), and the Father (14: 23-24). This is the same divine reality or presence, experienced by the Christian in different forms.
In verse twenty-three, “Those who love me will keep my word,” “Love” (agape) is synonymous with “keeping my word.” It is not a feeling but an attitude that exists in an atmosphere, the atmosphere created by awareness of the divine indwelling. “Word” is synonymous with “commandment.” It includes, but is broader than, specific directives. “Keeping the word” is enfleshing the presence, the divine indwelling, by relating to others with the same attitude as God does.
“My Father will love them,” that is, will treat them as they treat others.
“We will come to them,” Jesus’ focus, at this point, is on the Father and Son as a unit, but it will shortly include and involve the Spirit as well. In verse twenty-one, Jesus said, “I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Now, the Father is included. “Coming to him,” “loving him,” “revealing to him,” and “dwelling in him” are all different ways of saying the same thing. This indwelling is neither available to the world nor confined only to a few. It is open to all who meet the above stipulations. It is not a mystical experience of the esoteric kind, for that would not be accessible to all. It is like what Paul means by being “in Christ,” only the focus is reversed to being “Christ in us.” The Greek word translated as “dwelling” is mone, not a geographical place but a condition. It is the same word used in John 14:2 (quickview) , “rooms,” to indicate the inner beings, the souls, of Christians.