Summary: The Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus and the Father to continue the work Jesus began, and to do so in and through the disciples.
“I Will Send You Another . . .”
John 14: 15 – 17, 25, 26; 15: 26; 16: 7 – 15
Introduction: Jesus sends us a baby-sitter!
1. When as children our parents had to go away, they got us a baby-sitter (or maybe now you act as a baby-sitter!)
a. The baby-sitter is supposed to look after the children in the absence of the parents.
b. The baby-sitter’s job is to remind the children of what their parents have taught them (especially about how to behave!).
c. Our parents, of course, come back. Our having a baby-sitter is just a temporary situation.
2. At this point in John’s Gospel, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his departure (his death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father). Very soon he will no longer be physically present with them. Jesus tells his disciples in 13:33: “Little children, I am with you only a little while longer.” His disciples did not understand what he meant. They did not understand that he had to die. One writer expresses the situation very well: “Jesus’ death and departure thus presented the disciples, and the church, with a crisis far greater than simply the loss of their teacher and friend. Jesus’ death and return to God marked the end of the incarnation. If the revelation of God is lodged in the incarnation, what happens when Jesus is gone? Was Jesus’ revelation of God possible for only the first generation of believers? Was Jesus’ revelation of God thus limited to one particular moment in history, or does it have a future?” In other words, how would Jesus’ work continue? And how would his disciples manage without him?
1. Why do Jesus and the Father send the Spirit?
a. Jesus does not leave us alone. Because Jesus does not want, nor does he intend, to leave us alone. He tells his disciples: “I will not leave you orphaned.” Jesus is going away, and he knows that we need help – divine help – if we are going to be his disciples in his “absence.” The Spirit is the “Helper” he is going to send.
b. Jesus’ work must continue. Jesus also sends the Spirit because his work must continue. While the incarnation – the time of the Word made flesh dwelling with us – is ending here, the work that was begun is not going to stop. Jesus even says that what will happen when he leaves and sends the Spirit will be even greater than what has happened while he was with them: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” Can you believe this? We are, as Jesus’ disciples, able to do greater works than those of Jesus when he was physically present on this earth! This is why he says: “It is to your advantage that I go away” (16:7).
2. What does Parakletos mean?
a. Jesus uses the Greek term parakletos (verses 14: 16, 26; 15: 26; 16: 7) to describe the person and work of the Spirit. This word is translated different ways: counselor, comforter, helper, friend, and advocate. Translated literally it means “one called alongside.” Use the Chuck Colson illustration about the repair man.