Summary: The Holy Spirit is given to all who love Jesus Christ, to empower us for his work, to teach us all things, and to give us a real and lasting peace in the knowledge that Jesus has overcome the world.
It seems to me that there are 2 issues that Christians face today that Jesus addresses here in this passage.
The first is the question as to how we’re rating as a Christian. That is are we good enough for God to be happy with us? Are we good enough that God would listen to our prayers? How do you rate as a Christian?
The second issue has to do with how we know what’s the right thing to do; how we decide what we’re to do or say at any one moment.
Last week we saw how John 14 begins with the disciples being faced with just this problem. Jesus has just told them that he’s about to leave them, then he says these words to reassure them: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” They’re clearly meant as words of comfort but you can imagine some of them thinking “That’s all very well, but it’s just pie in the sky when you die. I’m worried about what’s going to happen in the next few months when Jesus isn’t here to help us and guide us.” Up until now they’ve hardly done a thing without Jesus being there to direct them, or to correct them. Now they’re going to be on their own. It’s like the first time you’re allowed to take a car out for a drive by yourself; or how I imagine a pilot feels when they’re sent up to fly solo for the first time. The instructor’s not there anymore and everything depends on you.
So Jesus sets out to give them some more reassurance.
“If You Love Me.”
The first bit of reassurance he gives them comes in the form of a proposition: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Notice this isn’t a conditional statement so much as a statement of where they are with him. Those who are worried about how they rate as Christians might well read this as a test. If you keep his commandments you’ll get a good score. But in fact Jesus’ implication is that they do love him. That’s not in question. In the next chapter he’ll point out that he considers them his friends. It’s because they love him that he’s confident they’ll keep his commandments. If you think about it that’s how loving relationships work isn’t it? When we love someone we’re glad to do what pleases them. Our children occasionally need to be disciplined for not doing what they’re told, but mostly they do it, not from fear of punishment but because they love us and they know we love them and so they want to do what we need done.
So there’s the first bit of reassurance. They don’t need Jesus with them physically in order to do what’s right; they’ll do it anyway, just because they love him.
But then he promises them someone who’ll continue the relationship they have with him. He says “16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”