Pentecost According To The Gospel Of John: Gospel Analysis
Easter 6 John 14:15-21; also Pentecost B (15:26-27, 16:4b-15)
John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15
The following Bible study is from a larger course entitled, THE LIFE OF CHRIST: A Study in the Four Gospels. This 54 week course for the laity will be available for congregations in 2006.
Basic text for the course: SYNOPSIS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS, Kurt Aland, English Edition, P. 293-294.
In this section of the Gospel of John, chapters 14-17, the Holy Spirit is The Divine Presence whom we call to be at our side e.g. a friend, counselor, or helper in order to strengthen us to testify and witness on behalf of Jesus.
Paraclete. In the Greek language, “para” means “to the side of” and “clete” means “called.” A “paraclete” is a person who one calls to your side, in order to strengthen you.
*This Paraclete will be near us and in us.
*This Paraclete will be with us in all circumstances of life and for all time.
*This Paraclate, the Spirit of truth, will lead us into all the truth about everything.
*This Paraclete will be sent by God the Father and God the Son.
*This Paraclete will testify about Jesus and make the life of Jesus alive in us.
*This Paraclete will convince us of the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment.
The word, “Paraclete,” occurs four times in this section of John 14-17. It occurs once in I John 2:1.
The word, “Paraclete,” is often translated as “advocate.” The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Christ, is our advocate who is called to be by our side and thereby strengthen us. To strengthen us for life and to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.
The word, “Paraclete,” is a legal term from the first century with connotations of a defense attorney who comes to our side and advocates for us. The Holy Spirit comes to our side and advocates in behalf of the truth about Jesus Christ.
#318. The Promise Of The Paraclete
In the above title for this section, put a line through the word, “paraclete,” between the letter “a” and the “letter “c.” In the Greek language, “para” means “to the side of” and “clete” means “called.” A “paraclete” is a person who one calls to your side, in order to strengthen you.
-If you love me, you will keep my commandments. In this section, we hear Jesus’ teaching that the primary way we show our love for God and Jesus is to keep/do the commandments of love.
This teaching of Jesus is basic. If we love Jesus, we keep his commandments and his commandments are to love. We are to love God with all our heart, might and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Circle the word, “keep,” and mark “1” near it. This will be the first of seven references (in this section of John 14-17) to Jesus asking his disciples of old and disciples today to “keep” his commandments. This is the way we express our love to Jesus is by keeping his commandments.
And what are his commandments? This will be answered clearly in the coming verses: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Circle the word, “love,” every time that you see it in this section. “Love” is Jesus’ commandment in the Gospel of John. The word, “love,” is used 21 times in the gospel of John. The word, “love,” is used repeatedly in this section of John’s gospel of love. It occurs 17 times in these chapters.
The way a person shows his/her love for Jesus is to keep his commandments.
What is “love?” In the Greek language, the word for “love” in the Gospel of John is “agape love” which can be translated “charitable love.”
In American, “love” is intuitively thought as “love for another person such as a lover, a spouse, or a mate. It is also intuitively thought as “love” for one’s family such as children, parents, and grandparents. It is intuitively thought as “love” for one’s friends, neighbors, or close associates. But Jesus has chosen another Greek word for “love” which emphasizes that this love is for people in need, for people who cannot pay back. This love is purely a gift, not earned, not deserved, not expected. The King James Version of the Bible translates this Greek word as “charity” but that translation seems too narrow. “Charitable love” may be the best translation.
-And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. Focus on “another advocate.” Jesus was and is the first advocate for us.
We hear about Jesus and the way that Jesus advocates for us before the Father by atoning for our sins. From I John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The second advocate for us in his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of his love.
The Advocate is the Paraclete.
A dictionary on the Web (The Free Dictionary) defines Advocate as follows:
tr.v. ad·vo·cat·ed, ad·vo·cat·ing, ad·vo·cates
To speak, plead, or argue in favor of. See Synonyms at support.
1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender: an advocate of civil rights.
2. One that pleads in another's behalf; an intercessor: advocates for abused children and spouses.
3. A lawyer.”
The Greek language emphasizes one who is called to our side in order to strengthen us and help us. “Clete” comes from the Greek word, “called,” and “para” comes from the Greek word, “to our side.” The paraclete is someone who is called to stand beside us to give us strength and wisdom such as counselor, an attorney, a good friend. It is any person who we want at our side during the good times and bad times in order to help us.
In today’s medical world, we need an “advocate” for us when we are in the hospital.
The word, “advocate,” is from a court scene involving ancient legal imagery. Today we think of prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, and justices. The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus who comes to stand at our side and give us strength and support. The Holy Spirit is at our side, giving us strength and support for life and also advocates for mercy on the last day when we are in the final court when God judges the righteous from the unrighteous.
The advocate who defends us is the Spirit of the Risen Christ. The human Christ was our first advocate. The Risen Christ, the Spirit of truth, is our second advocate.
The adversary who accuses us is the power of evil.
In the early days of Christianity, followers of Christ were dragged before the courts and were promised that the Holy Spirit would give them the words to speak. Mark 13:11, “When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
Today, we think the word, “counselor” (Revised Standard Version’s translation of the Greek word “paraclete”) as a legal counselor or a psychological counselor.
Underline the words, “with you” and the word, “forever.” God’s Spirit is with us and in us at this moment and also during every moment of our lives…forever.
-This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. The Spirit is the spirit of truth. This Spirit of truth invites honesty in all relationships. We will find the phrase, “Spirit of truth,” repeated three times in this short section.
The Spirit will lead us into truth about Jesus, God, ourselves, human relationships, science and everything else under heaven.
The Spirit of truth will convince us about the truth of Jesus, his death on the cross and the gift of everlasting life. The Spirit of truth will convince us to love God and neighbor.
The world is always opposed to Jesus Christ and the truth that he brings. The world neither knows nor sees the truth of God in the person of Jesus.
-You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. Underline the words, “know,” “abides,” “with you,” and “in you.” We know the Spirit of Christ because he lives with us and in us. Sheep know the voice of the shepherd and Jesus is our shepherd. We are attuned to his voice. We know Jesus’ voice because he lives with us and in us.
Focus on the word, “him.” “Him” is the Holy Spirit who lives in us and will be with us.
In John, Jesus repeats certain phrases often e.g. “in you” and “with you.” In this chapter, this is the first example of his indwelling presence.
The word abide means “live.” We are to live in Christ and Christ is to live in us. We are to live in Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit lives in us.
The word, “abide,” is a dominant word in the Gospel of John and is repeated often. 17 of the 18 times the word, “abide,” occurs in the New Testament are from the Gospel or Epistles of John. The word “abide” is a uniquely Johannine word that is used almost exclusively in the books that bear his name.
-I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. The Greek word is “orphani” from which we get our English word, “orphaned.” Jesus will not leave us as orphans in this world, abandoned, isolated and alone. The RSV interprets this word as “desolate” but the NRSV translates the word as “orphaned.” Jesus is coming to us.
Shortly, we will hear that God the Father is coming, and for a moment, we cannot figure out who is coming to us, God the Son or God the Father or God the Spirit. All three of them are used interchangeably.
-In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; Jesus is soon leaving this life and this world and this world will no longer see Jesus. Followers of Christ will see Jesus because Jesus will live in them/us.
-Because I live, you also will live. Yes, Jesus was raised from the dead by the powers of God and is alive. Christ is alive in us and therefore we are more alive because of that simple fact. Because Christ lives forever, we too shall live forever. If Christ does not live forever, neither shall we live forever.
-On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. In the day when you believe in Christ, you will know that Christ is in the Father and we are in Christ and Christ is in us. This is the second example of Jesus’ teaching about mutual indwelling.
-They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; Circle the word, “and.” Also circle the word, “keep” and the word, “love.” This is the second time Jesus teaches us that when we love Christ, we keep his commandments to love. It is not enough simply to have his commandments or to recite his commandments, but to keep and do his commandments of love. A way of showing Christ that we love him is to do his commandments of love. The Bible does not emphasize that we show our love for Christ by attending Sunday worship, praying, tithing, and reading the Bible. Rather, we show our love for Christ by doing his commandments of love in our daily lives. This is not to minimize the importance of worship, praying, financial sharing and reading the Bible but we are to put such activities into perspective. Jesus is persistent in his teachings that that way we show love to Christ is by loving God and others. A deep temptation for Christians is to “do” the churchy things like worship, praying and tithing as a substitute for loving. Obviously, we are to do both.
-And those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ When we show that we love Christ by keeping his commandments of love, God the Father loves us for being and living that way. When Christ is in us and we are obeying his commandments of love, Christ will reveal himself to us. Those people who walk in love understand Christ and Christ reveals himself to them.
-Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Why doesn’t the world know Christ? Because people in the world do not know his voice, do not believe in him nor walk in his commandments.
-Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Circle the word, “keep.” A third time in these teachings we hear that a person who loves Christ keeps his commandments. As we are lovingly obedient, the Father loves us.
We recall in John 15 that those whom Jesus calls friends are those who do/keep his commandments of love.
Circle the word, “we.” Who is the “we?” Circle the word, “our.” Both the Father and the Son will come and make their home in us.
-Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; Circle the word, “keep.” A fourth time we have heard this refrain: a person who loves Christ keeps his words and commandments. A person who does not love Christ does not keep his commandments to love. Jesus is persistently driving this point home.
-And the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. The words that Jesus teaches are not his own but were revealed to him and given to him by God the Father.
-I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
-But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. The Holy Spirit is again called the Advocate. The Holy Spirit will be the teacher, just as Jesus was the teacher here on earth. The Holy Spirit takes the words of Jesus and makes them alive in our hearts.
In this passage, the Father is sending the Holy Spirit, whereas in other passages, Jesus will be sending the Holy Spirit.
#323. The Witness Of The Paraclete
The gospel lesson for Pentecost, Series B, begins here:
Put a line through the word, “paraclete,” between the letter “a” and the “letter “c.” In the Greek language, “para” means “to the side of” and “clete” means “called.” A “paraclete” is a person who one calls to your side, in order to strengthen you.
-When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. Circle the word, “advocate” and write “paraclete” near it. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will testify on Jesus’ behalf.
Circle the word, “send.” Jesus will send this Spirit to us from the Father. The word, “send,” is also a legal term. The ancient courts sent emissaries with messages. Jesus had been sent to the earth by God the Father with his message of love for God and neighbor. So also the Holy Spirit will be sent by God the Father with his message of Jesus which is the message of love for God and neighbor. We Christians will soon discover that we too are to be sent out into the world with the message of Jesus about love for God and neighbor.
Underline the phrase, “Spirit of truth.” Christians are always lead into the truth in all aspects of life. Christians are not afraid of the truth but want all the truth about God, Christ, science, religion, history, ourselves, our universe. But the most important truth is the message of Jesus: love for God and neighbor.
Circle the word “testify” and remember that this word is also a word from an ancient legal system. People testify in courts. Jesus testified to the world about loving God and neighbor. The Spirit of truth, living today, also testifies to the world about loving God and neighbor. The word “testify” also means “witness.” Christians are witnesses for Christ. We know about witnesses from our court system. Witnesses are to testify to the truth. The Advocate/Spirit of truth testifies to the truth about Jesus and the truth of his identity and message. We Christians also witness and testify to the truth about Jesus, his death and resurrection, his presence with us in all circumstances, his message about the love of God and neighbor.
-You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. The Spirit will testify about Jesus Christ. This Spirit of truth has been with Jesus from the beginning of time and his time here on earth. We Christians are also to testify and witness to the world about the fundamental truth of loving God with all our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbors as ourselves.
#325. The Work Of The Paraclete
-But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Repeatedly in this section of the Gospel of John, Jesus told his disciples that he was returning to the Father who had sent him to earth.
-But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. The disciples were rightfully sad that Jesus was going away. As human beings, we always grieve when someone we love is going to leave us physically and apparently for a long time.
-Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. Before Jesus left this earth, he promised to send another advocate, another counselor, another spiritual presence and power to be with us and in us. It is to our advantage that we have Jesus’ spirit to be with us and in us. Jesus’ physical body cannot be “with us” and “in us.” But Jesus’ Spirit, the Holy Spirit, can be throughout the whole wide world in a way that Jesus’ physical body could not be.
-And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: Circle the words, “sin,” “righteousness,” and “judgment.”
-About sin, because they do not believe in me; The essence of sin is not to believe in Christ. By now, we know what it means to believe in Christ. “Believe in” is a favorite word of John. We have learned the magic acronym for believing: TOKY, trust, obey, know and say “yes” to Christ. Sin is not the violation of the moral law of the Ten Commandments as much as it is to not believe in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit will prove the world wrong about the true identity of Jesus Christ.
-About righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; Above the word, “righteousness,” write the words, “right relationships.” That is what the Holy Spirit proves for us: right relationships which are pleasing to God and also pleasing to ourselves.
The world has its view of what is right, and the Holy Spirit will prove the world wrong. The Holy Spirit will verify good and healthy relationships which the world does not believe in.
-About judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. The world will be proven wrong about Satan, the devil, the trickster, the ruler of this world.
Hordes of people still follow the “ruler of this world” today, following the false values of a culture and civilization that does not believe in the Lord God nor follow the loving ways of the Lord God. The Spirit of truth convinces us that the world and its values are hollow and empty, in spite of all their glamour and attractiveness.
So the Holy Spirit comes to convince the world (and the church) the truth about Jesus, the truth about sin, the truth about righteousness, the truth about judgment and this world in which we live.
-I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
-When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; Underline the phrase, “Spirit of truth.” This is the third time we have heard this phrase in this short section. Christians are not afraid of the truth whether it be truth in religion, history, science, psychology or whatever. Christians are always on a quest for truth. Circle the phrase, “all the truth,” and underline the word, “all.” Christians are on a quest for truth in all aspects of life and eternal life. Christians are not afraid of complexity nor mystery but are forever searching out the truth.
-For he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. The Spirit will speak from the heart and mind of the Father and the Son, the Creator and the Redeemer. The Spirit will enable us to discern the future. That is, Christians will have a vision into an eternity with God in heaven.
-He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. This is the fundamental function of the Spirit: to glorify Jesus Christ, declare Jesus Christ as the Word from God, and emphasize the role of Jesus Christ in each of our lives. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus Christ alive in each one of us.
In other books in the New Testament, when the Holy Spirit fills Christians, they/we speak boldly and effectively about Jesus Christ and his powerful presence in their/our lives.
-All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Think of some examples from your life where you called someone to your side to strength and help you. Share those stories
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