Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Advocate!

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 16-17, Psalm 96, John 16

Verses for the Day
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

Thoughts for the Day
Yesterday, Jesus told the disciples that he was the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through him. This would be their message to the world. Today as Jesus prepares them for His departure he tells them it is good for him to go away for it is for their benefit. I am sure the disciples had a hard time understanding what he meant by this. But Jesus gives the reason for this comment when he states that unless he goes he cannot send them the "Advocate. This was another adjective for the person of the Holy Spirit.

The word for "advocate" in the Greek is the word "parakletos", John's favorite word for the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. It is also translated "comforter" and "counselor". The words means to "come alongside". As Jesus had walked with and came alongside the disciples to show them the Father's love, now the Holy Spirit would be their guide. The Holy Spirit would strengthen and encourage them in their faith, enliven them with God's gifts, and guide them into all truth. Simply put, the disciples would need to rely on the Holy Spirit for everything Jesus had called them to do.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after he rose from the dead, he breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. With this he told them that if they forgave the sins of any, they were forgiven. If they did not forgive them, they were not forgiven. This can be mis-interpreted, but it meant in the power of the Holy Spirit, they could speak the word of God's forgiveness to those who repented and came to the Lord. This is the same absolution we give in the church today as we confess our sins together.

As believers in Jesus, we too have received the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ lives in us. He is our guide and our comforter. Unfortunately in the church we have not taught you enough about the Holy Spirit. As we read through the book of Acts and the letters of Paul, we see the power of the Holy Spirit is the fuel for the mission of the church. In the Old Testament prophecy in the book Zechariah we see the prophet saying, "it is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord." Zechariah 4:6

I thank God and Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are never alone. We always have what we need to live the life God has called us to. The Holy Spirit guides into the truth and sets us free from our sinful nature. Come Holy Spirit and renew our hearts and send us out in Jesus' name.

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