It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Advocate, a Reflection on John 14:15-18

Jesus has just told them, "The one who believes in me will do the works I do." Believing is more than just sitting somewhere alone feeling smug. Believing is doing, and it's doing what Jesus did.

And not just doing but how we do or the attitude we have or the basis for doing--"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Remember his words in 13:34-35, when he gave them the commandment, "that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Note that each "you" is plural. Jesus is talking to the church.

Read ahead to John 15:7-15 to hear this commandment repeated.

Loving others is important to Jesus.

But, it can be hard.

If Jesus were physically standing there next to us watching every move, would it be any easier? He was preparing them for his physical absence. After he was no longer visibly among them, they were supposed to keep on doing what he had already told them to do.

They were not going to have to do this alone. He gave them the promise that God would send to them an Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, who would abide with them and be in them.

Note: In their commentary on John, O'Day and Hylen point out that the word translated as "Advocate" in the NRSV has a wide range of meanings reflected in other English translations as
"Comforter," "Advocate," "Counselor," "Helper."

They point out that the Paraclete plays a larger part in John's gospel than in the others:
The prominence of the Paraclete addresses a key set of theological questions. If Jesus as the incarnate Word brings a distinctive revelation of God to the community, what happens when the incarnation ends? Was the revelation of God in Jesus available only for those who had firsthand experience of the historical Jesus and his ministry? Is Jesus' revelation of God limited to one moment in history, or does it ahve a future beyond its particular historical moment?

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