CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FORUM Word for the Day "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". Psalm 119:105
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVEN FOR FRUITFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE St. John. 14: 15 – 21 Vs. 14: 16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Chapters 14 – 16 of the gospel of St. John are known as the Upper Room Discourse or the Farewell discourse of Jesus Christ. After the last Supper at Upper Room, probably of Mark, Jesus disclosed to the disciples his going away to glorify Father (13:33; 36). Disciples calculated, expected and invested their whole future in following Jesus. The sharing of the glory of Jesus’ coming reign was their great expectation (Mtt. 20: 20 – 24). But the unexpected leaving devastated or shattered their whole prospect. Thus their hearts became painfully troubled and disappointed (16: 6 ). In this sorrowful situation Jesus elucidated the meaning, need and benefit of his departure. This discourse Jesus made to edify, encourage and strengthen the disciples ( 16:7 ). Jesus told them that his absence is inevitable and a blessing. Our passage comes under this Farewell discourse.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Jesus said unambiguously that Father would send another Counsellor or Advocate to them in his absence (4:16). Here Jesus makes the first of his reference to the Holy Spirit ( 14: 15-17 & 25-26 ). It is important to note that Jesus speaks of ‘another ’advocate. This means that the first advocate or Counsellor is Jesus himself. Therefore, Holy Spirit is the continuation of Jesus Christ. The word Jesus used for Counsellor or Holy Spirit in Greek is Parakletos. In the New Testament generally the word Holy Spirit is seen ( except in 1Jn.2:21 ) as neuter gender. But in this Farewell discourse it is written in the masculine gender which means Holy Spirit is not a divine power but the very person of God. Parakletos, literally means, one who is called alongside to help, comfort or counsel. This word is variously translated as one who sitting aside to exhort, comfort, guide, entreat, encourage, counsel and advocate. The main three function of the Holy Spirit are well said by Jesus in the following Passages ( 14:16, 15:26, 16: 7-15 ). They are Forensic Function ( 16: 8-11 ) which means the function of a Judge and Advocate), hermeneutic or teaching Function ( 16:13-15 ), and therapeutic or healing Function ( 14: 16-17, 26, 15:26 & 16:7 ). Thus Holy Spirit or Parakletos is another Advocate in the absence of Jesus to be with us during the interim time between the two comings. This Holy Spirit teaches us everything and reminds what Jesus said and done for us ( 14:26 ). Thus Holy Spirit clarifies and convinces who Jesus is and thus the Christological function Holy Spirit is to be well noted. Again Parakletos elucidates salvific act of Jesus Christ and hence the Soteriological function of Holy Spirit is obviously seen.
Holy Spirit for Encouragement The revelation of Jesus’ departure and absence filled fear and disappointment in the hearts of the disciples. Fear tends to paralyze but love releases, Fear imprisons but love frees, Fear sours but love sweetens. Therefore just after telling about his going away ( 13:33 ) Jesus speaks of love (13 : 34-35 ). Here Parakletos does the role of a mother and Friend as helper, supporter, comforter and counsellor. However Parakletos goes beyond these functionary levels. A best friend or mother challenges positively and warns the life ahead. Moreover an intimate friend makes us to confront us to confront the present reality of life by us to go ahead. Therefore, he is our best companion and encourager. The Spirit will fulfill a role parallel to the role Jesus had fulfilled. The comforting ministry and the advocating Ministry of Holy Spirit in them had emboldened them when disciples faced or encountered opposition and persecution. Thus Holy Spirit gives the testimony of Jesus Christ which equips and encourages the believers or the Church for authentic Christian life.
Holy Spirit for Fruitful Life Jesus said that he was the Way, the Truth and the Life ( 14 : 6 ). But in Vs. 17 Jesus says about Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. In this gospel, St. John refers to of three worlds. First, he refers to the entire creation or the Cosmos. Secondly, the world is understood as the dwelling place of Human Beings and lastly as the world of people who believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus says to the disciples, this 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”. Here the world that cannot receive him is the world of people who do not believe in Jesus Christ, Thus Jesus convinces the fact that those who believe in Jesus can only know Holy Spirit. Again He says that he will not leave them or us as orphans. His ongoing presence is assured in the presence of Holy Spirit. Loving one another as Jesus loved leads to a fellowship ( Koinonia ) and through which a community of witnessing Jesus Christ is generated or formed up and fortified. This Holy Spirit gives the testimony of Jesus Christ which will equip the believers for living for Him and serving Him by taking up mission of the crucified in this world (14:12-26 ). Thus the Missiological function of Holy Spirit through the love of cross is well depicted. Risen Lord gives this empowering Holy Spirit to the disciples ( 20: 21-22 ) and commissioning and sending them for the mission of love and salvation. The gift of Jesus’ spirit is with us to guide and instruct to involve in the messiness and the complexity of the world. In brevity, the gift of the Holy Spirit enables, equips and instructs the community of believers or the church for an active involvement in a broken world which God loved so much that he sent his son to save it ( 3:16 ). Thus Holy Spirit calls and challenges us for an ‘in Christ experience’ to own and share and testify a Fruitful Life of Love in this cosmic world.
PRAYER Triune God thank you for your merciful love, care and, for the gift of Holy Spirit to encourage, equip and enlighten us to lead a life bearing fruits of your Love shown on the Cross in our contemporary world of dismay and disappointment. In Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY Holy Spirit who is the Comforter, Counsellor and Advocate is our intimate companion every moment.
REV. DR. MATHEW M. THOMAS, MAR THOMA VALIYA PALLY, CHENGANNUR, KERALAM. Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church
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