Recovering Biblical Sanity - John 14:15-31

“... and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. ”
John 14:16-17

There is a sort of echo in John 14:16 of Proverbs 9:10. Solomon said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Jesus particularizes that thought as if to say, "The beholding of Christ is the beginning of truth."

The world is preaching and presenting lies, promoting lies, wrapped in more lies. Our broader culture perpetuates deception, foments confusion, and celebrates incoherent ambiguity masquerading as reality. And the problem is that the world starts with dismissiveness toward Jesus. Our proposed and imagined solutions for the real problems facing us right now are shallow because there's no Jesus.

In v. 1-14, this morning, Jesus said that life with God is accessed through him and his revelation of the Father. He said that to see him is to see the Father. In v. 15-31, Jesus is telling us that the help we all need to see Jesus and step into life with God comes from the Spirit. So, Jesus came to reveal the Father in the flesh. But the Spirit comes to us continually to keep our vision of Jesus fresh. The Spirit gives us alertness to Jesus and aliveness to Jesus in real time. When Jesus says, "I will come to you," in v. 18, he is anticipating his continual visitation among his disciples which will persist by the always present ministry of the Spirit. This includes his continual visitation among his disciples in each subsequent generation.

Then in the context of the promise of the Holy Spirit, John 14:27 reasserts John 14:1. Jesus spoke in v. 1 of the untroubling of our hearts through belief in him, and in v. 27 he speaks of the peace he gives to our troubled hearts by the presence of the Spirit. The peace Jesus offers and even promises to us is not in emotional relief, or the removal of undesired tension. The peace Jesus leaves with us is his very own presence with us through the living Spirit which energized his own life and minsitry. John 14 is unveiling for us the breathtaking mystery of the trinitarian life of God, the fullness of God revealed as Father, Son and Spirit.

And Jesus isn't just articulating these mysteries in theoretical language. Jesus is inviting us into the right now experience of the totality of God. He's not just offering a window to see into the life of God, he's opening a doorway for us to enter into the life of God. But it's not an escape hatch from this world, it is the stabilizing we need to endure this crippling world.

The trouble and pain and darkness of this world is obvious. We don't need help seeing that or being impacted by that. What we do need help seeing is that which is true beyond these unpleasant realities. We need the Spirit of God, to see the Son of God as having come to bring the Kingdom of God into this world that has rejected God. That's necessary if we are to have confidence in the Sovereignty of God and a vision for how to advance the purposes of God as we place our own hope in God.

For his disciples, Roman imperialism was obvious and troubling. Religious corruption and abuse of power among the Jewish leaders was obvious and troubling. The in-breaking of God's Kingdom was hidden. We are similarly troubled by much in our day that is obvious. But where God's Kingdom is making in-roads is hidden. Amidst all the turmoil and chaos, we can't see clearly on our own what God is doing and how we might join him. But if our preoccupation is with the troubles which are obvious, rather than the present rule and reign of Jesus, and the present ministry of the Spirit, we'll miss a major opportunity.

Whenever the kingdoms of this earth are shaking, the Sovereign God is behind the shaking, and it's always to reveal the Kingdom that cannot be shaken. And that Kingdom is manifest visibly on earth by the corporate witness of churches as Kingdom outposts. It's the people of God united by their aliveness to God and obedience to God that will draw a godless world back to God. That's what the church and the world need right now. To come to the end of our selves and to recover a big view of the glorious God who exists eternally as Father, Son and Spirit, to bring salvation to the enslaved masses, forgiveness to guilty sinners, and renewal to a dying world.
Are we ready for this moment?

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