♦ ♦ ♦ JOHN 14 : 23 – 29 ♦ ♦ ♦ JESUS PROMISES THE HOLY SPIRIT –
Groups facing external threats can react in a number of ways. They might return the violence they suffer. They may turn inwards and become defensive. They may turn against each other. Or they may absorb what they experience and offer it back to the world (even their enemies) as a source of healing. The physical absence of Jesus turns the first three options into real possibilities. But John’s Jesus consistently urges the fourth option. The community of ‘friends’ will hold together as they learn to keep his word by living out the sacrificial service he has modelled – not imitation but the fruit of grace. In the coming of the Spirit, the love that unites Father and Son makes its home with them (v.23), and the Advocate/Spirit will keep Jesus’ teaching alive among his disciples (v.26).
‘My peace’ is ‘not as the world gives’ (v.27; cf. 14.1). It is not enforced by military might. If that makes Jesus’ peace more vulnerable, it also reveals its power to hold together a community that lives with fear and confusion. Jesus’ gift is the source of transforming joy, because his leaving is God’s endorsement of all that he lived and died for.
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