aEaster6 29 May 2011
Peace – B IN
GMP – Text from the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John in Chapter 14 of the Gospel which he penned.
In his writing the Small Catechism, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther begins the teaching of each of the commandments, “We should fear and love God so that…” He also teaches that we remember our daily activities are an illustration of our fear and love of God. This makes today’s Gospel text rather easy at first hearing, doesn’t it.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
v21a Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.
We demonstrate our love of God each day through our following His commandments. Right? [PAUSE]
Why, we do our very best at not using God’s name in vain (II), we come to worship almost every week (III), we fondly remember our obedient relationship with our parents AND those placed in authority over us (IV), most of us have never *killed* anyone – much less murdered (V), we have been true to our marriage vows or to life-long celibacy (VI), we don’t permanently borrow (or ‘steal’) anything (VII), we *only* say good and uplifting things about people…including our government, much less lie about them(VIII) and finally, we never desire anything or anyone from anyone else’s household (IX X). We do our very best indeed.
So, let’s go back to the First Commandment…Here Father Luther teaches that “We should fear love and….TRUST in God above all things.” Trust – do we do that in ALL things? Or do we try our very best to do things as WE see they should be done? Do we rely on God for guiding us into employment, selecting civic leaders, raising our children or making financial decisions? It might be suggested that if we do not seek God’s desires for everything we do….if we do NOT pray over decisions in all facets of our life…if we do NOT spend time in Scripture learning His lessons there, then perhaps we have forsaken a gift from God. A gift given to each baptized Christian,…a gift that our Lord promises us here:
[II. The Promised Παράκλητος (Parakletos)]
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 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.
‘another Helper’ – ‘another’ since our Lord has been with them for sometime helping the disciples understand the Tor-áh and the prophets. It should be recognized that the Greek word Παράκλητος translated here as ‘helper’ might be better understood as a ‘Counselor’ or ‘Advisor’ which are also appropriate English words for Παράκλητος. You see, as our Lord points out about the world,…those who live in the World and not in the fear, love and trust God do not understand what it is to rely on God for guidance. Many folks give themselves full credit for gaining good employment, appreciable wealth, plentiful & healthy harvests or maybe even being uplifted and educated in their worship.
Well, Scripture tells us that this is not the case. In the words of St James [1:17]:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..”
When we think it is our wisdom which has delivered for us, we need to again remember the words of James [3:15,17]:
15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. … 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits…
And from where does this ‘wisdom from above’ come from? Our Counselor, not from the World, no. Since our Lord tells us that the World “neither sees [the Spirit] nor knows him”. And because of this blindness of the World, many are lost because they rely on the ways of the World…the teachings of the World…that the World knows best.
Yet as baptized children of the Most High God, you and I can take comfort. Why? Because our Lord Jesus Christ promised us that He would never leave us, that we would always have a Helper, a Counselor, an Advisor…a Παράκλητος. It is the Holy Spirit who guides our decisions when we “fear, love….and TRUST” God above all things. Since the moment of our baptism, the Παράκλητος lives in us. The Counselor is with you, the Counselor is with me and we all know, in St Paul’s words from Galatians 3[:28] we “are all one …in Christ Jesus.”
And we love our Lord. Not perfectly, no…and we know this since we say those words in each Divine Service: we “have not loved God with our whole hearts, we have not love our neighbors as ourselves”, but…BUT thanks be to the work of the Παράκλητος, our counselor, the Holy Spirit, we also say that we “humbly repent of [these sins] and pray, Father, of Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy innocent, bitter sufferings and death of your beloved Son, to be gracious and merciful to” us.
What then? What follows? The blessed words of God spoken by His blessed under-shepherd, the pastor, those words which are so sweet, those words we hear by…the work of our Παράκλητος : that God “forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
We hear that our sins….are….forgiven! And we can recall our Saviors words from today…
[III. Paid For and Forgiven]
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 … you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. …
Jesus has not left us as orphans, but as adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Sons and daughters whose sins are forgiven by God through the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which was spilled out on the Cross for your sins … and mine. And in His own words, Christ tells us in John 15[:13],
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
For this love He has demonstrated with His Blood, as well as for the blessings of breath, food and protection which He gives to us each day…. we love him, we “fear, love and trust” in Him. And when we are quiet & listen, our Παράκλητος reminds of our Lord’s words….
21b And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
He manifests Himself to us…in the Sacrament of Baptism, in Absolution, in the hearing of Scripture, in the Sacrament of the Altar. You and I can touch Him, you and I can hear His voice, you and I can feel His hand upon us, and we KNOW that He is with us “until the very end of the age”
Finally…in the end…when God has determined the time, you and I…and all the company of Heaven will join together as our Lord returns for the last time. When every knee shall bow. When, thanks be to God for the work of our Παράκλητος, you and I will hear those wonderful and blessed words…
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21)
in nomine jesu