John 14:17

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

The Spirit of truth, the precious third member of the Trinity, was called the “shy member of the Trinity” by theologian Frederick Buechner.[1] He is ever present, yet unseen. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth, who would be there to remind them about what is true about God, the world, and themselves, indeed truth itself. The Spirit of God is the most real thing about each of us, but sometimes it is hard to believe because he often seems distant and even absent.

Jesus told them that although the world cannot know the Spirit because they have no experience with him, it is not true for those who follow Jesus. We have witnessed the work of the Spirit through Jesus and in our own lives.  The Spirit dwells in us, but so often our minds are bombarded by competing messages, mixed emotions, and unchecked busyness that we fail to hear him whisper.

Jesus, you tell me that your Holy Spirit dwells in me and that he is always with me, but I need to be honest and say that I often don’t experience the Spirit’s presence. I confess my busyness, knowing that it is a blockade to hearing you. Grant me an undivided heart, O LORD.[2] Amen.

[1] Buechner, Holy Spirit—Shy Member of the Trinity, Wipf and Stock, 1984

[2] Psalm 86

John 14:16

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper to be with you forever.”-John 14:16

The atmosphere in the upper room remained unsettled. The disciples were still confused and afraid, trying to make sense of everything they were hearing, seeing, and experiencing. Jesus had washed their feet after dinner, upending their expectations of social order. Then Judas went out into the night after Jesus had talked about betrayal. Jesus told them to love one another, which in turn was a reflection of their love for him. He said that he was going away and that he was one with the Father. That was a lot to process. It still is.

Now, Jesus told them that although he was leaving, he would ask the Father to send them a Helper, one who would not go away. They were thinking, “But Jesus, we want you to be with us forever. Forget about someone else. We are confused and afraid. We have left everything to follow you and now you tell us that you are leaving and that we can’t come along. We don’t want someone else; we want you.”

But Jesus knows what is best. He saw the big picture. He helped to write the cosmic plan. He understood that he must go and that the Spirit should come.

Sometimes we struggle with the same thing. We want Jesus when we are hurting and wonder where he is. We think, “Jesus if only you were here, I wouldn’t hurt so badly and I wouldn’t be so afraid.” But he is here, in the fullness of his Spirit. We have a Helper who does not leave us even in our darkest moments.

Jesus, life is often filled with confusion and fear. I want you to be with me because I am afraid, but you told your disciples, and me through them, that you are with me. Always. Help me to live in the knowledge and comfort of your indwelling Spirit. Amen.