This week is the 6th Sunday of Easter which means that this wonderful season is drawing to a close as we approach Jesus’ ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7a, Jesus says something quite astounding, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.” I suspect the disciples vehemently disagreed. Jesus went on to explain why, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7b). This term, advocate, is also in our passage for this Sunday, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17).
It is better that Jesus goes away (the Ascension) because it sets the stage for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This text is part of Jesus’ last teaching that he delivered to his disciples before his crucifixion. Knowing that his impending departure would be hard for them, Jesus promised that his leaving would not be the end of His presence with them. Instead, his ascension would provide the opportunity to send “another advocate.” The first “Advocate,” is Christ himself; the second, is the Holy Spirit. This similarity in terms tells us that the Son and the Spirit are united in their work of assisting and advocating for the people of God. This is wonderful news: Jesus intercedes for us in heaven (Romans 8:33-35), and the Spirit intercedes for us and with us as we pray on earth, fulfilling what we lack in our prayers (Romans 8:26).
So, as we continue to face this crisis, in all of its facets, know that you are not alone or on your own. You have an advocate in heaven who continually advances your case before the Father. And you have an advocate on earth who is with you, and in you – the Spirit of truth. He will strengthen you and help you, so rely on him. As it says in our Bible in One Year reading for today, he is our “refuge, a strong tower against the foe” (Psalm 61:3).
I love you and miss worshiping with you. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
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