John 14-16 is like Jesus’ biography of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s chief attribute is holiness, and it is crystal clear that Jesus’ aim is to get the Holy Spirit into His disciples. That includes us.
In the previous post, I introduced the idea of HOW God makes us holy – of how we grow in holiness.
Listen to the repetitive uses of the words “in” and “with” throughout John 14-16 (all quotes NRSV):
- 14:3 – “that where I am, there you may be also”
- 14:10 – “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”
- 14:10 – “My Father lives in Me and does His work through Me”
- 14:11 – “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”
- 14:16 – the “Advocate will be with you forever”
- 14:17 – “He abides with you, and He will be in you”
- 14:20 – “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you”
- 14:23 – “We [My Father and I] will come to them and make Our home with them”
- 15:4 – “Abide in Me as I abide in you”
- 15:4 – “neither can you [bear fruit] unless you abide in Me”
- 15:5 – “Those who abide in Me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing.”
- 15:6 – “Whoever does not abide in Me”
- 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you”
- 15:9 – “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; abide in My love.”
- 15:10 – “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
- 15:26 – “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father”
- 16:7 – “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you”
- 16:32 – “I am not alone because the Father is with Me”
In John 14-16, Jesus is speaking to His disciples – leaders He is mentoring and raising up to be full-time ministers in His Name – His closest friends and confidants – those who knew Him best and believed in Him the strongest. Jesus is also speaking to us – those whom He has also invited to get to know Him well, and to believe in Him strongly.
Look: “The Holy Spirit” – holiness is part of His Name! And if Jesus is sending Him to live in us, then we will have the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of holiness – living in us! Abide in the Spirit, and the Spirit will abide in you.
While Jesus was on earth with His disciples, the ONLY way they could “abide” with Him was to remain physically present with Him. And even then, they could only abide “with” Him, not “in” Him (nor He in them). But by leaving, by shedding the limiting shackles of human finitude, Jesus sends the Spirit, of one essence with God and Jesus, having all of God’s unique abilities, including His omnipresence.
Now Jesus (His Spirit) could be with all of them, no matter how spread out they would become, and He would not just merely be with them, He would be in them! This is a massive upgrade! The disciples were distressed and couldn’t understand why He would be leaving them – but Jesus was preparing to disperse Himself throughout the entire world, through His disciples, by sending down the omnipresent Holy Spirit who would abide in every single disciple – complete worldwide permeation of the human race!
In the next post, I will introduce a simple analogy of how we can begin to mutually abide in Christ’s Spirit (Him in us, us in Him) through the concept of “immersion”.