Gospel of John: Sweet Breath of God


It was their last time together before the cross. The disciples surely had a growing sense of how this night was different than all other nights. What Jesus had just finished explaining to them, was both disturbing and unsettling.

He was going away, and they could not follow. But he would be preparing places for them, and he would come back for them.

That place would be with the Father. In answer to their sputters of bewilderment, Jesus reassured them they knew the Father and they knew the way, since he was the visible brilliance of God’s glory, and he was also the way.

Finally, Jesus promised them they would be empowered to do even greater works than he had done, and he would grant whatever was asked in his name.

Jesus linked his promise to three things.


PRAYER

So, whatever you would ask in my name, this I will do, in order that the Father would be glorified in the Son—if you would ask me in my name, that I will do.

Jesus to the disciples, John 14:13-14

It had to have been a startling statement.

This is the first time Jesus invited his disciples to pray to him, “If you would ask -Me- anything in -My- name.” 

And for what purpose? “That the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The goal of our prayers is ultimately to advance God’s purposes and bring God glory.

Praying in the way Jesus is talking about is deep and profound. He means acknowledging that he is Lord, and that his purposes, his will, and his agenda, is what we are asking for. As God, Jesus knows our needs, and also the needs of everyone concerned. Jesus knows the perfect solution, the best way, the truest course. To pray in Jesus’ name is to allow the Lord to conform our will to God’s will, not to bend God’s will to ours. You and I work in partnership with the Lord, willing to do whatever Jesus asks if that will further his kingdom, trusting him for the resources.

OBEDIENCE

The natural overflow of their love for Jesus would be evident in keeping his commandments.

If you all love me, my precepts you will give heed to, guard, and keep.

Jesus to the disciples, John 14:15

Our love is not measured by our doctrine.

Our love is measured by our obedience to the Lord.

If you and I took this literally, what would we change about our life starting right now, today? I’ve been wondering. I think one thing for sure, I’d have to pay better attention to my surroundings, because I feel certain there are those I could help that I just have not seen.

HOLY SPIRIT

I will also ask the Father so another advocate/intercessor will be granted to you, in order that this one [be] with you into eternity. The Spirit of Truth.”

Jesus to the disciples, John 14:16-17a

The Holy Spirit would be a gift from the Father, given by the Son. One God, three Persons.

The Trinity

There are a few words that we bandy about all the time as Christian lingo, but they never actually appear in the Bible. For example, “nativity.” We know exactly what that word means, it immediately conjures up some version of Mary with the infant Jesus, and Joseph by her side. But the word nativity—which simple means “the occasion of a person’s birth” from the Latin nativus, “arisen by birth”—is not in the Bible.

Same with “trinity.” That word is found nowhere in the Bible, but you and I can see passages like this and be instantly reminded of this foundational Christian concept.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the doctrine of the Trinity is “commonly expressed as the statement that

the one God exists as or in three equally divine ‘Persons’, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” 

You and I benefit from centuries of deep philosophical deliberations and doctrinal debates over each word of the above statement.

  1. Consubstantial—in Greek, homoousios. All three persons of the Godhead are of the same essence or substance.
  2. Divine—which means if one is divine, all are equally divine, as Jesus explained throughout the Gospel of John, but most specifically in chapter 5
  3. Three-In-One—As Deuteronomy 6:4-5 emphatically avers, the Lord God is one, while at the same time, Jesus made clear, there is the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit.

Although they are distinct, all work together with one mind in all things.

God the Father is considered to be the first Person of the Trinity. That does not mean the Father existed first. God is eternal, with no beginning of any kind. There is no such thing as God having partly existed as the Father, and then later more fully existing as the Son and the Spirit. God, the triune God, fully existed as we know God now, from always, from before the beginning, each Person completely equal in every attribute, though distinct in personality and work.

The Lord Jesus Christ Jesus was a man like the disciples were men. He was born like any person, grew up in the ordinary way, made a living, supported a family. Yet Jesus alone held within him the divine glory of God. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, God was pleased to have all God’s fullness dwell in Jesus. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of God’s being.

For the disciples, this was the concept Jesus was asking them to really grapple with that night, before the cross.

That Jesus is

  • both fully God and fully man.
  • the word by which the Father spoke and brought all things into being.
  • the word which sustains all things.
  • the one through whom the world is judged.
  • The one through whom the Father’s plan of salvation is fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit would be “another” sent by God to be with the disciples, and all believers, into eternity. In Greek, the word “another” means “comparable other” an interchangeable other, in kind. The Spirit would be comparable to Jesus, a Counselor, Encourager, and Comforter. The word παράκλητον means “One called along side to help, to strengthen and encourage.” As their strong help, the Holy Spirit would take over the work Jesus had been doing with them.


Again, the room filled with a sudden wind, only this time rather than hot and stinging, the breeze that brushed their skin and lifted their hair was cool and sweet, fresh and aromatic, as though carried on the breath of jasmine. Each person felt a strange stirring, frissons of peaceful joy and heightened anticipation.

Even Jesus lifted his face and closed his eyes, to breath deeply and take in its gentle embrace. The light of the oil lamps danced on the walls, and a soft rustling swept over their robes and the table’s cloth.

In one window, then out the other, unexpected, lifting their spirits, then gone as mysteriously as it had come.


[Holy Spirit | Erik Albers, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons]

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