5!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> The Practice of Jesus
 

John 14 : 23 - 29 ( NRSV )

Jesus answered Judas, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.(23) Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.(24) I have said these things to you while I am still with you.(25) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.(26) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.(27) You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.(28) And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe".(29)

Comment

     Jesus continues His farewell talk to His disciples. He is understood by them to be the visible presence of God among humanity - the person who establishes a new covenant with them.
     Jesus had indicated He would reveal Himself to His disciples but not to the world. "The world" meant those who cannot recognise the Spirit of truth (cf Jn.14:17-21). The disciples had anticipated a general revelation.
     In their name, Judas (not Iscariot) asks why Jesus would limit His self-revelation to His circle of disciples. In the Hebrew tradition the holy Spirit is the spirit of YHWH, which is the same as saying the spirit of justice and liberation. It is the spirit of YHWH that spoke through the prophets proclaiming the truth. When Jesus came, the world was full of falsehoods, myths and deceptions because it was full of injustices. Somewhere else the author identifies truth with love. Jesus' answer to Judas is that those who don't act in His spirit (ie. follow His commands) will not be able to understand Him.
     In is the spirit of Jesus that will remind disciples of His practice. It is the Spirit that reminds us what is in the scriptures we comment on, and which has often been forgotten! Jesus knew that His message was going to be forgotten. The holy Spirit of God, the revolutionary inspiration that exists in the world, is going to adopt the role of advocate or Paraclete, to remind disciples of Jesus' words.
&nbps;    The Hebrews used to greet one another with Shalom and Jesus is saying farewell. He wishes harmony and happiness to disciples who imitate His practice. He wishes for them the happiness of people who are free from all oppression. Among the Hebrews shalom was understood as the enjoyment of the harmony of a united people It was something similar to our word communion! It had been announced by the prophets that the Messiah would bring a permanent reigning of peace. Even animals would be at peace among themselves! All would live in harmony and humanity would be again at peace with God.
     In the Hebrew scriptures heaven is not a place outside the world. YHWH was Creator of heaven as well as the earth. There is a saying in Jesus reported in Matthew's gospel where He affirms that the earth is as sacred as heaven: "Do not swear at all; either by heaven, since that is God's throne; or by earth, since that is God's footstool."(Mt.5:34-35a NJB). Heaven was God's throne and Earth was the platform for God's feet! Jesus doesn't say that He is going to heaven. He says He is going to the Father and adds that He will be coming back from there. In the period after the resurrection, Jesus' life is the source of the diciples' life together. When life in Jesus' Spirit has been received, His followeres will recognise that it is a life mutually shared by "Father" and "Son." The condition for sharing in the indwelling of the Father and Son, is practising Jesus' Word of love. The one who loves is the one who practises the Truth. Those who follow Jesus' commandment to love are assured of a new life in God's reigning.
 
footnotes:
1. [ v.27 ] Peace: The traditional Hebrew salutation salom; but Jesus' "Shalom" is a gift of salvation, connoting the bounty of messianic blessing.
2. [ v.28 ] The Father is greater than I: Because the Father sent, gave, etc., and Jesus is "one who has told you the truth that I heard from God" (Jn.8:40).


 

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