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John 14:23-29

So what if the point of it all is Presence? And what if Presence is peace.

The evangelist John is writing to a community of believers at least forty years removed from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He will state at the end of his theological biography of Jesus Christ that there was much more that Jesus did and said that he did not record, so it can be safely assumed that what he did record was most likely written to address the situation of late first century believers. While the narrative context of John 14 is Jesus’ impending crucifixion, and subsequent departure, the readers’ context would have been the incarnate Christ’s absence. Furthermore, the eye-witnesses to the incarnate Christ were passing away, which might make it seem like Jesus too was becoming more distant.

The pre-resurrection disciples were afraid of the coming absence of the incarnate Christ and the post-resurrection disciples who were several decades away from the incarnate Christ could perhaps identify with that loss. They didn’t get to stick their finger into Jesus’ hands and they didn’t get to eat fish with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. They didn’t get to hear or see or look at or touch Him who was from the beginning. Granted, they would be blessed if they believed without seeing, but still, it would have been nice to have been there.

So Jesus reassured all disciples from every age that He wasn’t going to be as absent as they feared. The incarnate Christ was going to come and make His home with all of those who loved Him. John reported Jesus saying it in the verses preceding this Sunday’s lectionary reading. He told them that there would be SomeOne who would come along-side them and who would bring them not only Himself, but the Father as well!

John 14:15-20 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate (paraclete)to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

Jesus was coming to His disciples in the person of the Paraclete; One who would be right beside them. The Paraclete would make His home with them. He would be as close to them as the incarnate Christ would ever be. The disciples who got to hear and see and look at and touch the incarnate Christ would have nothing over on those who didn’t, for the Christ would be incarnate in them! They could hear and see and look at and touch Christ when they were with others who loved Jesus and followed Him. God was going to inhabit flesh still!

And that’s what they were really wanting to know. Their hearts were troubled because the One they loved was leaving. They didn’t think peace was possible because they would have to live with an aching-forever-longing for their friend. This was really about fellowship. This was really about friendship. They didn’t want to have to say good-by