Devotion for Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Lectionary Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter:
1 Peter 3:13-22
Collect of the Day: O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right, and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Hymn of the Day: Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice (LSB 556)
In this past Sunday’s Gospel lesson, Jesus shares a bit more about the Holy Spirit with His disciples than they’d been told so far; it’s almost like an introduction. Jesus is telling them that once He leaves, He’ll be sending another Helper in His stead – not so much a replacement, but one who will continue helping them where He left off.
Those of you who watched the service out of St. Paul’s Austin this past Sunday heard Pastor Brian Wolfmueller talk about this. He explained that the word that is translated as ‘Helper’ in verse 16, and was translated as Comforter in the old King James version, is the Greek word ‘paraclete.’ It refers to someone who stands with you in a court of law, like a lawyer or legal aid. This term is used of only one other person in the Bible, in 1 John 2:1 when John tells us that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. John is telling his readers that Jesus is there to speak on our behalf and defend us when we are presented with our sins by the Father. It’s actually this passage, and others like it, that give us the image of the heavenly courtroom where the Father sits as Judge and Satan as the prosecution while Jesus stands as our defence attorney – but when we picture this scene in our heads, we’re often forgetting one of the major players: the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our advocate also, He helps us to know the legal requirements of our station and direct us in them. We call it faith. The Spirit comes and brings us faith so that we would know the Father and the Son, believe in them and what they teach us about life and themselves, and once we realize that we have not kept the Law of God, that same faith delivers the gift of forgiveness that our Saviour won for us. Back to the heavenly courtroom for a second, the Holy Spirit is the one who not only gave you Jesus’ number to get a hold of Him, but actually set you up with an appointment and brought you to meet Him. In the waters of Holy Baptism (which Peter talks about in our epistle lesson on Sunday) The Holy Spirit gives us that faith and makes us one of God’s children, effectively making us one of Jesus’ clients for every spiritual court appearance.
When teaching the third article of the Apostles’ Creed to my confirmands, I always emphasis that the Holy Spirit has one job, and that’s to point to Christ. In our text, Jesus tells the disciples that the Helper, the Spirit, will be with them/us forever and help us to do what He urges of them in the line before: “If you love me, you will hold fast to my teachings.” I know that your Bible says ‘keep my commandments’, and yes the Law and commandments are a part of what Jesus taught them, but I talked about that in my sermon on Sunday so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffice to say, that ‘keeping the commandments’ is definitely a part of holding fast to Jesus’ teachings, but Jesus doesn’t just teach the Law, He also gives us the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit came to point us to ALL of Jesus, not just a part of Him. He came to teach both the Law and the Gospel – both the keeping of God’s commandments, and the assurance of forgiveness for when they were broken. He wasn’t sent to show you miracles, make you speak in tongues, or miraculously heal you. He wasn’t sent to help you get to your earthly destination safely, bring you earthly wealth, or even to help you feel good about yourself and your situation in life. He was sent for one purpose – to point to Jesus. Helps you by giving you faith that points to Jesus. He helps you by giving you faith to trust in His teachings and receive that gift of forgiveness that Jesus won for you. He helps you by keeping you in that faith through the high times and the lows. Through it all the Paraclete is by your side, never leaving you alone, and always directing your attentions back to where they should be: on Jesus.
Lord God, Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for the faith that You have planted in us, and we pray that throughout our lives you would continue to feed it that it would remain strong and true trusting always in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for our salvation, in Whose name we pray. Amen.
In Christ and His service,