Today’s Chocolate: Green & Black’s 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate
Today’s Passage: John 14
If you don’t want to hear Jesus’ last message to his disciples before his crucifixion, you’d better either close your Bible or skip ahead to John 18. The other gospel authors each spend maybe half a chapter on the Last Supper, but John devotes an entire three chapters to Jesus’ words over the meal, plus a fourth chapter in which Jesus gives a prayer entrusting the disciples to God the Father. It’s time to dig into these meaty chapters, so in the words of professional video game expert Tim Rogers: click that X, or buckle that seat belt. You make the choice.
Overwhelmingly, Jesus is mindful of his impending death. He’s been dropping hints before he even came to Jerusalem, but as usual, it’s not clicking with the disciples. When he tells them, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself” (3), they seem unable to figure out where he might be going if it’s not a physical place. The overwhelming bulk of the chapter is Jesus’ words, with only one interjection each from Thomas, Philip, and the non-traitor Judas. They largely seem puzzled if not outright baffled, but we can only infer so much about how much they understand.
So, one of Jesus’ major themes is that he’s leaving, but won’t leave the disciples helpless. He promises them: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (19). He’s leaving to prepare a permanent place for them in God’s house, and he himself is the route to that house. In the meantime, he encourages the disciples to embrace his peace and not be afraid, saying, “If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I” (28). What is to come is for the best. The disciples may not understand it, they may be confused and hurt in the interim, but time will show that God the Father is bringing about something bigger and better than ever before.
Part of that is the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises: “[The Father] will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth” (16-17). Perhaps you’re familiar with the word “Helper” here, παράκλητος (paraklétos), which refers to more than a simple helper. It’s a comforter, advocate, intercessor, anyone who’s called to come alongside a person and provide whatever help is necessary. The Holy Spirit’s help is didactic and mnemonic; Jesus explains, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (26). The Spirit provides aid at the level of the mind, correcting our errors, teaching us everything we need to know at every step of the way. And John seems to be suggesting that the Holy Spirit helped him recall Jesus’ words in the very passage we’ve been reading.
But that’s not all the help the Spirit provides. In tomorrow’s passage, we’ll see more of what the Spirit gets up to, and I may even write about it, assuming a better topic doesn’t present itself to me. Fam, there are a lot of words in here.