As Christians we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In John 14:6 Jesus states He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Because we believe this to be true, we are called to live according to the teachings of Jesus. He taught some radical ideas – and these ideas were not only radical 2,000 years ago, but still seem hard to swallow today. Jesus did not try to please people with His words; instead He challenged their beliefs and asked them to believe in the God who sent Him. If we don’t allow Jesus’ words to change our lives, what is the purpose of reading them? Join us as we look at these radical concepts, see how they relate to our lives, and allow God, through His word, to change our hearts.
THIS WEEK: The Advocate
Last week we learned what it meant to follow your Rabbi. But what happens when your Rabbi or Teacher is no longer here standing front and center to teach, mold and grow the next generations of Christians? Jesus says in John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” If we were given the chance to choose between having a teacher (and even more so to have that teacher be Jesus) right in front of us or the Spirit most of us would choose the person right in front of us. Jesus was a clear example of how to live as he took on flesh and lived among His people. The Spirit is sometimes not as easy to follow but John 14:6 says this “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate 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.” Jesus left His people in order to be with ALL of His people FOREVER through the Spirit/Advocate/Counselor. We often think of God the Father of the Old Testament coming and going through this world as a burning bush, in the wind, or sending angels as messengers and Jesus lived in this world and walked on the dirt among us for 33 years but the Spirit dwells within each of us FOREVER.
The Spirit dwelling within us should probably change our lives. If I told you that God had given me the gift of being a superstar basketball player you would probably expect me to be able to make a jump shot and dribble circles around anyone with my eyes closed. We have been given the GIFT of the Holy Spirit, which should be a life-altering gift. Better than any birthday or Christmas gift, but much like kids do a week after opening Christmas presents the newness wears off and we look for something else to bring us happiness.
The Holy Spirit is the Advocate for a life well lived. We live a good life by the fruits of the Spirit, which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” When we allow the Spirit to break through into our lives the fruits flourish and multiply. In what ways do you need to let the Spirit have control of your life and your family’s life? Talk to your student(s) about how to be filled with those fruits and then share them with the world around them.