Some people would say that when Jesus promised us eternal life, that would be his greatest promise. But, I would say No. If I am a failure at my current life, then why would I want to live forever? I think Jesus came to save that half of the world that is so depressed, broken, and ashamed, that they only hope for one life to live and that it be short. To them, and those of us who already know the love of Jesus, the greatest promise is found in John 14:15-21 where he promises to send the Holy Spirit into into our lives as a strong, day to day, Advocate. With this advocate, Jesus promises that we will never be like orphans, powerless and nameless. Even the newest Christian, the person of weak faith and who has a horrible personal history, will be able to claim that they are in Jesus and through Jesus, in the creator of the Universe.
These words need to be unpacked in the sermon:
- What did Jesus mean when he used the word Paraclete (comforter, refresher, advocate, helper)?
- How have we experienced being orphaned, or abandoned, and how is the promised Spirit going to change that?
- What does it mean to be in Christ?
These words form the basis for the great promise of life in the Spirit. They also form a good starting place for our summer sabbath (this is Memorial Day Weekend):
- How will you experience the refreshment of the Holy Spirit this summer?
- If Jesus promises not to abandon you, how will this summer reflect your identity as a child of God?
- How will we ground our selves (ie. utilize a daily devotional practice), in Christ?