“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to 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. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:15-21 NIV [Emphasis added.]

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  John 14:26 NIV

Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit to his disciples during a session of teaching, beginning in the upper room while eating the Passover meal, and on the way to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. This section of scripture, found only in the book of John, is known by biblical scholars as the Upper Room Discourse. It includes
Chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 of John. This section of John is full of promises made by Jesus to this community – His disciples.

Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a counselor, as the Spirit of truth, as a teacher, as God who will live inside of believers. John 17 contains three prayers that Jesus prays for Himself, for the disciples and for all his future followers. This prayer is sometimes referred to as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer”. In John 17:20-23, Jesus expresses God’s love manifested in Jesus for His followers.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23 NIV

Love is a common theme in all of John’s books: the Gospel of John, First, Second and Third John and Revelation talk of God’s love frequently. The promised Holy Spirit is important because without the Holy Spirit within us, it is not possible for us as believers to love others as God does. Let’s look at some verses from I John to see this more clearly.

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. I John 3:23-24

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 4:7-21 NIV

Each of us who are followers of Jesus has the Holy Spirit living inside of us. This is a personal and private relationship that we have with God through His Spirit living within us. But a key evidence of having the Holy Spirit is how we live in community with other believers, sharing the love we demonstrate with actions and in conversation. Only God (through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit), can manifest this love in us. Can you think of ways the Holy Spirit has enabled you to love others? Can you think of ways others have demonstrated God’s love to someone else? Thank God for ways you have been able to love others in the past and ask the Holy Spirit to work in you this week to be able to love others as God wants us to do.  

by Grace Hunter


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