Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year AJohn 14:15-21
John 14 reports the words of Jesus to the disciples during the last supper, after he has washed their feet, predicted Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. After telling them that he would be going away, he gives them the commandment of love: “Love one another, even as I have loved you” (). Now, he teaches them another aspect of love, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (). Love is not just a matter of feelings and emotions. Love is not just to be expressed in words. Love is action. And Jesus will soon dies out of love for his friends.
Jesus knows keeping his commandments is not an easy task, especially if it is to be done out of love. So he tells them to pray to the Father for another Advocate. (Jesus is the first Advocate).
To appreciate the role of the Advocate, a lesson in Greek would be helpful here.
Other English translations use the word Paraclete, which is closer to the original Greek parakletos. This word refers to “someone who is called in for help in time of need.” Particularly, the Greek legal system,
- Parakletos refers to a person called in “to give witness in someone’s favor.”
- A parakletos might be called in “to plead the cause of someone under a charge.”
- He might be an “expert called in to give advice”
A parakletos is also the one called in to encourage a company of depressed and dejected soldiers.
In other places in the Gospel of John and the New Testament, the parakletos is an advocate, who intercedes for Jesus’ disciples. The parakletos is also a guide, comforter, consoler, and teacher (“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you all that I have said to you.” )
These meanings combined give us a deeper understanding into the roles of the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit, now it is possible for us to keep Jesus’ commandments.