Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
Exaudi – Easter 6 (May 24, 2009, rev. from 2008)
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TITLE: “He Will Testify of Me”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for this morning is from the Gospel lesson just read, the words of Jesus, But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
In ages past there were certain men who seemed to have a special connection with God. Abraham (Gen. 18:23-33; Gen 20:7, 17), Moses (Exodus 32:11-14, 32; Exodus 34:8f.; Numbers 14:13-19), and Samuel (1 Samuel 7:8f.) come to mind. There were also prophets like Amos (7:2, 5 f.), and Jeremiah (14:7-9, 13, 22).1 These men went to God on behalf of the people and pleaded their cause when God sought to judge them on account of their sin. In the same way the angel pleads before God on Job’s behalf when Job is stricken with a sickness.
Everyone can use someone in your corner at the proper time. These prophets of old are fulfilling one of our great needs in life. You need someone to counsel you on the right way to go. You need someone who will be honest with you, who is willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. You need someone who will always fight for you, always try to get what’s best for you, no matter what.
Of course, our problem is that we don’t know what is best for us. Even if we did know what’s best for us, it is unlikely we would actually do it. All you have to do is ask someone in the fast food business to find out about our collective willpower. We can look at the right thing to do, smell it, hear it, feel it, but still we go for the junk food, every time. St. Paul put it this way:
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:15-20 ESV)
What all of the coulda woulda shouldas mean there is that even when you know the right thing to do, you won’t do it. You won’t do what is best for you. You can’t. It’s not in your sinful nature.
So this brings us back to Jesus and to our text for this morning. St. John writes in his first epistle, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2:1 ESV) What this means for you is that you have that someone in your corner. You have Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Jesus is our advocate, our go-between with the Father. He is the one who communicates your needs to the Father and He is the one who communicates the Father’s wishes to you. And what does the Father want for you? That you be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. That’s what God wants for you.
So how does Jesus, the righteous One, deliver the will of the Father to you? He does it through the Holy Spirit. Our text (John 15:26) calls him the helper. That’s not bad, but it could also be advocate, mediator, or maybe supporter. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, is the Spirit of Truth. His job is to be a witness. He testifies to you about Jesus. But more than that, He actually delivers Jesus to you. That is why He is called the Spirit of Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Jesus, for that is who you receive in Him.
This is so important for us to understand, especially here between the Ascension of our Lord and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit tells you the truth. He tells you who you are according to the perfect will of God. You are a sinner and you are dead and in need of redemption. But you are also a saint, holy and righteous in God’s sight, because of the blood of the Lamb, who died to redeem you from sin, death and the power of the devil.
Ezekiel has made this prophecy of our Lord as well, when He ties Holy Baptism to the coming of the Holy Spirit as follows. Our Lord says,
“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:24-28 ESV)
God is in your corner. He has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. He continues to guide you and lead you in the way you should go, through death and into the resurrection to eternity. He sends you His Spirit, who leads you in all truth, for Jesus is the Truth Incarnate. So come now to His Holy Table. Feast on the True Bread of Heaven. Rejoice in the truth of your salvation. You have been bought with a price. Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting. Amen.