PFOA : John 14 : 15-31
In which translation can the word ‘Trinity’ be found in the Bible? None . The Bible does not use the word ‘Trinity’, but the doctrine of ‘Trinity” is critical to the Christian faith. It is the litmus test that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. The understanding of the triune nature of God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is unique and sets Christianity apart from the other monotheistic religions such as Judaism and Islam.
Notwithstanding that the word is not used, John 14:15-31 is as good a passage as any in teaching the truth of the Trinity. The context here is that Jesus is giving a series of teaching to prepare his disciples for his imminent departure. In a few hours he will be arrested, subjected to mock trials and finally crucified.
Mentioned in this one passage, we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is not just a list of names, but we see them interacting with one another – they are co-existing, present together. This is what Jesus said to the disciples, and continues to say to us today for the encouragement of our faith:
1. We see the Father in heaven, sovereign in his kingdom.
2. Jesus Christ, the Son is giving his farewell discourse to his disciples on earth, telling them that he is leaving them soon. The Son is returning to the Father, to his rightful place in the Kingdom of God (14:2, Mark 16:19). Because he will no longer be physically present on earth, Jesus asks the Father to send another one like him to be with his disciples.
3. The Holy Spirit, variously translated as the Comforter (John 14:16, KJV), Helper (NKJV, ESV), Advocate (NLT, NIVU), or Counsellor (HCSB, NIV), is sent by the Father in the name of Jesus Christ at his request. He lives with and is in each of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, explaining to us things that can only be understood spiritually. He also helps us to recall what we have been taught, heard and read concerning God and his ways. This is why we need to hide God’s Word in our hearts, so that the Holy Spirit can remind us of them.
4. Jesus said “I am coming back” (14:28). On “that day”, Jesus will return, in the same way he was taken up (Acts 1:11). Yet he also said “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (14:23). Because the Holy Spirit is God, the both the Father and the Son are in the Godhead and so as our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), so the Father and Jesus Christ also make their home in us in the here and now (Rev. 3:20).
The Holy Spirit is not an influence, nor is he not the cute little cherub hovering around your ears telling you what to do. He is not a power that can be exercised by us. He is God and is in control, whether we like it or not. Together, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to be in this world, and to live in every believer. Through him, we have the presence of the Father and Jesus. The three Persons in the Trinity are always in harmony, although it is the Holy Spirit who is the prime manifestation of God in the world today.
It is only by keeping God’s commands (14:15), by loving and obeying Jesus’ teaching can we come to an understanding of this mystery. And as we continue to respond in obedience, our understanding and appreciation of this glorious truth will become clearer and better. The promise is there for, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them” (14:21).
• Please pray for the elders and pastors as they guide the church through this crucial period of the physical and spiritual rebuilding of the church. Pray that we as a community may know God and his love more and more as we obey and love him.
Dr Tony Chan