We Cannot Remain in the World without a Comforter

Easter 6 Sunday

John 14:15-16

“If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter to remain with you forever.”

 

These are the kind of words of a person who want to depart from them and bids them farewell, spoken to comfort and exhort them not to be frightened or saddened by his departure. He means to say: “I must now leave your sight; this is why I tell you this at last. It is to be my farewell just so you are not afraid or frightened but believe in me and grasp what I say. For I do not want to leave you without comfort and assistance, even as you do not have help or comfort in the world. In fact, I go to the Father to assume my power and government and to prove them in you. And even though I leave you bodily, I will send you another Comforter from the Father who shall be with you forever. For I know that you cannot remain in the world without a comforter. Until now, I have been your Comforter by my bodily presence you have enjoyed, being safe and without fear; you would like to continue to remain with me. But now that you hear that you are to lose such comfort, you are saddened and worried. But my departure is not to harm you. Only remain my disciples and cling to me; I will compensate you richly for my absence. For I want to ask the Father himself to give you the Comforter who remains with you forever. Neither world nor devil are to take him from you, even if they went raving mad. He shall strengthen you, making you comforted and bold, more than I can now do bodily. He will also make you more intelligent and wiser than the whole world, so that you shall lack no comfort, strength and courage, or wisdom.” That is Christ’s comfort. But this addition is not superfluous: “If you love me and keep my commandments.” For the dear Lord saw well that after his departure especially the preachers and teachers would not all remain united but would create divisions and sects. Now, Christ abrogated the whole Moses for his Christians and wants us to remain unburdened by the unbearable burden of the law. For this is how it always goes: If you govern people by laws, especially consciences, there is no end or measure with commanding and driving: One law turns into a hundred others, and a hundred laws become a hundred thousand laws. “This is why,” Christ says, “I do not impose on you anything but this one thing: preach faithfully about me, let my Word and sacraments be commended to you, keep love and unity among yourselves for my sake, and endure with patience what happens to you for doing so. These are the brief commandments that are called “my commandments.” I do not impose them only so that you love me and gladly do them for my sake. For I do not want to be another Moses who drives and plagues you with threats and terrors. Instead, I give you the kind of commandments you can and will keep if you love me. For if you do not love me, it would be futile for me to command you much: You would not keep it anyway. Therefore, only look to this: If you want to keep my commandment, love me and consider what I have done for you, so that you may love me justly as the one who give my body and life for you and shed my blood for you. Do it for my sake and remain united and friendly among yourselves. In this way, you cling to me by your preaching and bear one another by love and do not create divisions and sects. … Forgive one another as I also do to you, lest the love among you be divided.”

 

St. Louis ed., 8:377-379.

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