[John 14:23-27] Jesus answered him, “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. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Baptized in the Spirit to Love Christ and Keep His Commands
Just as water had come down over their heads when they were baptized, probably in the Jordan river, now, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends upon each of their heads as a flame of fire. The twelve disciples, and others, received the Holy Spirit at the sound of a mighty, rushing wind, and the promise made by Jesus in today’s Gospel begins to be fulfilled in them - “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
If you remember, when Jesus Himself was baptized – and His baptism really teaches us about ours – when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him right then and there. For the twelve disciples, there Baptism began at the beginning of the Gospels, and, then, there baptism was finally completed when the Holy Spirit descends upon them in that upper room on Pentecost.
Your Baptism was your day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has been poured out. And now, in Baptism, and through the preaching of the Word, the Holy Spirit is poured out on you. You have the Holy Spirit. To what end?
Christ our Lord in today’s Gospel says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.” The Holy Spirit calls to remembrance all that Christ has said – His word.
There are and have been many special gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even some amazing ones like healing or speaking in tongues. But the chief work of the Holy Spirit, brothers and sisters, isn’t that you would perform miracles, be wowed, or wow others with any special gifts. The chief work of the Holy Spirit is that you would believe Christ’s word – and that, by the Holy Spirit, you would love Christ and therefore be made a keeper of His Word.
In our Small Catechism, regarding the Holy Spirit, we rightly says this: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me (made me able to see the truth) by His gifts (the Word, Baptism, the Sacrament of the Altar).
Scripture says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:3]. Scripture says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him” [1 Corinthians 2:14].
Our Lord Jesus, when explaining that a man must be born again to see God’s Kingdom, said of the Holy Spirit, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” [John 3:8].
And Scripture says this about the Holy Spirit: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” [Titus 3:4-6]
By the receiving of the Holy Spirit in that washing (Baptism), you are regenerated, renewed, born again of God – remade into a new, believing and loving person. A person who believes in and loves your Lord Jesus.
Since you have been given a new Spirit of love for your Lord Jesus Christ, now also, by that same spirit, love all Christ’s words and walk in them.
Scripture also tells us this about the love that is in us by the Holy Spirit: That to love God and Christ means also to love one another. Listen to these words:
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” [1 John 3:16-17].
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” [1 John 4:20].
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” [1 John 5:2-3].
Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ has offered His life and died on the cross for all your sins and shortcomings to reconcile you to the Father and make peace between you and God. Now the risen and ascended Jesus Christ has given you His Holy Spirit that you might believe in Him, love Him, love one another, love your neighbors and enemies, and so that the Holy Spirit may bear all His fruit of purity and holiness in you.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Do not be troubled or afraid. By the Helper, the Holy Spirit - poured out on Pentecost and now poured out on you through Baptism - by that same Holy Spirit, faith and love, and all the works of God, are now His works at work in you. Amen.