In the Gospel of John the followers struggle with separation from the synagogue for their belief in Jesus as the Messiah. In John 14:15–21 the writer tries to answer the question, “How do we stay in faithful, loving connection with Jesus?” The emphasis is on the community of believers and the community that is the Triune God. Jesus prepares his faithful to continue their communal ministry as he returns to God. The prevailing message is love. Jesus’ love enables ministry as followers understand it being about God’s grace and generosity. God reveals love through the ministry of Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit. Believers return Jesus’ love when they live in love. When they keep Jesus’ commandments they love him.
Jesus offers three promises: (1) the presence of the Paraclete (from the Greek noun parakletos). Paraclete means Advocate—Comforter–Helper–Encourager—Holy Spirit. Jesus’ love for his followers is assured through the presence of the Paraclete; (2) to come back after he returns to God. The faithful are not abandoned or orphaned. There will be another Easter when Jesus returns; and (3) to continue in loving relationship with the believing community. Faithful disciples experience mutual love. This mutual love is experienced when they live lovingly and keep Jesus’ commandments by caring for the needy.
The Gospel writer describes connections as communities bound in love. Jesus is in loving companionship with God. Jesus shares lovingly with the Advocate. Jesus remains in loving partnership with believers because the Advocate becomes a spiritual companion for the disciples. God and Jesus are unified in their love for one another, all people, and all creation. The Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the disciples form community as they show love for God and God’s purposes in the world. The Paraclete shares in ministry through mutual love of Jesus and disciples. Believers join in as they live out Jesus’ mission.
When we model Jesus’ loving mission, we become faithful disciples, invited into mutual companionship with the triune community of God-Jesus Christ-Holy Spirit. We do not require Jesus’ physical presence to experience his love. We know Jesus loves us because we are aware of the Holy Spirit’s continuing presence. As we follow Jesus’ commandments, we recognize that our mission is already blessed by God’s gracious and generous presence in our ministries through the Holy Spirit.