“What does this mean?” the devout ask (Acts 2:12). For those gathered in that house, the event meant the birth of sudden, surprising, unmerited new life. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they burst from the house with a story to share about God’s wonders. But what does this event of Pentecost mean for us, today, many centuries later? God is at work here, now, in the world. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, God is walking alongside as friend, truth-teller, comforter, and guide.
The writer of John’s gospel speaks of it in this way: the Advocate, the one whom the Father will send, will teach the disciples everything they need to know. God is not yet finished revealing who God is, and the disciples are not yet finished learning. Through the Spirit of truth, the disciples will do the work of Jesus, and his life will continue through them.
In holy baptism, the Spirit rests on the heads of young and old alike. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the baptized have an old, old story to tell of Jesus and his love—and a new, new story of how God is birthing sudden, surprising, and unmerited new life all around us, every day. God is at work, here, now in the world through the lives of everyday Christians. Jesus’ work continues through the lives of all the baptized. We discover meaning from this Pentecost story today, not only for our own sake but for the sake of the world that so hungers for this life.
John 14:8-17 [25-27]
Though the disciples struggle with Jesus’ nature and identity, they receive the promise that they too will be identified with God and God’s mission. Though he must leave them now, Jesus promises the coming of the Advocate whom God will send to comfort and enlighten them.
8Philip said to [Jesus,] “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. [
25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”]