Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Exordium: What an extraordinary event occurred that Pentecost day. 120 of Jesus disciples were gathered together when a breeze came upon them. The Holy Spirit had come to them, and rested on them in tongues of fire. These common people with limited education were instantly able to speak in foreign languages, not babbling like the Pentecostals teach. But above all, the Holy Spirit gave them a fuller understanding of Christ their Savior. The Holy Spirit gave the knowledge of Christ and His saving work into their hearts. They knew the salvation Christ won for them. This was fact. Being certain, that their eternal life is secured in Christ, we can see how these men who formerly were cowards hiding in locked rooms in fear of the Jews, became bold preachers of Christ, willing to suffer for the sake of His name.
Though we do not receive that one-time gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit continues to come to us through the Word, putting into our hearts the certainty that we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Christ our Savior. Therefore, we may boldly confess Him and with joy sing His praise. We sing the festival hymn, hymn number 27, verse 1. Please rise.
23 Jesus answered and said to 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 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present 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 things that I 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 heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 “You have heard Me say to you,`I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said,`I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.
30 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
31 “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
These are your Words heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.
The Holy Spirit, Our Holy Teacher
Dear fellow redeemed,
In the conversation immediately before our text, Judas, not Iscariot who betrayed Jesus, but another disciple named Judas, made an interesting observation. Now Jesus had just said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas was perplexed by this. He asked Jesus, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Judas counts himself and the rest of the disciples as those who love Christ and keep His commandments. He wonders why Jesus will manifest Himself to them, but not to the whole world?
Why will Jesus not manifest Himself to the whole world? If Jesus is the world’s Savior, why will He not manifest Himself to the world as the world’s Savior? Doesn’t He want everyone to know who He is?
In a way Jesus does manifest Himself to the world. The whole Epiphany season is about this. During that season, we see the eternally begotten Son of God making Himself manifest in human flesh, publicly displaying His power and might with many signs, and making clear that He is the promised Messiah.
So also, Christ is made manifest to the world as the eyewitness testimony of Scripture goes out to all the world declaring His wonderful works.
Christ and the truths about who He is and what He has come into the world to do are clearly manifested, or shown, to the world. And He desires that all may believe in Him as their Savior.
But Jesus is not made manifest in the hearts of those who belong to the world. These are those who are still in darkness of unbelief, and their ruler is the devil. Jesus is not made manifest to them, because they reject Christ. The Holy Spirit comes through the Word and testifies into the hearts of man the truth of Jesus. But they reject the Holy Spirit, too. They may see Jesus, but they do not receive Him. Jesus is preached to them, but they would not know Him. Jesus is not manifested in their hearts.
This is the world, the world of the devil’s rule and deceit, from which we have been saved. Not by anything that we have done, but by the grace of the Father and His gracious election from eternity, the Holy Spirit has enlightened us that Christ was manifested or made known in our hearts. This is only the work of the Holy Spirit, because our fallen hearts were like the world, captive under the slavery of Satan and enemies of God. But the Holy Spirit, by His grace, has made us His students, and He has taught us of the love of our Triune God. Thanks be to God!
Our text today talks about one’s love for Christ, about the peace that He gives. None of these things would be possible without the Holy Spirit. Let us consider these things one by one.
Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” Can one love what he rejects? Can one love what He does not know. By nature we reject Christ, nor can we know Him. How could we love Him? But the Holy Spirit has taught to our hearts the truth of holy Scripture, which is all about the love of God for us in Christ Jesus! God is love! And what love it is that the righteous and holy God would love such sinners as you and me! And that He was willing to go to such lengths as sending His eternally begotten and beloved Son to suffer the bitterness of hell and death on the cross to save us. Once the Holy Spirit causes us to know Him and His love for us, how can we not love Him? As St. John said, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).
And since we love Him, we love and keep His Word. How can we say that we love God if we ignore His Word? Is it loving for a child to treat the word of his parent with contempt? But since the Holy Spirit has taught us of Christ’s love for us, we then keep His Word. We hear of His righteousness and His atoning sacrifice for our sins, and we believe in Him as our Savior. We hear His law, and we repent to Him of our sinfulness and our every sin, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, and out of love for our gracious God, we conduct our lives according to His law. This keeping of Christ’s Word proves our love for Him. All of this is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now the Holy Spirit also grants us the peace of Christ, a peace unlike what the world gives. Again, remember that the world here is synonymous with the kingdom of all those who dwell under Satan’s rule in the darkness of unbelief. Shall we look for our peace then in this world? Sure we strive to live peaceably with all people as far as it is up to us. But what gives your heart peace? Is it health? Is it a plump bank account? Is it success? Is it the acceptance of the world? Certainly, God’s earthly gifts are blessings, but they are not to be the source of our peace. Perhaps, you may seek you peace in thinking that you’re not being as bad of a sinner as that one person you know. But what are all these things to a guilty conscience? What are all these things when we are daily waging war against our Old Adam, that wants nothing to do with righteousness, but asserts its selfishness and pride? What are all these things when we are surrounded by so many evils, and the devil is prowling nearby?
But find your peace in Jesus, who has made Himself manifest in your hearts through the Holy Spirit. Look to Him who was crucified for you, rose, and is ascended to the right hand of the Father. He gives a peace different than the world gives. Stephen, Paul, and the disciples often lacked earthly peace, but they had the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. So as you are burdened with the trouble of your sins, Jesus has taken away all your sins; you are freed from a guilty conscience. Even though we struggle daily against our Old Adam, we give thanks to Christ who has rescued us from this body of death. Christ imputed righteousness is yours, and you are freed to live in this righteousness keeping the commandments of the Lord in love for Him. The devil, the world, and death are overcome by our Lord. In Him, we also have the eternal victory. What should trouble our hearts then? What shall we fear? We have Jesus! Jesus has us!
Thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit, for making Jesus manifest to our hearts, that we may know Him and His saving love for us, so that we may love Him and find our peace in Him! Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be; forevermore. Amen.