For parents leaving their kids behind for the first time can be terrifying. They may just be going out for dinner, it may be on a couple of days trip, but the thought of leaving their kids behind causes their heart to ache. They want to make sure they’re OK. They want to make sure that they’re not in danger, that they’ll be well-fed, and safe. So maybe they call upon grandma and grandpa, maybe it’s a trusted babysitter, or a family friend. But they don’t leave them alone. They made sure someone is there to watch over and care for their kids.
Jesus, having completed the work of salvation, knew that he was going to be ascending into heaven. He wouldn’t be with his disciples any longer. He didn’t want to leave them alone, just like a parent. And so he told them in John chapter 14.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. You know him because he stays with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
Jesus didn’t want his disciples left alone. He knew that they would face many dangers, spiritual and physical, that they would be under attack and persecuted, that the world would hate them. They would need a counselor, someone to be with them and guide them throughout their earthly lives, someone to keep them strong in their faith. So he asked the Father and the Father sent the Holy Spirit. Not just to stay with them, but to be in them.
God sends his Spirit to dwell within us to protect the faith that we have in Jesus. That gift of faith, that trust that Jesus is the Savior, is the Spirit’s work. He creates it. And he preserves it. He creates it when water is applied in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s baptism. And he creates it when people are told about Jesus the Savior through those words and through that water, God is reaching out into the world and counseling people, leading them to the proper understanding that Jesus is the Savior from sin.
But God, the Holy Spirit doesn’t just get the ball rolling and leave you on your own. No, he continues to come to you through his word. Whenever you’re reading or hearing God’s word there, the Spirit is reaching out and going into you, strengthening your faith in Jesus. And when we receive Jesus body and blood in Holy Communion. There the Spirit is also working to bring the forgiveness of sins to the individual and assure them that they are deeply loved by God.
Jesus doesn’t want you to be alone. And so he has sent his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to you so that you too can believe that your sins are forgiven and that despite what life throws at you, the trials and difficulties, the hurts and the heartaches, that you will know that God loves you. And that there’s a place for you in heaven. May God, the Holy Spirit, dwell in you richly. That you may be confident that his peace is yours in Jesus, amen.