Footsteps to follow: What Did You Expect
When a beloved relative — parent, sibling or other — dies, what a shock it always is to us. Our faith tells us that they still are alive with a loving God, but our human hearts are still broken. Our human emotions try to persuade us of the total finality of physical death.
In the suggested scripture, Jesus reveals how human even His dedicated disciples were. He tries to prepare them for His coming departure. At the same time Jesus acknowledges that without His presence they would all turn away from His teaching and witness on earth. Recognizing this human weakness, Jesus assures them that the Spirit, God’s truth, will come to support and guide them about scripture. I read this force described as “the advocate.”
Advocate: One who pleads your case to others; a counselor to give you true advice; one who defends the truth; your backer; your proponent. Jesus knew that without this strong support, the faith of each of us is doomed to death. The advocate would allow us to avoid human error while living in this Godless world. Our basic sin would be not believing in a loving, caring God of creation.
We today sometimes believe that the first disciples were extra special faithful believers in just who Jesus really was. Most of them, even after Jesus had told them where He was going, to be with His Father, did not understand. Remember, after the crucifixion, the empty tomb caused lost hope and confusion in their hearts. Two even headed home to Emmaus, their faith gone! “Game over!”
They were confused, sad, bewildered and lost. No one to lead them. Ask yourself, “Does Jesus truly know how our human hearts can be led astray?” Without God’s guidance we are lost, lost to the human whims of wanting personal power, popularity, pleasure or prestige.
From previous history Jesus observed how God’s written laws had been modified to use religion as another way for leaders to take charge. Sort of, “You shall live your lives as my laws say!” Only could a person “earn” God’s love and blessing. Think a minute; ask yourself how could it be possible for me, a little creature, to ever work hard enough to earn the love and blessing of my Creator? God’s love has to be the motivation behind all I stand for.
The advocate will instill sure faith in a loving Creator God into the hearts and minds of a beloved creature, who is seeking God’s truth. Then the advocate will inspire you to speak and witness about God’s truth to others, never fearing any consequences. You will witness, guided by the advocate, in thought, word and deed.
Then someone unknown to you will be motivated by your witness to open their hearts and minds to the advocate and learn the real purpose in their life — granted to them, by a loving Creator God.
Hague is a member of Bethel Linden Presbyterian Church, Williamsport.