John 16:14-15;17:23 NIV
He [the Spirit] will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. . . . I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
We’re dropping in on a long conversation that Jesus is having with his disciples in John 14-17. This potent section in John’s Gospel even includes a precious prayer (ch. 17), straight from the heart of Jesus to his Father—a prayer for the disciples and for us. What a gift to every generation of the saints.
In the verses above, we see that the Father has sent the Spirit to reveal and to glorify Jesus. The Spirit is the divine interpreter given to us to live within and to make Jesus glorious to us. And, ultimately, the Spirit will do the work of making Jesus glorious to the world. Pause. Take that in.
Over and over Jesus is communicating that union between the Father and Son, and between us and one another (John 17:11), are the greatest spiritual “wins” we could imagine in this lifetime. It is the Spirit that keeps this goodness of relationship sustained and growing between us all: “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).
In other words, our love, our union with the Father and the Son, reinforced by the sealing touch of the Holy Spirit binding our hearts together, is what is to overflow to touch the world. The world is in a truth struggle right now. Many are no longer sure what to believe, what is credible, and what is the right way to think about the world. Jesus is providing a next step for us, a way forward, to revealing the gospel in our homes, churches, and cities. What is the next step?
It is to focus on our union with him. Yes, we can lament our lack of unity in the Church. Yes, we can work toward maintaining peace with one another. But if we focus on union with Jesus, the Spirit will glorify him in the world. Intimacy is the prerequisite to unity. That spiritual math will always remain the same. And the truth is, cultivating intimacy with the Father, a vibrant life of yielded relationship that holds no part of ourselves off limits to his loving input and transformation, is harder than messing with the knobs of unity in the Church.
What keeps us in union with the Lord? Worship—its Scriptures, its music, its prayers, its creeds, its life, keeps us loving and receiving love. Doing what Jesus did and called us to do will also keep our union with Christ growing—preaching good news to the poor, binding up the wounds of the brokenhearted, serving one another in love, embodying the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Maintaining sustaining friendships that point us to Christ, like discipleship bands, will keep us walking in union with Jesus.
All these things will reinforce our union with Christ, in heart, in mind, in body, in disposition, in instinct, in thought, in word, in deed—in love. That union will help us “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
The Spirit will then glorify Jesus in our eyes—and in the eyes of the world.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. I desire to receive what you would communicate to me by your Holy Spirit within. Come, Holy Spirit, show me today what my part is in nurturing the union you began with me, and the riches of your heart that are available to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Quiet your heart in a posture of receptivity. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you one thing you can regularly do to reinforce your union with Christ. Write down what he shows you, and commit to it for at least one week. After one week ask yourself, “How did it go?”
For the awakening,