John 14:16-20. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
If I could add a drum roll, or trumpet fanfare to this reading I would. Maybe some confetti dropping from the sky or streamers bursting from your computer screen. It would not be inappropriate for Y’all Ready For This to be playing right now as you read.
Why? Because we have come now to John 14. It’s the night of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is about to die and he is all at once comforting, teaching, and commissioning his disciples. And oh, by the way, he is introducing the most important of doctrines for the Christian life. The doctrine that we have spent 147 days looking forward to. It’s been hinted at. It’s been implied. It’s even been prophesied. But right here, right now, in the upper room, Jesus will say it succinctly and clearly. The doctrine of union with Christ – you in me, and I in you.
The Old Covenant gave us God near us, God around us, even God the Spirit upon us. The incarnation of Christ then gave us God with us.
But the death and resurrection of Christ – Because I live, you also will live – will give us God IN us. A whole new position made possible by the indwelling life of Christ by the Spirit. A position that images Jesus’ own union with the Father.
John 14:10-11. Do 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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
The union of the Father and the Son is the model for our union with Christ. The Father doing his works through the Son. The Son depending on the Father for all things. Never speaking on his own authority. Never acting apart from Dad. In his humanity, Jesus submitting himself to the Father’s authority and approval. Why? Because that is humanity. That is image bearing. That is life.
And that is how our union to Christ works. Christ doing his works through us as we love, trust, and depend on him.
But how? How is this possible?
The word “Helper” (paraklete) means “the one who comes alongside.” Our encourager, advocate, counselor, comforter, and true friend. Jesus is their present friend. He’s live alongside them, pouring his life into them for three years. But soon he will be leaving, and they are troubled (John 14:1-2).
But Jesus promises to never leave us alone. We will not be orphans. The Spirit who is with the disciples will be IN the disciples. And he will be in all who believe. He will be our new true friend. Our encourager, advocate, comforter, and helper. The Spirit will no longer only tell us the truth about Jesus’ life from outside of us (the Bible). The Spirit of truth will minister the Truth, Jesus himself, to us from inside our hearts. The Spirit will apply Christ’s life to our spirit, all of his eternal blessing from the Father, supernaturally changing our desires, our affections, our loves, by the power of his indwelling unconditional love in our hearts.
“To live is Christ” means we will spend every day of our lives learning to joyfully and faithfully depend on God’s Spirit, our true friend, for all that Jesus offers to us by his resurrection life and our Father’s unconditional love.
Can you explain what union with Christ means to you?
You in Christ
Your union with Christ means you are united to the Trinity. How can you celebrate this amazing truth today?
Christ in you
Where do you need to joyfully and faithfully depend on the Spirit today?
Playlist: Songs of Jesus our friend (note: the Holy Spirit would support a playlist about Jesus not himself).