sexta-feira, 26 de junho de 2015

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH


Very truly I tell you,
whoever believes in me
will do the works I have been doing,
and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever
— THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
The world cannot accept him,
because it neither sees him nor knows him.
But you know him,
for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 14:12,16-17 (read 14:8-27) - NIV

 

The Spirit of Pentecost is the Spirit of Truth. It is the continuous presence of Jesus in his followers for all times. The Spirit saturates his works and his teachings. In this sense, Jesus is not limited to being a single individual, but his presence would be multiplied by his presence and actions wherever his followers are to be found. Every Christian should be a "Jesus", continuing his works and spreading his teachings.

Jesus acted within the context of his society but independent of religious structures. His church was not closed within the four walls of some sanctuary. It was not an organized power structure with authority from top to bottom. For Jesus, truth was not a set of beliefs that others should accept in order to be saved. It was coexistence with all of humanity and communion with the "Sacred" that resides in others and frees them from the oppressive powers of materialism, personal ambition, prejudice and disease.

Our tendency is to flee from this model. The institutional church that we know it today is the opposite of what Jesus lived and taught. It became the reproduction of Judaism but called itself by another name and with similar sets of dogmas and norms of behavior. The essence did not change. It is easier to institutionalize Jesus by making him into a "figure head" of the church. That leaves us free to hide within an institution which administrates salvation and isolates us from the "common people".

Are we a missionary community in the service of the people? Or are we a community that serves ourselves? By staying within the church we avoid engaging directly with the suffering and the fate of most of humanity.

Imagine what it would be like if every Christian became a "Jesus" released into the world! It would be revolutionary for every believer to try to be a friend of sinners instead being like that boring and moralistic guy with a “holier than thou” attitude and trying to manipulate others. In Brazil it would be hard to imagine a “Christian samba school” in a carnival parade celebrating God's creation and the beauty of nature. We consider it to be “spiritual” to isolate ourselves in spiritual retreats or to distribute evangelistic tracts for those who are enjoying and celebrating life, despite the suffering and injustice that exist around them.

Upon receiving the Spirit in baptism, Jesus did not deny his Jewish origins but did not allow himself be bound by them. He acted as a free agent in the world. The followers of Jesus upon receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost remained Jews, but they exceeded the limits that that tradition placed on them. To act in the power of the Spirit of Truth does not imply a change of religion. It means "power" to break the institutional barriers of religions. The work of Jesus, yesterday and today, is not to promote the church or religion. It is to live out our faith in the world. The Spirit of Truth gives us the faith and the power to get "off the institutional boat" and ride on top of “stormy waves" in today’s world. The Spirit of Truth has little to do with religion but everything to do with how we live in the world.

 

JOHN 14:8-27 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

JESUS PROMISES THE HOLY SPIRIT

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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