Easter 5—Cantate 2020 (Jn 16:5–15)

Photo by Honza Groh on Wikimedia

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO

When the Spirit of the Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak…He will take what is mine and declare it to you.


Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

There is worldly truth, and there is the Truth delivered by the Holy Spirit. These are two different things. Things can be true in a worldly way, but absolutely false in a Christian way.

Working hard and doing good work will get you in good with your boss. It’ll get you ahead in life. But it’s not that way with God, at all. In fact, it’s the opposite. Putting your works before God looking for some sort of credit, blessing, or benefit, does the opposite.

In the world, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, is there? Or at least we think there shouldn’t be, right? But God does, within His Kingdom. That’s what He wants. He works the entire universe so that all the blessings and benefits of salvation would be given out for free! All of the planets spinning the way they do, all of history, all of your life—each day, month, year—all geared towards that: your free salvation in the death and resurrection Jesus Christ.

That’s what the Spirit’s after. Your salvation. Well, the delivery of salvation. That’s His Work. He takes what’s Jesus’ and delivers it to you. Without the Spirit delivering it you wouldn’t have it, no other way to get it. Without the Spirit guiding, you would be lost. You couldn’t find it on your own, get it on your own.

Truth in the world is something that can be figured out by hard work, and what’s understood as true shifts and changes with more data. Not so in the Kingdom of God! In God’s Kingdom the Truth is rock solid, immovable, unchanging. Faith grasps hold of this Truth. The Truth is Jesus.

That’s what Jesus Himself says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In the world, we use facts and figures and models and actions to the best of our ability all for the benefit of our neighbor. That’s how you love your neighbor within your vocation, as you daily live your life as a parent, child, spouse, or citizen. That’s how you figure out what’s the way to go, what’s the truth, what’s life.

But when it comes to matters of salvation, it’s quite the opposite. God doesn’t do things that way. For salvation He sends His Son to die and rise for you, in fact, for the whole world. Free salvation. In God’s Kingdom, Christ crucified and raised for you is everything. Whatever is not Christ is not the way, whatever is not Christ is a lie, whatever is not Christ is death, because Christ is, as He says, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Christ, the Truth, prays to His heavenly Father. He’s your heavenly Father, too. You’re baptized! Christ prays, “Sanctify them in your Truth, Your Word is Truth.” The Word does this not because it gives you right answers and data, facts and figures. The Word of God makes you holy, sets you apart from lies, from sin, from death, because it delivers Jesus to you.

That’s what the Spirit uses to deliver Jesus. It’s why Jesus says, “He will receive from Me and declare it to you.” To or declare something you need words. The Spirit only uses the Word to lead you to Jesus. Not just the Word of Scripture, but the preaching of the Gospel, the Water and Word of Holy Baptism, the Word of Absolution, the Word of Forgiveness, the Word of “This is My body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

The Spirit guides into the Truth, into Jesus, through the Word. That’s the delivery point of Jesus’ salvation. His death and resurrection, and the salvation, redemption, forgiveness, justification they accomplished, are all delivered to you by the Spirit. He makes them yours. Being on the receiving end of them, the believing end of them, is also the Spirit’s work, too.

Jesus says, “The Spirit of Truth will guide you.” Nothing else will. We don’t like that. Our Old Adam is always trying to smuggle in worldly things into salvation. Could be our knowledge of things: getting the right answers on the religious test. Could be our feelings: right emotions at the right time, may no emotions at the right time. Could be our actions: doing good things. Knowledge, feelings, instincts, actions really do help you make your way through the world, but they have nothing to do with faith and receiving Jesus.

Your emotions aren’t faith. Neither is your intellect or knowledge. Neither is your lack of emotion! Faith doesn’t have anything to do with that. But being on the receiving end, the believing end of the Truth, of Jesus who was crucified and raised, has everything to do with the Spirit who delivers all those things to you through the Words and Promises of God.

The Spirit guides you into those things. Apart from the Spirit there is no guiding. Just like there’s no Truth apart from Jesus. The Spirit guides. You are guided. That’s faith. Faith isn’t agreeing to be guided. No. The Spirit guides. Guides through the Word of God to the Word of God, Jesus. Every Word of God has the omnipotent, almighty power of the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you to Jesus. The power to create faith and strengthen your faith in Jesus. Being guided to Christ, to His free salvation, being on the receiving end of that, is faith—the Spirit’s work.

To try and manipulate the Spirit, to try to say the Spirit’s guiding you in some other way than through the Word, to say it’s some part of you, too, emotions, knowledge, experience, action, is unfaith. Putting something of you into the Kingdom of God. Whatever is not the Spirit guiding to Christ through the Word isn’t actually being guided by the Spirit. It’s unbelief. Whatever is not Christ is error, lies, and death.

THE SPIRIT GUIDES YOU TO THE TRUTH. That’s what Jesus is telling us this Cantate Sunday. THE SPRIT GUIDES YOU TO THE TRUTH. What’s the Spirit? He’s the Guide who actively guides you to Jesus through Jesus’ own Word. What’s truth? Jesus is. What’s true? Jesus died. Jesus rose. You’re baptized into His death and resurrection. You’re forgiven. That Supper is the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood. That’s your salvation. And your salvation? That’s what’s true. In Jesus forever true.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


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