Wednesday, May 27, 2015

EmmDev 2015-05-27 [Pentecost 2015] Paraclete


O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."                      (Isaiah30:19-21)
The word "paraclete" (parakletos in Greek) literally means "one who is called" (kletos) "alongside" (para).

Jesus spoke extensively about the Spirit as the paraclete in John 14-16. Bible translators have used words like "helper", "companion", "advocate", "comforter" or "counsellor"to translate and explain the Spirit's work. These words are all helpful to colour in this beautiful picture of God's Spirit being with us, in us, helping us, strengthening us and guiding us.

Isaiah's prophecy reflects the same tender presence. Listen to the intimate words that preface our passage:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
(Isaiah 30:18)

Although one might argue that this prophecy was partially fulfilled in the teachers of the law who taught the Scriptures to the people, I still have the sense that the coming of the Spirit really fulfills the full and intimate picture offered to us by Isaiah (and Jeremiah promises something similar - see below): to be able to hear God's gentle guidance: "This is the way; walk in it."

JER 31:34 No longer will a man teach his neighbour,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

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