The gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter returns to Jesus’ conversation with his disciples at the Last Supper. In last week’s gospel, also at the Last Supper, Jesus’ words about being glorified by the Father but also about leaving, confused his disciples. In retrospect, however, his words foretold their communal life, following his resurrection and ascension.

Just before this week’s gospel opens, Jesus had spoken to his disciples, in a poetic set of cadences.
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. 


As this week’s gospel (John 14:23-29) opens, Jesus continued to elaborate on his unity with the Father. He and the Father are of one mind and one spirit. In this part of the discourse, however, he expanded what this oneness would mean for his followers. Continuing in the poetic style he said, 
“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.

Jesus’ identification with his Father is clear. However, his disciples must have still been puzzled. Philip had said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” (John 14:8) While Jesus had answered that, “anyone who has seen me has seen the father”, his explanation may have left them wanting to see a distinct person. Then he added the metaphor about making our home with them. Exactly what this would mean may have been baffling…or even intimidating. (This morning’s full reading from Revelation 21:10 to 22:5 gives a sense of the imagined magnificence.)


Before they had time to digest what it would mean to have Jesus and his Father live with them he continued, 

All this I have spoken while I am 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.

If the Father, whom they had not met, seemed elusive, then the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, must have seemed even more so. Yet, this Advocate would remind you of everything I have said to you which implies that the Advocate was somehow present to know what Jesus had said in the first place. Unlike a legal advocate who defends someone against charges, this Advocate will teach all things, enabling Jesus’ followers to advance his cause in the world.

When Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, it was a form of the greeting he would speak four days later, on Easter evening when he appeared suddenly in the upper room and said Peace to you. (John 20:19) In a sense, he was giving them a key to unlock the mystery of his later appearance. While others had trouble recognizing him in his resurrected form, his peace would be a verbal signature. 

Beyond that, Jesus’ peace was personal – my peace. It was relational – I give you. And it was dynamic. It was about living in harmony with the will of God.

More significantly, his peace would break the ‘death barrier’ and instill confidence and trust in him that, no matter what trials they faced they would share with him this glory. Death was not the end. It would take the coming of the Holy Spirit and years of experience for them to fully realize this peace at work in their lives, but Jesus planted the seed that would erupt with him from the tomb on Easter.

These promises of the Advocate and peace were future-focused. Returning to the moment Jesus said, Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. He understood that talking about his departure, and his earlier comments about betrayal, had upset his disciples. They were hard truths that Jesus had personally accepted but he needed them to do the same.


Recognizing that his words had unsettled his disciples, Jesus added, “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. In other words, you can trust my words when you see my predictions fulfilled.


The interpretation of this gospel passage – particularly phrases like I am in my Father and the Father is greater than I, became a central focus of debates in early Christianity around the doctrine of the Trinity. Jesus’ words were parsed multiple ways to try to understand God’s nature. Ultimately, we accept that the route to knowing God is to act in accordance with the instruction and example of Jesus, which, with the Spirit’s aid, will lead to a living experience of the love of Jesus and the one who sent him.


  • Consider what it means to make a home with someone you love. Mutuality defines meals, conversations, and joy. You use things like cutlery and glassware in common, without a sense of personal ownership. You share the space, the sounds, the cooking smells of the home, equally but with deference to another person. What would it be like to make a home with Jesus and his Father? 
  • Have you experienced a time when you were engaged in some activity and you had a sense of completeness, of things going as well as you could have hoped? Perhaps when you were walking, or trying to explain a nuanced idea to someone, or suddenly you saw events in a fully integrated way. Consider these interpretations of peace as you think about Jesus’ words to his disciples. 
  • How do you imagine Jesus’ disciples would have heard, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, when he had just spoken about his departure and sending of the Holy Spirit? Would it have reassured them? Would they wonder what his peace was? Would they think it was some gift for the distant future?