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A Synopsis of Paper 180: The Farewell Discourse

When the Psalm ended, Jesus told the apostles, "When I enacted for you a parable indicating how you should be willing to serve one another, I said that I desired to give you a new commandment; and I would do this now as I am about to leave you. You well know the commandment which directs that you love one another; that you love your neighbor even as yourself. But I am not wholly satisfied with even that sincere devotion on the part of my children. I would have you perform still greater acts of love in the kingdom of the believing brotherhood. And so I give you this new commandment: That you love one another even as I have loved you. And by this will all men know that you are my disciples if you thus love one another."

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. I am the vine, and you are the branches. Herein is the Father glorified: that the vine has many living branches, and that every branch bears much fruit." Jesus told his men that if they would live within him, his spirit would so infuse them that they "may ask whatsoever my spirit wills and do all this with the assurance that the Father will grant us our petition."

This particular teaching has been much misinterpreted through the centuries. Some people believe mistakenly that invoking Jesus' name is a magic formula for getting what they want from God. Prayer is not a way to get God to bow to the will of mortals, but a way for humans to learn God's will. Once a person is truly aligned with Jesus they can be certain that all of their desires will be compatible with God's will.

The Master continued his advice, telling the apostles not to be discouraged when faint-hearted believers turned against them. He advised them to remember how he also suffered for the sake of the gospel. He promised that he would not leave them alone in the world, and that when he was gone his spirit would come to help them. Jesus said that he was going to the Father, and that they could not follow yet.

Thomas said, "Master, we do not know where you are going, so of course we do not know the way, But we will follow you this very night if you will show us the way." And Jesus answered, "Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know the way to the Father." Philip said, "Master, show us the Father, and everything you have said will be made plain." Jesus replied, "Philip, have I been so long with you and yet you do not even now know me? Again do I declare: He who has seen me has seen the Father."

Jesus spoke more about the Spirit of Truth. "I have loved the Father and have kept his word; you have loved me, and you will keep my word. As my Father as given me of his spirit, so will I give you of my spirit. And this Spirit of Truth which I will bestow upon you shall guide and comfort you and shall eventually lead you into all truth." Jesus told them that they would be indwelt by the Father and the Son, and that those gifts of heaven would work together to help them remember all that Jesus had taught.

"This new teacher is the Spirit of Truth who will live with each one of you, in your hearts, and so will all the children of light be made one and be drawn toward one another. And in this very manner will my Father and I be able to live in the souls of each one of you and also in the hearts of all other men who love us and make that love real in their experiences by loving one another, even as I am now loving you."

The Spirit of Truth leads the human mind to spiritual meanings. It is the spirit of living, growing, expanding, adaptive truth. Truth cannot be imprisoned in formulas or creeds, but it can be known and lived. Static truth is dead; living truth is dynamic. The Spirit of Truth helps humans interpret their experiences in a spiritual way.

The Spirit helps God-knowing people apply the golden rule in such a way that others receive the highest possible good from such contact. The golden rule cannot be properly understood as dogma, it can only be understood by living. No amount of piety can compensate for an absence of sincere and generous friendliness, any more than formal worship can atone for a lack of genuine compassion for others.

Jesus warned his apostles that the authorities might turn strongly against them. He reminded them again that his spirit would be with them throughout their sufferings, even though he would be leaving them. "And so are you about to sorrow over my departure, but I will soon see you again, and then will your sorrow be turned into rejoicing, and there shall come to you a new revelation of the salvation of God which no man can ever take away from you." Even after this frank discussion the apostles could not comprehend that Jesus was leaving.

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