Holy Spirit, Difference Maker #3
You’ve got a Friend
You’ve got a guide
You’ve got a counselor
You’ve got an advocate
You’ve got a comforter
You’ve got a way-pointer
… not a single one of these words is adequate.
Again, I take you back to that dinner in the Upper Room...how I wish I could teleport all of us back to that night! ->Jesus knows it will be his last meal with all the disciples before he will be crucified, but the men do not. We see Jesus’ love for them as He prepares them for His absence. Here is the scriptural context/setting: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14-John+16.15&version=NASB1995. We like to cherrypick Bible verses, but context is important. Learning what is happening when the words were written, the emotion and the tenor is oft vital to our understanding.
Over three years’ time, Jesus has been the disciples' friend, teacher, comforter, guide, miracle worker and companion. Now He knows He will be leaving them and wants them to know He will not leave them alone, as He looks at each of them.
Appreciate this scene, Friends—Jesus and the disciples have climbed the stairs to a large high-ceilinged room to find things all prepared for them. The table would have been long and rather low to the floor, and they are likely reclining on mats, faces illuminated by torchlight.
There is far more happening than the disciples are aware that night—Judas has already agreed to betray the Lord1. Jesus feels it keenly; He also knows what the disciples will soon face. But, He has a plan, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”2
Hold that thought. I grew up reading the King James Bible. My dear mom said it was the one true Bible—the one Jesus read. I never disrespected her about that, but Jesus did not have a Bible, did not speak or read English; in fact, the King James Bible was not printed until 1611. So as we read our Bibles today, let us zoom in on the word Jesus used for “helper”. Helper comes from the Greek word ‘parakletos’----hang with me here. Remember, Jesus did not speak English or Hindi or Swahili; we have to look at the original word he would have used to understand what he was telling his disciples and us yet today.
That word parakletos does not have a singular meaning. In Jesus’ first mention, he tells them he is sending “another Helper”… the Father was sending someone who would be like Him to them. Jesus explains that ‘other’ would be a Spirit who would not just be with them but would be in them. And as Jesus helped them while He was with them, the Spirit would help them, lead them into truth and be with them and inthem. [As an English teacher, in and with are prepositions that have never had more meaning!]
Hold that thought. I recently got rid of the ghastly vehicle that backed over me and bought a used Chevrolet SUV. In the glove compartment, there is a user’s manual which covers everything I need to know about the operation of my Traverse. Just so, the Bible is our user's manual for life and truth, meaning and purpose. Recorded by the apostle John, Jesus' closest friend, look again at Jesus' words which show his heart, his intent and his connection with the Father. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
Our Helper, the Holy Spirit of God, is within us as we follow Jesus.
As we look to Him, He
-> guides us in the way we should go
-> comforts us in our heartache, fear or grief
-> strengthens us with supernatural power
-> goes to God the Father on our behalf; he intercedes for us
-> transforms our character to become more like Jesus
-> nudges us when we are about to go the wrong way
-> convicts us when we need to seek forgiveness or course correct
-> reminds us of Scriptural truths we have learned
-> confirms that we belong to God
-> enables us to feel the presence of God
-> gives us discernment
-> brings us peace
So you do have a Friend, but He is so much more as well. Let's press in to learn more about this most under-represented, misunderstood figure of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
Found a great song by a band I like: Friend in Jesus, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwWOWgmdcxY
2 – John 14.16-17