Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask
the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with
you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him,
because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
You have probably seen a bracelet or wristband with the four letters WWJD. The letters are an acronym for the urgent, all-important question “What would Jesus do?” As followers of Jesus we want to know what Jesus would do in our shoes. What would Jesus say? How would He respond in my situation?
I often imagine being with Jesus, watching Him work in the carpenter shop, kicking back with Him by the Sea of Galilee, or following Him up Mount Hermon to pray. I’ve always loved the old hymn about Jesus walking with me, talking with me, and telling me that I am His own! That’s how Jesus had been with His disciples — walking with them, talking with them, and loving them. Then tonight He tells them He is leaving them! And they are troubled. But Jesus assures them in today’s scripture that in leaving them He is not leaving them alone. Jesus says that He will ask the Father to give them to someone like Him to be with them: “he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.” Students of New Testament Greek point out that Jesus is saying that He will ask the Father for an Advocate “of the same kind” (Greek: allos) as Jesus. The Advocate Holy Spirit will be to them just what Jesus has been to them. He will walk with them, talk with them, and love them as Jesus loved them.
I was raised on the King James Bible in which Jesus says the Father will give “another Comforter”. The New King James translates this as “another Helper”, the Revised Standard Version translates it, “another Counsellor”, and The Message translates it, “another Friend”. The different translations indicate that we do not have one English word to convey the richness of the original Greek word paraclete.
The Greek paraclete comes from a verb meaning “to call alongside”, suggesting a person called alongside to help in various ways. William Barclay sums up the many meanings of paraclete:
“A parakletos might be a person called in to give witness in a law court in someone’s favour; he might be an advocate called in to plead the cause of someone under a charge which would issue in serious penalty; he might be an expert called in to give advice in some difficult situation; he might be a person called in when, for example, a company of soldiers were depressed and dispirited to put new courage into their minds and hearts. Always a parakletos is someone called in to help in time of trouble or need.” (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible)
The many connotations of paraclete serve to emphasize the many ways the Holy Spirit will come alongside to help you. He will become to you as Jesus was with His disciples. The Holy Spirit acts as our Advocate, Counselor, Friend, and Comforter! And Jesus promises that the Paraclete Spirit will be with us “for ever”!
Neither Jesus’ disciples, nor we, need to have hearts that are troubled, because the Holy Spirit takes Jesus’ place with us. And He walks with us and talks with us and tells us that He loves us! “For ever”!
- How do I need to experience the Spirit’s presence with me today?
- Take a few moments to talk with God about my need for the Holy Spirit.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)