Please read John 14:15-31. Here Jesus teaches so much about the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit. Although He speaks of Him leaving … referring to His return to Glory (Ascension) after his Death and Resurrection, He assures His disciples He will not leave them as orphans.
Joh 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
How will this be possible if Jesus returns to Heaven? The passage is filled with God as Triune. God is one … and when Jesus says “I will come to you”, He is not referring to Himself as the Son but as God the Holy Spirit. What Jesus refers to in verse 16 to 17a, He repeats in verse 26a … and this advocate, who is the Spirit of Truth or the Holy Spirit is given by the Father. Often the interpretation we have for certain words today in the 21st Century might not mean what was intended in the 1st Century. This could also be because of interpretation from one language to another … especially as Hellenistic Greek is no longer used today. An example would be the word “advocate” used in verses 16 and 26. This word is also translated as “Counselor” or “Comforter” in some Bibles.
What is an Advocate and what does this person do? There are a variety of roles, including to speak for you and represent your views when you feel unable to do this yourself; to provide information and guidance; to prepare written communication or legal submissions; to attend meetings, hearings or appointments; to clarify processes and procedures; to negotiate, mediate or otherwise assist in alternative dispute resolution and to gather and organize information and documentation. (Taken from Google).
From this one can easily see the concept of counseling and comforting coming through in the John 14 passage. Thinking of it like this, Jesus is referred to as “Counselor” in Isaiah’s prophecy about Messiah:
Isa 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
One of the glorious roles and functions of God towards His people is counseling us … and He does this primarily through His Word … by His Holy Spirit. Then there is the term “Comforter” … used of God in Jeremiah as he pleads with God:
Jer 8:18 “O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.”
Jeremiah knew that the only one able to comfort his soul because of the Divine Dilemma coming upon his people was God. I already pointed out that all three terms, “Advocate, Counselor and Comforter”, clearly exposes the role of the Holy Spirit to the people of God. Picture the shock, fear and dismay the disciples experienced when Jesus said He would be leaving them … but He followed up on that by saying they would not be orphaned … spiritually, they would still have their “Divine Parent” in the shape and name of the Holy Spirit. It is true He is resident within the hearts of His people. He comforts the soul of the weary believer. He counsels us through the inspired Word. Through His Word He defends us as our legal representative before the Father as He applies the merits of the Lord Jesus to our account. His ministry is Word based … and Jesus said it would be like this:
Joh 14:26 “But the Counselor, 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.”
This is a very interesting verse. I want to provide you with a contemporary belief in the work of the Holy Spirit and then a Biblical explanation of the same.
A contemporary belief about the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Many do not read the postscript in the margin of Mark 16. The actual Biblical text ends at verse 8 meaning that verses 9 to 20 are not part of Mark’s Gospel. Producers of the Bible might include it but it is not Scripture. Take as an example:
Mk 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
This was added much later, is not Scripture although some of the content has Biblical warrant but verse 17-18 do not. The point is that many today claim supernatural abilities because they say the Holy Spirit gives these. I want to argue that the Bible is always consistent and the Holy Spirit who gave the Bible functions in strict accordance with the Bible He has given. He does not deviate!
A Biblical explanation of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Look again at … Joh 14:26 “But the Counselor, 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.” The teaching the Holy Spirit provides is regulated by “everything I have said” … in other words, everything Jesus taught as God from Genesis chapter 1:1 through to Revelation 22:21 … with special reference to His Redemptive Ministry as God Incarnate. Naturally, the entire ministry of the Lord Jesus is what the Bible is all about. So, when the Holy Spirit “teaches you all things”, He is teaching what Jesus taught already and what He will remind the disciples of is what Jesus had taught. In other words, there is no new teaching! Nothing is added to what Jesus had already taught or what is to be found throughout the Bible. That is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. When you read through the First Section of the Bible (Genesis to Malachi – 2 Peter 1:19-21), you will find the teaching consistent to the Second Section of the Bible (Matthew – Revelation – 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:15-16) … and this Second Section is consistent with the First Section.
Dear God, our loving and caring Father, You have given us Your Word as it is found in the Scriptures. Help us to love, use and apply Your Word, not seeking to spice up Scripture by adding man’s thoughts and ideas to it claiming them to be Your Word. Thank You that Your Truth to be trusted is found in the Bible alone. Amen.