"But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." – John 14:26 NLT
In the midst of all the doom and gloom that Jesus seemed to share during His last days with the disciples, there was a bright light. A very bright light. Not only was He going to return, but the Father was going to send them an advocate. The Greek word Jesus used is paraclete and it can be translated, "comforter, helper, counselor or assistant." All of these words have limitations and do not do the original Greek word justice. But the basic idea is that Jesus is promising the disciples that, even though He will be leaving them, He is not going to leave the alone. The Father will send the Holy Spirit – the very Spirit of God – to not only be with them, but live in them. Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit had been there all along. "But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you" (John 14:15 NLT). The Spirit of God is the very presence of God with us. The disciples had witnessed His presence through the life of Jesus, on whom the Spirit of God descended at His baptism in the Jordan. The Spirit of God had been guiding and directing Jesus from that moment forward. The Holy Spirit had been active in and around the disciples all through the years they had been with Jesus. But Jesus was letting them know that with His departure, the presence of God would remain with them, in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This should have been good news to them. But as usual, the disciples probably did not fully understand the magnitude of what Jesus was telling them. They had no real context on which to base what Jesus was saying.
But Jesus lets them know that the Spirit, when He comes, would lead them, teach them, and remind them of all that Jesus had taught them over the years. All those obscure, difficult to understand truths encapsulated in the parables of Jesus would become clear for the first time. They Holy Spirit would help them connect the dots and make sense of all the madness that surrounded those last days of Jesus' earthly life. He would teach them and remind them all that Jesus had told them over the years. As a result, the Holy Spirit would bring them peace of mind and heart. His presence, the very presence of God Himself, would result in peace, even in the midst of the storm. And Jesus told them that this gift of the Spirit would be permanent. "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you" (John 14:16 NLT). The Spirit of God would be a permanent presence in their lives. He would never leave or abandon them. His presence would be a constant reminder of Jesus' love for them. The apostle Paul would later refer to the Holy Spirit as a "down payment" from God. The Greek word "denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction" (NET Study Bible notes). The Holy Spirit's presence in our lives reminds us that there is more. His presence in the midst of this earthly life should remind us that we are spiritual beings who have a spiritual future ahead of us. Paul says, "For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee" (2 Corinthians 5:4-5 NLT). While we live in these earthly bodies, we will suffer trials and difficulties, but the Holy Spirit lives with us, providing us with power and assurance of the love of God. He is not done yet. There is more to come. The Spirit provides us with the peace of mind we need to live in this fallen world without giving in to despair or becoming distracted and losing our focus. We have an advocate, a helper, comforter, teacher, friend, counselor and source of divine power that sets us apart from all those who do not believe. His presence in our lives is what sets us apart from the rest of the world and proves that what we say we believe is true. The greatest evidence of the reality of Jesus' message is the life-transforming presence and power of the Holy Spirit. He is our guarantee that the message of Jesus was real and the promises of Jesus are completely reliable.
Father, I can't thank You enough for sending Your Spirit to live in my life. I know I don't always listen to Him or obey Him. I know I often ignore Him and refuse to take advantage of the power He makes available to me. But I know He is there, guiding me, teaching me, strengthening me – because I feel His presence each and every day. He reminds me that what I say I believe is true. Amen.