Thursday, April 23, 2015

Help is Around the Corner (John 14:16-17)

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

In these verses and the ones that follow we clearly see the fullness of the Trinity present. Jesus had said that He was returning to the Father, and here we read that He will ask the Father to send another Helper. This other helper is not a spirified Jesus coming back to help them in some special way. He was asking the Father for another Helper, and this Helper unlike Jesus would soon return to the Father would be with them forever, and this Helper is the Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity being fully God. The Spirit has been God from eternity past and is fully and eternally God. Up until that point the Spirit was always present with man, but not given to dwell in all believers.

In this passage we see the word “Him” to speak of the Spirit and this can give us a clue as how to refer to the Spirit in pronoun form, but the Greek word translated Him is the word “autos” which is used to speak of a separate and distinct individual. We can see this in the root of our word “autonomous” or acting independently. But unlike our word “autonomous” the Spirit like the Father and the Son never work independently. While they are on one way looked at individually as God they are also clearly spoken of as fully One as God. All three are God, but the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father.  This is how Scripture declares it to be.

Jesus was returning to the Father and the Father was sending the Spirit to continue that which Jesus put in place by laying down His life and taking it back up again. Having done this all that believe are saved, and as Jesus said and John commented on in John 7:38-39, “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38–39, ESV)

Jesus was soon to be glorified and the Spirit was soon to come in a full and different way, and the only ones who would know the Spirit are those who are saved.  The world would not see the Spirit or be able to receive the Spirit. The Spirit was only being sent to those who believe. Up until that time the disciples had known of the Spirit and they had even experienced the working of the Spirit. We read throughout Scripture that followers of God had been filled with the Spirit, but what Jesus was telling them was there was soon going to be a time where the Spirit would be in them and the Spirit would remain.

And the most incredible thing is that those works that Jesus said that they were going to do which were to be greater than His, the Spirit was going to help them accomplish. There are many terms used to refer to the Spirit, but here Jesus uses the term “Helper.” It is the Greek word “parakletos” and it is variously translated as “helper” and “comforter” or someone called to one’s side. And in reference to Jesus it is even translated “advocate.” The disciples were not to do this alone. Jesus was going to be with them through the inner-working power of the Spirit.

We also read that the Spirit was the Spirit of truth. There was much that the disciples did not know and could not grasp. They did not even fully comprehend what He was telling them as we saw by the question of Philip a few verses back. But when the Spirit comes the Spirit was going to guide them in all truth. Just as Jesus spoke the words given to Him by the Father, so would the Spirit. Later in chapter 16 of John Jesus would tell His disciples, ““I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12–15, ESV)

Later in this current chapter (14) we read that the things Jesus was saying to them the Spirit would even bring to their remembrance. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:25–26, ESV)

Our God is so awesome. He did not send His Son to save us and leave us to fend for ourselves trying to muscle things through for Him until we die and join Him in His presence. He gave us life at the time of our salvation, and He gave us His Spirit to be fully in us to equip, enable, and empower us for His service so that we might be an incredible part of the greater works that Jesus left to be accomplished.

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