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.
With Jesus’ departure at hand He wants to assure His disciples that He is not leaving them alone. He tells them that He will ask the Father to give them “another Advocate” who will be with them forever. Jesus identifies this “another Advocate” as the “Spirit of truth”, or, the Holy Spirit.
Bible translators say that the Greek word (parakletos), although rendered as “Advocate”, is untranslatable. It is a word so rich in its original meaning that no one English word can contain it. It comes from a verb meaning “to call alongside”, and denotes someone called alongside to help. Thus we have the various translations of the word as “Comforter” (King James), “Counsellor” (New International Version), “Helper” (New King James), “Friend” (The Message), and in our text today as “Advocate” (New Revised Standard). All of these are attempts to get at the different aspects of what the Holy Spirit comes to do.
By calling the Holy Spirit “another” Advocate, Jesus is promising them someone like Himself. The Spirit will be to the disciples all that Jesus had been to them while He was with them. Although Jesus is departing physically, he will be present with them forever through the Spirit. We can sing with confidence the old hymn about Jesus: “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own”.
Jesus will have more to tell us about the Advocate before the night is over (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7), but for now we learn that the Holy Spirit will be to the disciples all that Jesus has been to them. He will impart divine power for the greater works Jesus had promised they would do in love. The Holy Spirit will so transform their lives that they will share in the very life of God.
Sometimes I hear people say they wish they could have lived when Jesus walked this earth, so that they could know His presence with them. But through the Holy Spirit we can know Jesus’ power and presence with us today. He is with us to draw us close to the Father’s heart.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?