This month we are looking at the Paraclete passages in the Gospel of John. The first one is John 14:15–17.
The term “Paraclete” is a transliteration of the Greek term Jesus used when He said, “I will pray (to) the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Paraclete), that He might abide with you forever” (v. 16).
This designation Jesus used combines two ideas: “Para” means alongside of, as we have in the English word “parallel.”
“Clete” conveys the idea of one called. Taken together, the resultant term yields the idea of one called alongside.
As Jesus unfolded the idea of the Spirit as the Paraclete, He took the idea a step further by saying, “He dwells with you and will be in you” (v. 17). Thus we focus this week on our need for the Spirit’s indwelling presence.
When Jesus spoke of the Spirit in this way in the first Paraclete reference, He had just announced to the disciples His impending departure, saying, “I go and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3).
His announcement set the mood for the occasion. It likely sucked all the air out of that upper room. Sorrow took its place. Jesus’ announcement of the Spirit’s coming must have come into that room like a fresh breath from heaven to dispel their sorrow.
We notice up front that Jesus assumed the personhood of the Spirit. He used the personal pronoun “He” and not the impersonal pronoun “it.” In the unfathomable truth of God existing as one God in three Persons (Father, Son and Spirit), the Spirit is a person, just as the Father and Son are persons.
He can be known and experienced as God’s personal presence with His people.
In this first Paraclete passage, Jesus enlarged on the idea of the Spirit by referring to Him as “the Spirit of truth” (v. 17). Earlier that evening, Jesus had declared of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
God’s Spirit is not only the Holy Spirit, He is also the Truth Spirit. As such, His mission includes leading Christ’s followers into all truth, as well as enabling us to become more holy in our thoughts and actions.
Jesus sought to help the disciples and all believers understand that the indwelling Spirit meets our need for the divine presence in our lives this side of heaven.
Given our sinful natures within and a fallen world without, we have no greater need than God’s presence abiding in us daily.
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