The Comforter

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” —John 14:16-18

It wasn’t until the last few weeks of Christ’s life on earth that He began to instruct the disciples regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit in a new and dynamic way. In the old economy of God, the Holy Spirit was limited in what He could do in and through the believer because the debt of sin had not yet been paid. When the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2, we see the Lord’s followers radically transformed. We see a boldness and an anointing that was lacking prior to His coming. In these verses from John 14, we see the Lord instructing the disciples regarding the purpose of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in ours.

The word Comforter refers to the Holy Spirit and describes His purpose. In the Greek, the word Comforter is Parakletos, and it means “one called to the side of another to help.” The very meaning of Comforter tells us that what we are to do in the name of Jesus, which is to carry on His work, cannot be done without the help of the Holy Spirit simply because He is God and we are not.
The presentation of the gospel to the world, whether through preaching or through our own personal lives and conduct, cannot have the intended effect without the Holy Spirit empowering, enabling, and anointing us. Never forget that the work of God is not effective through intellectual or philosophical discourse. To be effective, the gospel must have the power of the Holy Spirit to penetrate the hearts of the unsaved.
By use of the word another in John 14:16, we are told that Jesus would no longer be in the world in physical form but instead “another” person of the Godhead would be sent to take His place. When Christ was on the earth, He was limited to being in one place at one time; however, as spirit, the Holy Spirit is everywhere at once.

The phrase, “that He may abide with you forever,” tells us that the Holy Spirit will not come and go, but He abides forever in our lives and also in the world. He is with us no matter what is going on in the world. When we are asleep, He is in us and with us. When we are on the job, He is in us and with us. In the midst of the storms of life, He is in us and He is with us. When the load we carry becomes too heavy, He is there to help us. The many different ways in which the Holy Spirit can help us are limited only by the degree of our lack of understanding and dependence.

In John 14:17, the Lord uses another name for the Holy Spirit— “the Spirit of truth.” In the Greek, it actually means, “the Spirit of the truth.” The Holy Spirit is truth, and He also superintends truth, which is the Bible, God’s Word. This tells us that without His help, we cannot truly understand and learn the Word of God.
In I Corinthians 2:12-14, the apostle Paul writes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In John 14:18, the Lord uses the word comfortless, which, in the Greek, is orphanos meaning “orphans.” The idea being that in that day, disciples of a particular teacher were looked at as children of that teacher and, upon the teacher’s death, they were considered orphans. But in this verse, Christ assures them that they will not be orphans.
Let the Comforter—the Holy Spirit—be all He can be in your life.

Joys are flowing like a river,
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with us forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.
Like the rain that falls from heaven,
Like the sunlight from the sky,
So the Holy Ghost is given,
Coming on us from on high.

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