Lesson 19: Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series. 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:16, 17).”

With these words Jesus introduces “Another Counsellor” who will not only be with the disciples but also live within them. We might read this with a calm mind. But the disciples had just heard that one of them was to betray Jesus and another one was going to deny him.

They had just heard with certainty that Jesus was going away from them. They had just experienced Jesus washing their feet—a task that only the lowest of slaves was asked to do in those days. All this was a bit too much for them.

The sudden feel the disciples felt that night of being left alone—orphaned—without Jesus was something neither you nor me can understand. No wonder they felt left behind as “orphans (see 14:18).” It is in this context that Jesus introduces to them the blessed Holy Spirit.

“Jesus had been with them, but the Holy Spirit was in them and would remain in them. There was no fear that he might go away. He would remain with them always. And what He was to them He is to us also—a permanent presence.”–from The Holy Spirit, Our Counsellor by Selwyn Hughes.

Another Counsellor

The Greek word parakletos is the word used for Counsellor.
The word basically means “someone called alongside” to help. Another helper does not mean a substitute. It means like the other or another of the same kind. It simply means “like Jesus.” See Acts 16:6, 7 where the “Holy Spirit” and the “Spirit of Jesus” are used interchangeably. The Holy Spirit comes not because Jesus is absent, but he comes to confirm the presence of Jesus.

Several words in English are used to capture the meaning of the Greek word parakletos:

  • Advocate is one word. A legal term has been used because the Holy Spirit takes up our case in our defense like a lawyer does in court. An advocate is one called to our side to help; isn’t he?
  • Comforter is another word. Four hundred years ago when the King James Bible (1611 A.D.) used that term, the word comfort had the meaning of giving strength. But in modern usage comfort is a bit soft.
  • Helper is a good word that is used, but again that also suggests someone lower in rank which is not true about the Holy Spirit. He is God himself. The Bible tells us he is our helper in prayer. Read Romans 8:26, 27 and find out how he helps in our prayers.
  • Counsellor is another word. Of course it suggests to us the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and his constant help to us when we need his guidance. And when we reject his counsel we grieve the person of the Holy Spirt (Ephesians 4:30). What a gentle and loving person the Spirit of God is even though he is someone with power unlimited!

No one of the above terms is perhaps enough to communicate to us the full meaning of the term “parakletos” to us. But the more important point to note is that the counsel the Holy Spirit gives will be no different from that of Jesus when he was on earth. In other words the Holy Spirit will not give you advice or counsel or guidance that is against the truth revealed in the Bible.

Read more on The Promise in The Holy Spirit Series

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