With fear and sadness, the disciples listened as Jesus announced His imminent death. When they were deprived of His presence, who would be their Teacher, Friend, and Counselor? Knowing their desperate need, Christ promised to send His representative to be with them.
Helper, Counselor, and Comforter are various translations of the Greek parakletos, which is made up of the preposition para, beside, and the adjective kletos, called. It literally means one called to the side of, giving the idea of a person summoned to one’s aid. It may refer to a mediator, an intercessor, a helper, an advisor, or even a legal advocate.
Only John uses the term parakletos in the New Testament. Interestingly, he also applied this word to Jesus Himself (1 John 2:1).
During His earthly ministry, Christ was the disciples’ Counselor, Helper, and Comforter. Therefore, it is quite appropriate for His successor to receive the same name. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father at the request of the Son, and in the name of the Son (John 14:16, 26). The Spirit continues Christ’s work on this earth.
Through the Holy Spirit the disciples had the presence of Jesus. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:18, NKJV), said the Lord. He was not talking about paying them an occasional visit, which wouldn’t be of much comfort to helpless orphans. Rather, He was announcing a permanent and intimate relationship: I in you (John 14:20, NKJV). This was going to be possible only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, Christ’s human nature hindered Him from being personally in every place at the same time. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is omnipresent (Ps. 139:7). By the Spirit, our Savior is accessible to all, independent of where they are or the physical distance that separates them from Christ.
In what ways have you experienced the reality of the Holy Spirit, even though His nature and how He works in our lives is not easy to understand?