Sunday: The Representative of Christ
avatar

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.

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

What particular name did Christ use for His representative? See John 14:16-18. In what sense was that name so appropriate? See also John 14:26.

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?

Share Button

Comments

Sunday: The Representative of Christ — 33 Comments

    • Yes, indeed. By becoming incarnate in a human body, Christ gave up His omnipresence - not just for a while, but forever. But He sent the Holy Spirit to take His place in this world (John 16:7-8).

      Like(7)
      • Inge, Didn't the Scripture teach us that when He came to earth He "emptied Himself" of the attributes of God to accomplish the mission of salvation as Son of Man.... but on His return to Heaven, although He keeps the human body forever, He took on again the full attributes of God? When He returns to earth the second time, in all the glory of the Trinity, will it not be as fully God, with all the attributes of God? I never learned anywhere that being fully God means that in a human body He can be limited in time or space or power, etc. Fully God, fully man, He is The connection between our Father, Yahweh, and saved saints forever.

        Glory to His name, Jesus Christ added, without subtraction: Now not only that He is fully God, as He has always been throughout eternity, but He also now is the Lamb of God, slain and resurrected, and therefore the only One in Heaven and earth and all the universe to open the BOOK of LIFE that scripts the names of all His saints, etched by His own finger in purest Gold and sapphire and diamond and emerald and.............

        Like(9)
        • Well the context of the verse is particularly about being humble just as Christ was. So I wouldn't carry "emptied himself" too far away from that verse.

          But the question you are posing is a very old one in Adventism and even wider Christianity:

          If Jesus was 100% man, in what ways was He God?
          If Jesus was 100% God, in what ways was He man?

          I think we'll be studying this for eternity.

          For now, I am sure of this: Jesus was whatever He needed to be (and however He needed to be it) to get the job done!

          Like(13)
        • I can find no place in the Bible that states that Jesus gave up any part of his divinity forever. In contrast, the Bible shows that Jesus remains the same (Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.") and when He left, He was clear in stating His omnipresence when He said in Matthew 28:20 "...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

          Like(1)
        • Seig,
          Thanks for the important biblical point. If the Son of God gave up his omnipresence could He also give up His immortality, or something else? To think in strictly human terms may lead to the conclusion that the mystery of God in man (1 Timothy 3:16) means absolute and permanent divestment of certain attributes. This is a dangerous course.

          EGW has been cited to support the thought, because she said “Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally.” (DA p. 669)

          The encumbrance of which she spoke appears to be connected to the specific earthly mission of Christ. It would cause confusion were Christ to appear to all as ‘clones’ of himself after completing His sacrifice. It was best for the personal role to be assigned to an invisible presence, the Holy Spirit.

          EGW acknowledged, “O how little man can comprehend the perfection of God, His omnipresence united with His almighty power…I am afraid we have altogether too cheap and common ideas. “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee” (1 Kings 8:27). Let not anyone venture to limit the power of the Holy One of Israel.”

          And again,

          ‘But Jesus knows the plan of the battle, and he comforts us with the assurance that he is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. He says, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”’ (The Review and Herald July 19, 1892)

          Not many SDA would confidently say God was totally restricted to the womb of Mary or that divinity was totally trapped in the body in the tomb. So we might hesitate to suggest absolute confinement otherwise.

          Like(0)
        • The second quote from EGW in the previous post above was taken from The Upward Look p. 340. I apologize for the omission.

          Like(0)
      • Continuing:
        If Jesus Christ remained on earth, He had to remain in the limitations of the Son of Man, for if He were to take on the attributes of God here, no human being would survive.
        If He remained on earth, He could not complete His work in the Sanctuary in Heaven.
        If He remained on earth, humans will still misrepresent His mission, even in good heart, and miss the whole point of His coming here.
        So the Holy Spirit came to reveal who He is/was and what He taught
        ("Bring to remembrance"); to work with the human heart in conviction, and transformation of hearts.
        He is the full representation of God, to come to us.
        He is the full representation of Man, to go to God.
        He is the full connection between earth and Heaven, as God and Man.
        He maintains full representation: fully God and fully man eternally.

        I am fully grateful (as much as is in me)

        Like(15)
        • I agree with all you say, except that you seem to imply in your previous comment that Jesus can again be everywhere at once - i.e. that Jesus can appear in person to billions of people at once. This could give rise to a lot of non-biblical views. Jesus warned against false Christs, for instance. He told us that there would be a time when "all eyes" could see Him, but that is at the second coming. Jesus will still appear in only ONE body.

          In the meantime, if He appears in person, it is only to one person in one place at a time, because He is still limited to the limitations of the human body, just as we are. He voluntarily gave up His omnipresence. That's why He told His disciples that it was better that He go away and send the Holy Spirit in His stead.

          Like(0)
        • Sis. Inge,
          Yours is a valid concern concerning false (impersonation of) Christ. However the way to deal with that is not the teaching that the second person of the Godhead is restricted/limited, which itself has other implications and potential pitfalls. The sure counter is "Thus saith the Lord." The Bible makes abundantly clear the manner of Christ's next appearance and goes further to warn of impersonators.

          If Jesus desires He could project himself anywhere and multiply the effect. Even angels apparently have the ability to produce certain limited effects. And the devil will apparently try to personate Christ's second coming.

          The Bible says when Christ returns "every eye will behold Him." Does that mean He will make high speed sweeps around the world? Or will everyone be brought to one side of the world, Brazil say? Or some kind of panoramic projection? We really do not know, but we accept the plain testimony, and believe Jesus will have a way, as the unlimited God does.

          Great News! He is coming again! Jesus is coming again!

          Like(6)
        • Hello Bro Hurford,

          There is much about the nature of God and even the incarnation of Christ that we can not understand because our minds are finite. But there are a few things that I believe He has made plain. And it seems to me that either Jesus retains His human body forever, with its limitations of only being present in one place at a time, or he doesn't retain it. Which is it?

          That He was willing to give up one of the attributes of divinity forever is one of the things that makes His sacrifice so mind-blowing for me.

          As I understand it, it was because of this limitation that Jesus said "It is to your advantage that I go away" (John 16:7), and that He sent the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, in His place.

          The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high."{Desire of Ages. p. 669.2}

          Like(1)
        • wow!
          the Bible tells that all eyes shall see Him Revelation 1 verse 7, and it also tells us that Jesus took the human nature for eternity Phillipians 2 verse 7. I think the Bible its clear when it says all eyes shall him, even those who pearced him, meaning they will be able to recongnize the one they persecuted who will be in a human body but having devine powers he inherited when choosing to die for mankind.

          Like(0)
        • i am grateful for your commentary on this. I found it troubling that we appear to be limiting the power of Jesus. if He carries all the limitations of the human being, does that mean He can only hear us one at a time?no would think Jesus is much more than that!

          Like(0)
      • Yes, in character and in essence, the Holy Spirit is Christ and carries with Him the way to the character of the Father too. So if we know Jesus or we know the Father we know the Holy Spirit. If we know Jesus we know the Father, so the Trinity is One in essence. But it takes the inner motivation of the Holy Spirit to "know" God.

        Like(7)
  1. What a wonderful gift of God that Yahweh has planned to save us; the
    Trinity teaming together to accomplish His/Their mission of mercy and grace:
    Jesus Christ representing our Father and the Holy Spirit in becoming the Son of Man, our Sacrifice and Savior. The Holy Spirit representing the Father and Son in the working of drawing us to God, and transforming our lives to become like God Father, God Son and God Holy Spirit. Isa 6:9 integrating all in ONE. Powerful truth as God Trinity in One, represents to us what we can be in God, one with our brothers and sisters on earth, even before the final restoration and transformation. We give praise and honor and glory to our Father, our Savior/King, our Holy Spirit: God with us in three persons.
    I am blessed. We are blessed!!

    Like(2)
  2. Question: was the Holy Spirit present when Christ was on earth? And what was his purpose then?

    Like(1)
    • The same as it always was.

      I think, again, that the science of salvation is something we'll be studying for ages to come.
      I'm wary, though, of always trying to pin down members of the Godhead in various confined places like musical chairs :)
      I think all three members of the Godhead have given us, in the Bible, a glimpse of what they are trying to accomplish (especially since they desire our free cooperation). I believe that we still don't know the half of it--if so much.
      I also believe that Romans 8 gives us a nice view of the Godhead working together.

      Like(0)
      • Andrew, you are correct in recognizing our tendency to limit God to the content/context of our understanding. In actual fact, the Scriptures teach us about God in anthropomorphic language since our only frame of reference is what we have on earth in humanity and the earth glove. To illustrate:
        Jesus said to Nicodemus "You must be born of the Water and of the Spirit". We interpret that to mean "You must be baptized by Water and be transformed by the Holy Spirit".
        In actual fact, Jesus said, "You must be born of Water and of the Air". The word used for the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic) is "Air". If we are to be consistent, we will understand Jesus Christ to be saying "You must be born of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit", Jesus Christ identifying Himself as the "Water" of life, and the person of the Godhead who is always with us as the "Air" of life.
        Father, Son, Shepherd, Rock, Door, Water, Air, El Shaddai, Yahweh, Elohim, Lamb, King, Priest, Bread, Rose, Ladder -- all anthropomorphic language, used in Scripture to help us understand God through the limited eyes of humanity.
        As long as Jesus Christ remained on earth, He was bound within the limitations of the actual anthropomorphic. He could not be the manifestation of Divinity while He was here, or we would all die instantaneously. He had to return to Heaven to become the full manifestation of fully God/fully Man, Son of God/Son of Man. Throughout eternity He will be the manifestation of this unique union, so that we have full access to God (the now separated Father, in human language).
        Eventually we will know God, and the God/Man whom He has sent.

        Thanks for your insight. God bless.

        Like(0)
    • Very good question. Did the Holy Spirit ever leave the earth since the Creation? And if not, what did Jesus Christ communicate to us in His assertions about the Holy Spirit?

      Like(0)
  3. Thanks God for sending us a helper which is the holy spirit. He knew we could not do it on our own. He loves us so much.

    Like(0)
  4. Junior,
    Yours is a very pertinent question. In dealing with the nature and function of the Godhead we do well to recognize much of what we are dealing with is a mystery which is beyond our comprehension.

    That said we may also observe that much of what God does and reveals to humans is for our benefit and instruction, not because God has to, but because it is best and love demands no less.

    From scripture we know the Spirit was active from Creation and was at work in the Old Testament (Genesis 1:2; Genesis 6:3; Psalm139:7). While Jesus was on earth the Spirit was at work in the life of Christ (Mark 1:12) and supported John the baptizer (John 1:32, 33). As well the Spirit worked on and with others where Jesus was not physically present (Luke 9:49, 50). People in other parts of the world would be without any wholesome moral influence had the Spirit not been working. Since Eden the Holy Spirit has been convicting of sin and striving to get mankind to repent and turn and live.

    So then it appears the reference to Jesus sending “another of the same kind” (God) has to do with a particular role which hitherto was not being performed and the taking up of a function which was previously primarily that of Christ. Christ was to transition to another role in the Heavenly Sanctuary (the Holy Place) and the distinct assignment of the earthly role in salvation to the Holy Spirit would help us understand the unfolding of the plan of redemption.

    Christ although retaining human nature is still at the same time fully God. While He restricted His presence and restrained His divine power (to be our model and substitute) during His earthly sojourn we may go too far to suggest He does not have the ability to exercise all the attributes of God if and when He so desires. Certainly too God can multi-task, but apparently God is ever seeking to teach His Creation important lessons, such as cooperation, among other things. The Triune God works in the interest of created beings.

    Like(4)
  5. While Jesus has taken on human form, He demonstrated on earth the ability to read minds, to know what is going on elsewhere (e.g. that Lazarus was dead) and to act at a distance (e.g. heal the centurion's servant). From my perspective the combination of these abilities is functionally equivalent to omnipresence. He can hear our prayers even when not spoken out loud and he can act on them. The fact that the trinity takes on different roles does not imply that the others are somehow limited in their ability to do the same. I am sure that the Father understands our human struggles just as much as Jesus does. He is omniscient after all.

    Like(3)
    • James, "omnipresence" means the ability to be everywhere at once. Jesus cannot be everywhere present because He is now confined to a human body. He sent the Holy Spirit, who can be everywhere present, to take His place.

      Reading minds would be a function of omniscience (all-knowing)not omnipresence. To act at a distance would be a function of omnipotence (all-powerful), not omniscience.

      Aside from that, I agree with your statement. :)

      Like(3)
      • Inge, I certainly appreciate your exposition, and especially the quote from Ellen White, specifically indicating the limitations of Jesus Christ in a human body, which He will keep forever as our representative.
        With no need to debate the issue, but to continue being engaged in seeking knowledge of God (which is life eternal), may I offer this difference in our understanding of EGW:
        I understand EGW to be saying that the limitations of the human body of Jesus Christ on earth would not afford Him the opportunity to be with every person everywhere, on earth. The Holy Spirit came to earth to be with every person everywhere, as one of His Divine assignments.

        Would it be worthy of consideration that the picture we have of the The Father is one of being separated from humanity - that is, not here on earth, but away in Heaven, waiting eagerly for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Since in the Apostle Paul's day, the Holy Spirit, who in fact has been here on earth from the beginning, is the One who takes our prayers to the Father, with painful groaning. This does not signify a limitation of the Father, in nature, especially not a limitation of body.

        My understanding of Jesus Christ is that He is the God/Man, God incarnated into human nature. To come to earth, he emptied Himself/laid aside His divinity, and came here as a human. If He were to come in Divinity, it would be like the Father coming here. All humanity will die.
        How could He be the God/Man if He remains separated from His Divine nature that He "laid aside"? In returning to Heaven, He took again His full Divine nature, while remaining in the b

        Like(0)
        • Hurford, I respect your opinion but when you say, “To come to earth, he emptied Himself/laid aside His divinity, and came here as a human” I think it could easily be taken to mean that Jesus had no divinity while here on earth. To me it is important that we understand the difference between Jesus laying aside the prerogatives of divinity and His laying aside His divinity. It is my understanding that Jesus was fully 100% man and fully 100% God and that means that He didn’t divest Himself of His divinity but only the option to use His own power. A couple of examples should suffice:
          And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!" But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say,`Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say,`Arise and walk '? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins "-- then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." (Mat 9:3-6 NKJV).
          Now if Jesus was not God in every sense of the word the scribes would be right in condemning Jesus for blasphemy, but they couldn’t because as God He had the power to forgive sin.

          The second one is even more interesting, the raising of Lazarus. When Martha went out to meet Jesus she questioned why He didn’t come sooner. Jesus soon got to the point, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn 11:25 NKJV). Now we all know Jesus will be the one that resurrects the saints at the second coming. But John in his epistle said, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:12 NKJV). In other words Jesus is life and that was so while He was on earth. That is the understanding that Ellen White apparently had when she wrote, “Had Christ been in the sickroom, Lazarus would not have died; for Satan would have had no power over him. Death could not have aimed his dart at Lazarus in the presence of the Life-giver. Therefore Christ remained away. He suffered the enemy to exercise his power, that He might drive him back, a conquered foe” (The Desire of Ages, 528.2)
          To me what is most interesting is what happen at the tomb when He called, “Lazarus, come forth!" (Jn 11: 43 NKJV).
          Now we all believe that Jesus did everything with the Father’s power but there is a wrinkle that raises a question:

          “And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” His voice, clear and penetrating, pierces the ear of the dead. As He speaks, divinity flashes through humanity. (abid, p. 536.1-2)

          So I ask, if the Father was doing everything then why did Lazarus hear the voice of Jesus?
          The question here is whether or not Jesus was self existent and the source of life even though He was in the form of man. It is true that Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (Jn 5:19 NKJV) and "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (Jn 14:10 NKJV). But, Jesus also said speaking of His death and resurrection, "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father" (Jn 10:18 NKJV). So Jesus took His own life while nailed to the cross and then while dead in the tomb was able to raise Himself up again which was by permission of the Father.

          Even before that time standing before Pilate, “Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above’" (Jn 19:11 NKJV). The fact is that Jesus could have cut the whole crucifixion thing short and removed Himself from the cross which is what the taunt was all about (Mat 27:42; Mk 15:29-30) but that would have been rebellion against the plan of salvation. So, as far as I am concerned the important thing is that even though Jesus could use His own power and self will at any time He chose not to which was the greatest temptation He ever faced and what made the first temptation in the wilderness so powerful. He instead continually chose to set aside that option for about 30 years and chose to do everything under the authority and will of the Father just as we must do. But even with that there are times when His divinity shone through as it did just before He was arrested (Jn 18:4-6) but it was always with the Father’s approval and in line with the plan laid down from the beginning. Jesus never went off defiantly in His own direction and certainly never rebelled against the authority of the Father. Because of that no one can say that Jesus sinned in any way for sin is rebellion against proper authority or what the Bible calls lawlessness.

          Like(0)
  6. [Eileen, it would be helpful if you could supply the source (e.g. book & page number), do people can look it up for themselves, rather than just saying it came from the notes.]

    This quotation is taken from E.G. White 's notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
    "The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that he should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be his successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense he would be nearer to them than if he had not ascended on high.
    The Comforter is called "the Spirit of truth." His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus he becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus he exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the Word of God, that Christ subdued his chosen people to himself."

    Like(2)
    • Praise the Lord sis,the lesson is pointing how we are privileged to have a helper,comforter,teacher,reminding us of the requirement to be and maintain peace in our heart as children of God. Let's not seek for confusing questions,but gladly accept what the holy spirit through comfort of scripture revealed for our growth. So help us Lord amen.

      Like(0)
  7. When my prayers r being heard, prosessed and answered in a much better way than I hadde hoved for. That gives me New hope that my prayers to be protected and saved during + out of this the threatening situasjon that I Am in now where a persons/neighbours unreasonable frightening aggressive threats against me, is for something he himself has said repetedly and seems to have forgotten. I through he was just in a good mood when he invited me into a frendly conversation. I did not realisere that he might have been intoxicated; or that his rapid aggressive/unreasonable threatening moodswings could b due to abstinenses. He looked like he wanted to kill me when he had me corned. I Am now using ALL my energy to try to stay calm + quiet t rustning in that the My Saviour has reserver my silent yet desperate call for help to b fred from this person forever or that My Saviour shows him in a visjon or dream the the realiteten of what really happened and the grim consequens of his brutal unforgiving mercyless attitude will have both for me and himself in the end. I adresse my prayers to Jesus my original comforter, counseller and helper to help all involvert in this dispute to solve this a.s.a.p. Amen.

    Like(1)
    • Liv, I join you in a prayer to our Father in Heaven for your safety, and for your growth in love, which casts out all fear.
      Would you consider reading all of Psalm 27: The Lord is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear.............."
      Request the Holy Spirit to also bless Psalm 23 to your heart, helping you to trust Him more and more. The Lord also has protection available in certain human institutions and committed well equipped people. Ask for help. God bless.

      Like(0)
  8. Here is a third reason, our perception of who we as Seventh Day Adventist would want to think the Holy Spirit is. Somehow we draw a line between the Christians of other religious beliefs and their perception of who they perceived the Holy Spirit and the works we does. By so doing we proverbially throw out the baby with the bath water. In order to avoid discussion and Much needed debates that would accurately identify the working of the Spirit.

    Like(1)
  9. The Holy Spirit is the true and perfect Vicar of Christ (that is the representative of Christ)Initially, the Spirit is Divine, Jesus would not be represented by someone who is less than Divine. Also, the word "Parakletos" (a person called to one's aid) is applied to both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.I pray that we avail ourselves to the influence of the Spirit, who is Jesus himself. Thus humanity and Divinity would be blended in us and this is a recipe to conquer the Devil and his works.

    Like(1)
  10. I experienced the reality of the Holy Spirit though to the fact that I am alive. I see things unfold in front of me that I prayed for and his protection is with us always, at home, driving to work/store to purchase things we need. Life!!!for all the things we take for granted, such as talking, walking, seeing among other things. God promised that he will never leave us or forsake us and I thank him for the unanswered prayers because as a Father, he knows what we need and what's best for us.

    Like(0)

What do you think? If you like a comment, just [Like] it or post a thoughtful reply. Please provide a working email address and your real first AND last name to have your comment published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.