Study in John’s Gospel. Presentation 60. Another Is Coming Chap 14v15-18. Presentation 60. Introduction.
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The arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem had been met with popular acclaim. The expectations of the crowd were heightened. But when those expectations were not realised; when it became clear that Jesus was not about to take on the might of the Roman Empire, then the mood of the crowd changed and by the Friday Jesus was an unpopular hero hanging on a cross.
This change of mood did not take Jesus by surprise and there is therefore a sense of urgency as Jesus continues to instruct his disciples, who appear to be as bewildered as the Jerusalem crowd was about
the mission of Jesus, “at first the disciples
did not understand all of this.” 12v16
We have seen that the great concern of the disciples was the thought of being separated from Jesus! Jesus addressed this concern on a variety of levels: promising them that he would prepare a place for them and that he would return to take them home. In the interim he promised that they would do greater works than he had done and that prayer in his name would be answered. But there is one further great and significant promise to be unpacked.
The fulfilment of which would
mean a fundamental
transformation in the lives of
his followers. Jesus promised
that the Holy Spirit was
The role of the Holy Spirit is made clear in 16v13-14. The Holy Spirit will not speak of himself, but of Jesus. Therefore, we may conclude that any emphasis upon the person and work of the Spirit that detracts from the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is not the Spirit's doing.
How then does the Holy Spirit glorify the Lord Jesus Christ? He does so in four areas.
First, he glorifies Jesus by teaching about him from the Scriptures. After Jesus was gone, the Holy Spirit would lead the disciples into all the truth concerning him. As a result they would be able to preach a true gospel expounding the O.T. Scriptures and also record infallibly, the teachings of Jesus in what would become the pages of the New Testament.
They would be equipped to interpret the
significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This is why Jesus says, "When the Counsellor comes, ..
he will testify about me." John 15:26.
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can
now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,
he will guide you into all truth." 16v12-13.
The apostles knew that in the O.T. period the Holy Spirit had come upon certain prophets, kings, and others, speaking through them in order to produce what we know today as the Old Testament. The same Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples so that none of the truth of Christ's work or teachings necessary for our salvation and growth and the ordering of Christ’s
church would be lost.
Some ask, “How can the record of many of these
unschooled men be trusted? Could they not have
mistakenly mixed truth with error?”
No! Because the Holy Spirit was their guide,
inspiring [God-breathing upon] them.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ by drawing men and women to him. We have seen this happen again and again in our study of John's Gospel. Apart from this activity of the Holy Spirit, and irrespective of his inspiration of the Bible, no one could truly know Jesus or come to him.
This is plain from our text. After Jesus’ instruction concerning sending the Holy Spirit to be with the disciples forever, he adds,
"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." v17.
When John speaks of the "world" here, he means a world of men and women out of harmony with, and not on the same wavelength as, God. And so apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, no one can either see, know, or receive spiritual things. They are spiritually blind. "Except a man be
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" John 3:3.
So what happens? The Holy Spirit removes the bandages
from their eyes and the fog from their minds so that they
may understand. He then gently woos their wills until
they place their faith in Jesus as Saviour. Without his
work there would not be a single Christian in the
world. And so, when the Holy Spirit brings us to faith,
he glorifies the Lord Jesus.
However, the root meaning of the word ‘comfort’ carries the idea of strength and fortification. A comforter is not a soft quilt that you use to keep warm on a cold winter night or, a rag that you drag around with you in order to have instant reassurance regarding your small place in the world. A comforter is one who is with you to strengthen you.
The Comforter is described by one writer as:
"a ramrod down your backbone to make you stand for the truth; to make you take the right side, even though it's the minority side. The Comforter gives you strength to stand up strong in face of something that is vile and evil."
This is what the Holy Spirit did with Peter who you will remember had on the night of his denial, had shown himself afraid of a little girl. But on the day of Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit had come, Peter stood up and with great boldness saying, “This man [Jesus]…you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him...
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this
Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Acts 2v22-24, 36.
The Holy Spirit gave Peter backbone,
making him like Jesus, and through
Peter’s ministry brought glory to
The Greek word “parakletos”, translated as “comforter” means “one who is called along-side of” - a helper an advocate. This can be illustrated as follows:
Imagine you get into serious legal trouble and go to a law firm for help.
You tell one of the partners Mr. Hussein your story,
“Mr. Hussein, will you help me?” you ask. By doing so you
have called a lawyer "alongside of" you to help you. He is
now your ‘paraklete’, advocate or comforter.
In our text Jesus describes the Spirit as ‘another Comforter’.
So that, Jesus is the first Comforter, and the Holy Spirit is
the second. We have two advocates in this unique law
firm; the Holy Spirit, who is in charge of the earthly branch,
and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is in charge of the heavenly
Both advocates are working together and praying for us. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that our risen glorified Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father and that ‘he ever lives to make intercession for us’ Heb.7v25. He is praying for us in heaven. And at the same time the Holy Spirit is praying for us on earth, "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express“ Rom. 8:26.
The substance of his prayer is to make us more like
Jesus! What should trouble us then?
Nothing! If we have a faith-relationship
with Jesus we cannot be troubled about
our salvation, for Christ has purchased it for
us, and the Holy Spirit has sealed it to our hearts.
Moreover, they are both free to plead our case before the Father. "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Rom. 8v33-34.
We cannot be troubled about our growth
into the likeness of Jesus either, for this
is the goal of the Spirit's work within us,
changing us from ‘one degree of glory
into another’ 2Cor.3v18. This same
Spirit also teaches us the will of God for
our lives as he, first of all, moves us to desire
God's will and then directs us to the Word of God,
where alone the principles by which we can determine
God's will are located.
Fourthly, the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus by directing his followers into Christian service and sustaining them in it. This was clearly true of the early disciples. The Holy Spirit would be seen to direct them in the future in precisely the way as Jesus had directed them in the past. This is also true for those who became followers of our Lord after the resurrection. An example of which is found in the church in Antioch:
“While they were worshiping the
Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called
…So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.” Acts 13v2ff
It is clear from these verses that the Holy Spirit calls men and women into definite lines of Christian work and goes with them as they go into that work.
In other words, he not only calls them into Christian work in a general way;
he calls in a specific way, pointing them
to a definite field of endeavour.
This does not mean that he always calls in precisely the same way. That is probably why we are not told in this passage how the disciples at Antioch came to know that the Holy Spirit had designated Barnabas and Saul for missionary work. Nor does it mean that we should not consciously look for the Holy Spirit's leading.
We should, for it was as they ministered to the Lord and fasted –
that is, as they were taking the work of
the Lord seriously and were engaged
in it to the best of their ability and
knowledge - that the Holy Spirit
What this does mean is that the Holy Spirit leads Christians in their service to Christ and by so doing he glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ in that service.
Has he led you in such service? Then thank God for that!
Is he leading? If not, then you need to ask if in fact you really want him to make God’s will abundantly clear to you. Seek God’s face and expect God’s Holy Spirit to give you clear guidance.
Ah you say, “Christian service is a daunting business. Involvement in the mission and in the outreach of the church seems overwhelming”. Then notice the encouragement which Jesus gives. He says, “I will not leave you orphans,
I will come to you.” Left to ourselves that is precisely what we would be - orphans in an unfeeling and unloving world. But Jesus has not abandoned
us. It is true that he has gone to heaven from which he shall one day
return for us in glory.
But in the meantime, he has sent his own Spirit, the
third person of the eternal Trinity, to be with us.
We are not abandoned! This Spirit is the
Strengthener. He is the Spirit of Truth.
He is the Holy Spirit. His work is to
glorify Christ in us forever.