The Comforter or Helper. John 14:16
30th July 2010, mgh
1) The Comforter or Helper. John 14:16
In the Gospel of John, there are four references to the 'comforter' ('helper' or 'advocate' Greek: paraklētos) that would come after Jesus' resurrection. John was a Hebrew so he didn't think in Greek. The concept of a Comforter only occurs in John's work and so should be treated with caution and understood in John's context.
The following quotations reveal an interesting aspect of the 'comforter'. All are from the Apostle John's writings and as the word appears only in John's writings, it is important to closely examine his use of the term, 'Comforter'.
In John chapters 14, 15 and 16. they are used before the resurrection and are the Messiah's own words. It is the same word as translated 'advocate' in 1John 2, which was written after the resurrection and Yeshua's ascension to heaven. It should also be noted in passing that it was to John that the Revelation was given by Yeshua and this indeed would have been a comfort and source of hope for many faithful in the following 2000 years.
Let us analyse each of these references that use the word Greek: paraklētos (helper, advocate, comforter)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter/advocate, that he may abide with you for ever;.... But the comforter/advocate the spirit the holy, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:16, 26)
The Messiah here makes a number of important points.
The Messiah had been the Comforter, during his ministry, to his disciples. Here he states clearly that they would be sent another comforter. He then defines the comforter as the 'spirit the holy', which is the mind and power of Yahweh. The function of 'the spirit the holy' was stated as being twofold: to teach and to bring to remembrance all that the Messiah had taught the disciples.
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14:17-20)
When Yeshua ascended to heaven, there was a great void left in the lives of the disciples and they would have indeed felt comfortless and forsaken without their master and Messiah to guide them. How would this void be filled? Would all the Messiah's great works and teachings be forgotten? How could they carry on his great work and teachings?
The most important work was to continue to teach 'truth'. Yahweh is the 'God of truth' as explained by Isaiah. (Isaiah 65:16).The disciples had been warned that heresy would arise and his teachings distorted. John explains that the true worshippers had to worship in truth.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4: 23-24)
John has clearly stated that this 'comforter' was the spirit of 'truth', which Yeshua would send to them 'from the Father'. It was the power given to the disciples to absorb, discern and spread the knowledge of God's plan and Gospel message. The Apostles taught many people about the prophetic writings and showed that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. This is evidenced in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament and written for the early congregations of the first century. The emphasis in John's gospel is on the importance of 'truth'.
But when the comforter/advocate is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.(John 15: 26-27)
The advocate is the spirit of truth.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter/advocate will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an comforter/advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:1)
The preceding quotations from John reveal that the comforter, intercessor or advocate, was the communication of the word of truth. After the resurrection Jesus would no longer be amongst them. But the Spirit of Yahweh, the power of Yahweh, would come upon the apostles, so they could remember and not forget the words and prophecies of Yeshua. The gospel of Luke, in his precise style, refers to this same promise. He describes the 'power from on high' as the means by which they would be assisted in preaching. Why? They knew and had been witnesses of 'these things'.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24: 47-49)
John uses the same word paraklētos meaning comforter/ advocate/ intercessor in 1 John 2:1 to speak of how Yeshua, although not on earth, is our advocate in heaven before Yahweh. The comforter/advocate/ intercessor is about a go-between, or in modern terms a line of communication.
On the day of Pentecost after the Messiah's resurrection there was an amazing fulfilment of the promise of the 'Comforter', the power of Yahweh working among faithful men.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? (Acts 2: 2-8)
From this time onward following the demonstrated 'mighty' power of Yahweh and seen by thousands at that time, the disciples were able to go forth to establish the Truth, the hope of the Gospel. They could communicate in different languages, they could teach in truth, they remembered Yeshua's words and they were able to write the records of the events of Yeshua's ministry. It is thus that we today have those records and the Hope that the disciples had and taught. That was their comfort and also ours today if we have faith to believe what has been written. We then also have a comforter and advocate, Yeshua, as our mediator between God and man.(1 Timothy 2: 5)
A beautiful thought How close is the Creator?
For more in detail see Holy Spirit