Sunday January 22
Jesus’ Description of the Holy Spirit
Read John 16:13, 14; John 15:26, 27; and John 14:17, 26. What very personal characteristics does Jesus attribute to the Holy Spirit in these passages? What does it mean to you that Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a helper or comforter (parakletos)?
According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit guides, speaks, hears, discloses, and glorifies (John 16:13, 14, NASB). The Holy Spirit also teaches and reminds us (John 14:26). He dwells in us (John 14:17), He testifies (John 15:24, 26) and He convicts (John 16:8). These sound more like the actions of a sovereign personality than they do an impersonal force.
Read John 14:16-18. How would Jesus’ promise be fulfilled? How are the disciples not left alone?
Jesus cares for His followers. He would not leave His disciples as orphans. He promised to send the Holy Spirit. Jesus here specifically says that He will send “another helper” or “comforter.” The words that Jesus uses here are significant. He promises to send another helper. Not a different one. The Greek word for “another” is “allos.” In the Greek language of the New Testament “allos” indicates that Christ will send another comforter who is numerically distinct but is of the same character, that is, who is similar to Himself. In other words, Jesus promises One like Himself, One who will take His place, One who will continue to do His work in us, and who is His representative.
This work of the Holy Spirit is the work of a helper or comforter. The Bible here uses the Greek word parakletos (John 14:16) to describe someone who is called upon for support, for assistance, someone called to our aid. Just as Jesus is a Person, the Holy Spirit is also personal. This idea is supported by the fact that personal attributes are often ascribed to the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26, 15:26, Acts 15:28, Rom. 8:26, 1 Cor. 12:11, 1 Tim. 4:1).
Why is it so much more comforting to know that the Holy Spirit is a personality instead of a mere force?