Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
The second half of John 14 is dominated by news of Jesus’ soon departure and his promise to send the Holy Spirit as an invisible replacement. The disciples found this confusing–they didn’t understand why Jesus was leaving or where he was going or how his replacement would work. In fact, after 2000 years of Bible study and church history, many of Jesus’ disciples are still confused.
Today, let’s focus on the job description Jesus gave his replacement. In John 14, Jesus said, “The Father will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever–the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-18).
The job title Jesus assigned his replacement was “paraclete”, which means an advocate, someone who presents your case in court. Today, Jesus might say, “I’ll send a lawyer to help you.” A lawyer? Really? What do you think Jesus meant? Do you need a lawyer to help you with your spiritual life?
First, Jesus said he will send another advocate, someone like himself. One of the most striking things Jesus did for his disciples was advocate for them against the judgmental religious establishment. Jesus knew and understood Old Testament law, he helped the disciples understand scripture without getting tied up in technicalities or being condemned by rigid application of the rules. He promised that his replacement would continue this work, advocating for them instead of using the law to condemn them. When we modern disciples feel condemned by God or scripture or church or family, we need the services of this advocate.
Jesus qualified the job title “lawyer” in another way. He said the advocate will help them and be with them forever. When I think of a lawyer, I want someone who will pin my enemies to the wall and get the charges against me dropped. Jesus’ didn’t adopt my narrow and self centered job description. He sends a friend and companion and helper to guide our thinking and decisions, not just a high powered defense lawyer to get us off the hook.
Jesus also describes his replacement as the “Spirit of truth” (v. 18). A lawyer’s job is not to reveal the truth. Their job is to represent the client and present evidence and argument in court. The prosecution presents evidence and argument for guilt, the defence offers arguments for “not guilty”. The legal counsel or advocate Jesus will send is different. As the Spirit of truth, he knows and exposes the truth of my innocence or guilt, but he also advocates before God for my forgiveness.
Our father, this person Jesus sends has a complex job description. We receive him in all his roles.
We receive him as the Spirit of truth, who knows and exposes our secret addictions and obsessions and jealousies and fears. And who also knows our heart to love you and serve you.
We receive him as advocate, who serves us and washes our sin-dirty feet and presents our case to you, asking you to forgive us.
We receive him as lawyer, who specializes in your law. He will help us find in scripture not just the unreachable standard of righteousness, but a way to follow Jesus into a life of holiness and love.
We receive him as helper and friend, as one who lives within us, sharing our deep secrets, comforting our deep hurts, inviting us to a deeper love of God and people.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.