In John 16, we find the last of Jesus’ personal instructions and words of encouragement for His disciples before His arrest. And He tells them more about the Holy Spirit.
” ‘But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, “Where are You going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
” ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.’ ” ~ John 16:5-15
The disciples were finally realizing that Jesus was leaving them, and naturally their hearts were sorrowful. But Jesus knew that the sending of the Holy Spirit would be of greater help to them and their future ministry than His physical presence would be. The Greek word used here for “Helper” is paraklētos, meaning “an intercessor, a helper, an advocate, someone called to one’s aid”. In the King James Version it is translated as “Comforter”. I love the expanded definition of the Holy Spirit! He is our advocate, helper, intercessor, aid, and comforter.
Why was it important for the Spirit to be sent in Jesus’ place? Jesus could not hang around on earth, in His physical body. Jesus came to earth to teach and to heal, but His primary purpose was to die for our sins. Once He paid the death penalty for us, He conquered death and gave us the promise and hope of not only being freed from the penalty for our sins and but of being restored before the Father and given the gift of eternal life with Him. After being raised from the dead, He ascended to heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. And someday, soon, He will return and bring us home with Him!
So why the Spirit? The Holy Spirit dwells within us, is the Spirit of God, and can be everywhere all at once, moving freely, because He is Spirit. Jesus’ physical body could only be in one place at a time.
Jesus tells us more about the ministry of the Holy Spirit: He guides us to all truth, and He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. After consulting commentaries by great teachers whom I respect, I have come to this simplified conclusion: the Holy Spirit points men to Jesus. Period.
How so? When He guides us to all truth, He is communicating to us the words of Jesus and God the Father, who are One. The Holy Spirit is not interested in attention for Himself, but His sole purpose is to point us to Jesus.
When He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, He is pointing them to the words of Jesus:
” ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” ~ John 14:6
“As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one;’ ” ~ Romans 3:10
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23
” ‘Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” ‘ ” ~ Matthew 25:41
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” ~ Hebrews 2:14-15
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23
” ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ ” ~ John 3:16
” ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’ ” ~ John 5:24
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” ~ Romans 5:8-10
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
The Holy Spirit shows the world the Truth: that we are all sinners who have fallen short of the righteousness of God, and the deadliest of all sins is to reject Jesus as our Saviour. Should we fail to acknowledge our sin, and our need to be saved and clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, we are making the choice to instead share in the judgment reserved for Satan and his demons: everlasting fire and torment, and eternal separation from God.
Jesus made a way for us! Choose Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life”!
The last words of Jesus to His disciples, before His arrest, recorded in the book of John, are words of encouragement ~ oh, how He loved them, and us!
” ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ ” ~ John 16:33
Be of good cheer! Jesus has overcome the world, and the ruler of the world, Satan.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31