googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: John 14:26, The Comforter

Monday, January 26, 2009

John 14:26, The Comforter

δὲ παράκλητος τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, πέμψει πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα εἶπον ὑμῖν ἐγώ.

"and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and remind you of all things that I said to you." (John 14:26, Young’s Literal Translation)

In this passage, Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His apostles (and ultimately to the whole world). He described the Holy Spirit with the term παράκλητος, ho parakletos, (Strong's Number 3875). The term is translated many different ways including Comforter, Helper, and Advocate. It’s a compound word whose parts mean, “Called beside.” This paints a picture of the Holy Spirit as One who stands beside us, helping us, encouraging us, and comforting us. It’s a marvelous picture of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

In a recent Sunday School class, we were reading from 1 Thessalonians 4:18 where Paul said:

ὥστε παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις.

“so, then, comfort ye one another in these words.”

The word παρακαλεῖτε, parakeleite, (Strong's Number 3870) sort of leaped out at me. It seemed an obvious cognate of παράκλητος – which I later confirmed referring to Trenchard. The same word (rather, the cognate of it) used to describe the Holy Spirit, is our command to encourage one another.

I don’t mean to seem overreaching but I think the implication is clear: what the Holy Spirit is to us, we are also commanded to be to one another: helpers, comforters, and advocates. We are to stand beside them, encouraging them, just as the Holy Spirit stands by us. To be sure, we are poor shadows of the True Spirit but we are called to comfort, help, and encourage notwithstanding.

So how do we go about this task? I suggest we should let the Spirit be our Guide. See again what Jesus said of the Spirit:

“He will teach you all things, and remind you of all things that I said to you.”

How simple. We teach people and remind them of what Jesus said! What better encouragement can there be?

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