You stood within arms’ length of Jesus when he stopped the pallbearers in a funeral procession and spoke to a corpse. “Young man, get up!” To everyone’s astonishment and even terror, the dead man sat up on his bier and began to talk. Later, you watched a deadly storm instantly calm when Jesus told it to, and you saw Jesus deliver a raging lunatic from a host of demons. You heard amazing sermons and discussed with Him concepts that were thrilling and new and fathomless. You saw food multiply and you saw people bent over with arthritis immediately straighten. You saw blind people suddenly distinguishing colors and shapes and faces, and hapless lepers restored in pure health to their families.
And now Jesus tells you something that you simply don’t believe: “It is to your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7). How can that possibly be? What could be better than Jesus right there to answer questions and to heal every physical and mental disease known to man? What could be the advantage in Jesus going away when disputes need settled among His disciples?
“For unless I go away the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you,” Jesus continues.
Jesus, of course, is referring to the Holy Spirit. Names and titles of the Holy Spirit specify what He does, and they include Comforter, Counselor, Spirit of life, Revealer of truth, Advocate, and Intercessor. The Spirit teaches, testifies, guides, convicts, empowers, and searches the heart; He can be grieved.
Jesus qualifies His statement by saying this, “And [The Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
Here Jesus explains one of the primary functions of the Holy Spirit: to convince the entire scope of humanity (not just the Jews) of its need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit stirs something in each person’s heart that is referred to as “conscience,” and He speaks to each individual of judgment to come. We all can attest to people we know who are not yet saved, but still have a sense of right and wrong, of judgment, and of eternity.
So you have this progression of God communing with man chiefly through priests and prophets under the Old Covenant. Coming into His presence requires a material sacrifice and all kinds of ritual and conditions. Then Jesus comes on humanity’s scene, and God is suddenly in the flesh. Jesus is Someone to talk to, hear, and be healed by His touch . . . if one can get close enough to Him. And then Jesus leaves, ascends to the Father, and now there’s the Holy Spirit – God – and He’s actually physically dwelling IN us!
No longer must you slaughter an animal for your sins. No longer must you contend with throngs of people to get God to heal you. No longer must you run a great distance to find Jesus in a neighboring village to hear Him speak. You can awake in the middle of the night when you’re scared or worried or in pain, and God is right there with you!
The Greek word used in this passage referring to the Holy Spirit is paraklētos, and here is how it is defined:
The first description, one summoned to another’s side, especially ministers to me. There’s no time lapse in when you need Him and when He appears. He’s always right there!
We’ve only scratched the surface of the person of the Holy Spirit and His ministry, and what this means for us as a Royal Priesthood! Much more to come!
Which title of the Holy Spirit stirs you the most?