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Introducing the Holy Spirit

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: John 14:15–31

Until we stand one day in the immediate presence of Jesus Christ, we have the assurance and comfort of knowing we have a constant, divine helper, companion, and teacher in the Person of the Holy Spirit.


As we open this Wisdom Journey, Jesus and His disciples are in the upper room, just hours before His arrest. The intensity is growing as the disciples try to wrap their heads around the fact that Jesus, their constant companion for three and a half years, is soon going away.

Bear in mind that Jesus is still training His apostles to lead His church, but at this point, as they consider ministering without Jesus at their side, the word that is probably coming to their minds is impossible! Frankly, I often think of the Christian life in terms of that word—impossible.

As I have mentioned before, back in the 1800s Hudson Taylor would often bring balance to his China Inland missionary staff, reminding them that the work is always in three stages: impossible, difficult, done. But how does something move from impossible to achievable? Jesus answers that question here in John chapter 14:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (verses 16-17)

Let me jump ahead briefly and borrow from John 16 as we unpack this truth. Jesus says there in verse 7, “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.”

Jesus is effectively introducing the indwelling ministry of the third person of the Godhead, God the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells His disciples that the ministry of the Holy Spirit will give them an even greater advantage than the Lord’s physical ministry among them.

What does He mean? Well, the first advantage is that the Holy Spirit is our encouraging, ever-present help. Here in John 14:16, Jesus says He will ask the Father, and the Father will give them “another Helper” who will be with them forever.

Now your Bible version may use the word “Comforter” here rather than “Helper.” When many of us today hear the word comforter, we think of a blanket. But the English word comforter is derived from a combination of two Latin words that together mean “to fortify, to strengthen.”

The Greek word for Helper or Comforter here in verse 16 is paraklētos, which literally means, “one called alongside,” especially to give aid. This is a promise of a strengthening, encouraging, uplifting Helper.

When Jesus says that the Father is going to send “another Helper,” that word translated “another” refers to another of the same kind. In other words, the Holy Spirit is of the same divine essence—He is God the Spirit in the same way that Jesus is God the Son.

The truth is that we are often in panic mode. We need answers, we need help, we need insight, reassurance; we need things we don’t even know we need. Our feelings and circumstances often overwhelm us, and all we can do is say, “Lord, send help.” And the Holy Spirit takes over from there!

Here is the second advantage: The Holy Spirit is our living, constant companion. Jesus describes the Spirit in verse 17 as “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.” Again, Jesus emphasizes that He will dwell with us and be in us.

Imagine that! You have a divine helper, encourager, uplifter, dwelling within you. The Holy Spirit is not just close to you; He is indwelling you. You do not have to have some unusual experience to get more of Him. He has taken up residence inside you. You cannot get any more of Him, but you can sure give Him more of yourself.

This truth is not only encouraging; it is rather convicting as well. What movie did you watch last night? The Holy Spirit watched it with you. What did you do on that date last weekend? God the Holy Spirit was there. What did you write on your tax forms last year? What did you say under your breath about someone in church? Whatever you wrote, whatever you said, whatever you watched, God was there.

In verses 18-24, Jesus unloads all kinds of details in rapid-fire fashion. He delivers information related to what is ahead for His followers and the relationship they will have with Jesus and God the Father. And this points to another advantage of the indwelling Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is our faithful, illuminating teacher. Verse 26:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Jesus knows that He has much more to say and teach, but the disciples are not ready for it. At this point they are not even anticipating the crucifixion, much less His resurrection. And they certainly do not know anything about the coming dispensation of grace and the church age that is just around the corner. They have no idea of the global mission the Lord has planned for them.

They are like first graders about to begin a college graduate’s career. Talk about impossible! Well, let me tell you, the Spirit’s presence will be the divine answer.

The Holy Spirit will bring to the minds of these apostles the words and works of Jesus Christ so they can write them down by means of inspiration. This will become the New Testament, the Spirit-inspired record that is our source of illumination to this day.

As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable.” It is profitable, Paul writes, for four things:

  • For teachingIt tells you what to believe.
  • For reproofIt tells you where you are wrong.
  • For correctionIt tells you what is right.
  • For trainingIt shows you how to do what is right.

The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures now clarifies the Scriptures to our hearts and lives so we can be taught at any time, in any location, what to believe and how to behave.

What is the net result of all this? It is peace, as Jesus tells us in verse 27. Notice how He comes full circle in His teaching. He began in verse 1 by saying, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” and now He ends here by saying the same thing:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

The world longs for and hopes for a sense of inner peace. Jesus says that this kind of peace is a gift from God the Father to all who believe in God the Son and are then indwelt by the comforting, encouraging, uplifting Holy Spirit.

In verse 29, Jesus assures the disciples that He has told them what they need to know about the coming hours. They have not connected all the dots, so to speak, but the peace He has given and the Holy Spirit who is coming will sustain them in the days and years ahead.

Then the Lord says to them in verse 31, “Rise, let us go from here.” I find that an encouraging command for us today. Every day we can rise and face another day, knowing that we are not alone—the Holy Spirit is our ever-present helper, our constant companion, and our illuminating teacher.

You might be facing something impossible today—a family situation, a financial issue, a physical need, or a problem at work or school. Face that impossibility in the security of knowing the Holy Spirit is right there with you. He has the ability to move you through the stages of that particular challenge. He can take you from impossible, to difficult, to done.

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