It’s Sabbath number 2 out of 7 in our count to Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16). As we get closer to Pentecost, I wanted to focus more of my studies on the Holy Spirit. I’ve already written about the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, but there is so much more to cover.
This week, while reading through John 14, 15, and 16, what stood out to me was the word “comforter” (KJV) to refer to the Holy Spirit, particularly in connection with this verse:
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:26)
I have a troubled heart. By myself, I’m worried, fearful, distracted, anxious, and would rarely leave the house. But the better my relationship with God is, the more at peace I am. This is a subject close to my heart, because I know first-hand how much worse my anxiety gets if I drift away from God and the comfort of His presence.
The word “comforter,” or “helper” in the NKJV, is used in John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26; and 16:7. It’s from the Greek word parakletos (G3875), which is the same word used to describe Jesus Christ as our “advocate” in 1 John 2:1. According to the Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, it refers “to an aid of any kind. … one who comes forward on behalf of and as the representative of another.” It is translated “comforter” or “helper” because the root word, parakaleo (G3870), means “to aid, help, comfort, encourage.”
The use of this word here in John seems to tie the work of the Holy Spirit directly to Christ’s role as our Comforter. He said the Spirit “will testify of Me” and that it was good for the disciples that He leave them so that He could send the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:7). Again quoting Zodhiates’s dictionary, it says the Spirit “undertakes Christ’s office in the world while Christ is not in the world as the God-man in bodily form,” acting as “Christ’s substitute on earth.” Perhaps this is why we are told “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom. 8:9).
On Our Behalf
One of the themes in the book of Hebrews is what Christ does on our behalf. He was made like us and suffered in our place so that He could be our “merciful and faithful High Priest” who makes “propitiation for the sins of the people” and “is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:176-18).
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16)
Because of what Christ did, and does, for us, we have assurance that we can obtain help from God. Our High Priest “is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). He died to obtain our “eternal redemption,” and now appears “in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:12, 24).
These roles Christ is filling for us should be a great comfort. Read Hebrews 10:19-25 — it is not a description of someone who is fearful or discomfited. We have boldness in Jesus, a “full assurance of faith,” and know that we can receive abundant comfort from Him and the Father through the Holy Spirit.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (2 Cor. 1:3-5)
The assurance of having Jesus present through the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, Advocate, and Helper should work a change in the state of our hearts. In John 14, He said that He gives His peace to us. This word “peace” is from the Greek eirene (G1515), and it means “a state of untroubled, undisturbed, well-being.” It can mean an “absence or end of strife,” but that is not necessary for the inner peace which Christ is referring to here, and which is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
In Ephesians, Jesus Christ is called “our peace” because He brought us into covenant with God and gave us “access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:13-18). He made peace between us and God by removing the sin which separated us from Him, and gives us inner peace as a result of this new relationship.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
Look at what we are given. Power that makes us able and capable (G1411 dunamis). Love which actively and benevolently does good (G26 agape). Discipline, self-control and sound judgement (G4995 sophronismos). That is just part of the comfort and peace that God makes available to us through His Spirit if we remain in fellowship with Him.