Today’s passage: John 14:15–31
Focus verse: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16–17)
Jesus promises to send us an advocate, the Holy Spirit. As our advocate, he will guide us and live in us forever. Holy Spirit and Spirit occur hundreds of times in Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.
The synonym advocate is much less common, appearing only six times. Five are in John’s writings and the sixth one in Job.
An advocate is someone who stands for us before another, such as arguing our case, offering support, or pleading on behalf of someone else. The Holy Spirit serves as our advocate to Father God.
Through Scripture we learn of a second role of our Advocate. Sent from God for our benefit, the Advocate will teach us what we need to know and remind us of Jesus’s words. He will help us do what we should do. And he will live in us forever.
A third name for the Holy Spirit is “Spirit of truth.” This only occurs in John’s writing. Since John is a poet, it makes sense that he would use this intriguing phrase. This phrase occurs three times in his biography of Jesus and once more in his first letter.
In each instance in the book of John, he quotes Jesus as saying the “Spirit of truth.”
In these contexts, Jesus talks of sending an Advocate to help us and be with us forever. He refers to the Holy Spirit. This makes the Spirit of truth a synonym for the Holy Spirit.
I like the label Spirit of truth. It better conveys who the Holy Spirit is and what he does: he comes to show us the truth.
In his first letter, John writes about discerning between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception, Satan. This is an important distinction to make. Not all that’s spiritual is good.
Though I doubt people will start referring to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth, remember that the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, shows us God’s truth.
- What do you think about having an Advocate in heaven?
- What do you think about having an Advocate to teach you and remind you what Jesus said?
- How is the Holy Spirit at work in your life?
- Do you embrace his power or pull away? Why?
- How do you react to the line “Not all that’s spiritual is good”?
Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.