Counselor, Spirit of Truth, and “in us”

John 14 is a beautiful description of the Trinity in action. John shows us the Father as one who is seen through Jesus, who dwells within Jesus, is glorified through Jesus, and the sender of both Jesus and the Spirit. He shows us Jesus as the way to the Father, the truth and life whom is the only way, and He who dwells within us (v.20). The Spirit, also known as the counselor or the comforter, is the Spirit of truth or that can be seen through this passage as the Spirit of Jesus who dwells within us and makes his home in believers guiding them in truth and wisdom. In this passage, the Spirit is portrayed in three primary ways: Counselor, Spirit of Truth, and “in us”.

First, the Spirit is our Eternal Advocate who is called the parakletos which can be accurately translated as Counselor, Advocate or Mediator. The common meaning for this term in the ancient world was for one who would give legal assistance in the court of law. Therefore, the first disciples hearing this would have considered that very thing of him being one that would help them in guidance. The three terms previously mentioned are all helpful translations but what we see often times translated is Helper; this is a fine translation as long as it is taken in the sense of a superior helper and not as a subordinate helper within life. The Spirit does what we could not possibly do on our own because of his infinite wisdom and power being God himself. When looking at these statements from Jesus it is clear to see that he intimately knows the Spirit because the Spirit is in him and he is in the Spirit and the Spirit will be in us.

Second, the Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (v. 17). Truth is very important in John’s gospel and his other letters. Consider how Jesus calls himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When taking into account the previous point of the Spirit being our advocate, it is important to realize that he is not just an advocate but he is an Advocate of Truth and this truth comes from God; “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all”. God can not lie; therefore, truth is even a core attribute of his divinity. The statement continues along to say that the world cannot receive him. The world can’t receive him because they haven’t accepted Jesus to be the Truth; therefore the Truth can’t dwell within them until they come to know who the Truth even is. The Truth is the Father, Son and Spirit all in one because that particular attribute is attributed to them all. Ultimately, truth is freedom. Jesus came to set the captives free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He leaves and sends the Spirit to set us free by the power of the truth and to proclaim God’s goodness that he will not leave us as orphans.

Lastly, the Spirit is said to be “with you and in you” (v. 17). Before I move on, it is vital to understand that the Spirit is never “gotten” but is only “given”, he can never be “taken” but only “received”. Christians simply receive the Spirit at their conversion but there is no such thing as a Christian without the Spirit, which would contradict Jesus’ teaching; however, it is possible to quench the Spirit and bury him deep down and not receive the “nudges” that he gives us on a consistent basis. Jesus says that “I will be in you”, therefore, it would be acceptable to say that he is in us through the Spirit of Truth which comes from himself and in his name (v. 26) because he is with the Father and they are one and they send the Spirit to be with us as he promised; hence, the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. Verse 23 says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Notice the plural pronouns in this statement “we will come” “make our home” which implies that God is seen through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all beautifully One.

  1. Bryant, Beauford H., and Mark S. Krause. John. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub., 1998

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