These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless 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; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:1-15)
It was a tough night for the disciples full of tough news (humanly speaking). It was Maundy Thursday evening after the Passover supper. Judas Iscariot had gone out to do Satan’s bidding. Jesus took the time to prepare His alarmed, confused, and saddened disciples.
The Lord warned them that difficult days lay ahead (vv. 2-3). They would be kicked out of the synagogue. People would kill some of them, thinking they were doing God a service (cf. Stephen, Acts 7-8).
The truth was that those who sought to kill them would do so because they didn’t know God (v. 3).
Jesus told them that He was leaving them. They didn’t want Him to leave, nor did they fully understand why He was going. How could His leaving be a good thing? How could it be to their advantage if He left them? It was He who kept them together, who cleared up their confusion, who comforted them in their sorrow.
Yet it was necessary that He depart. He had to complete the mission given Him by the Father to redeem mankind. Then He would return to His native heaven — and send them another Helper!
Who was this Helper whom Jesus would send?
Has Jesus sent the same Helper to us? And if so, how can we know? How can we recognize Him and His work among us?
Jesus Previews His Gift!
There is a descriptive tag on this particular portrait. In fact, Jesus, the Giver of this gift, previews His Gift!
First, Jesus said that the Helper would guide His disciples in all truth. He would not offer new doctrines and new ideas. He would not offer subjective opinions but absolute truth.
This same Helper guides Jesus’ modern-day disciples as well by the absolute truth of God’s Word. It was Jesus Himself who defined absolute truth when He said, “Sanctify them by the Truth, Your Word is Truth” (John 17:17).
Second, Jesus said the Helper would not speak on His own authority, but would reveal only what the Highest Authority gave Him to reveal.
Plenty of folks in this world are willing to claim that they have been authorized by God to offer some new message. The Helper Jesus promised to send would not be like them. He would speak with God’s authority. He would repeat and confirm God’s own Word. Jesus’ disciples today still judge truth from error according to the standard of God’s Word.
Third – and this one is especially important – Jesus said that the Helper would glorify Him. We recognize the presence of the Helper when Jesus Himself and His doctrines are glorified, praised, and honored.
Moreover, those who set out to glorify themselves and not Christ call into question whether they are being guided by the Spirit of God. Those guided by this Helper are not all about “I”, “Me,” and “My”…but all about “HIM”!
Finally, Jesus said that the Helper would take of what belonged to Jesus and declare it to them. In fact, the Helper would help them to remember (John 14:26) what Jesus had said that they, in turn, might write it down for future generations.
The Helper is…the Holy Spirit!
He came with power, signs, and wonders on Pentecost. He still comes to convince, convert, and enlighten through the Word of God.
The Helper still comes on His mission today.
I once heard someone say,
“I’m spiritual…but not religious.” What does that mean? For us “spiritual” means “coming from and of the Holy Spirit.” He is the Helper of whom Jesus speaks. He is the one sent by Christ for our benefit and who still works in and among those who continue in His Word.
“Portraits of Christ” in John’s Gospel:
Ch. 1 The Son of God
Ch. 2 The Son of Man
Ch. 3 The Divine Teacher
Ch. 4 The Soul-Winner
Ch. 5 The Great Physician
Ch. 6 The Bread of Life
Ch. 7 The Water of Life
Ch. 8 The Defender of the Weak
Ch. 9 The Light of the World
Ch. 10 The Good Shepherd
Ch. 11 The Prince of Life
Ch. 12 The King
Ch. 13 The Servant
Ch. 14 The Consoler
Ch. 15 The True Vine
Ch. 16 The Giver of the Holy Spirit
Ch. 17 The Great Intercessor
Ch. 18 The Model Sufferer
Ch. 19 The Uplifted Savior
Ch. 20 The Conqueror of Death
Ch.21 The Restorer of the Penitent