Reflect: In this passage, Jesus tells us He is not going to leave us as orphans because He is sending us His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Counselor” who will be with the disciples forever (14:16). Note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit “another” Counselor, suggesting that the work of the Holy Spirit would take the place of His role in their lives. The Greek word is “Paraclete,” which suggests an adviser, encourager, exhorter, comforter, and intercessor. The idea is that the Spirit will always stand alongside the people of God (that’s you). The Holy Spirit is also referred to as the “Spirit of truth” (14:17). The Spirit testifies to the truth of God in Christ and brings people toward that truth through conviction leading to repentance and faith. (John: An Introduction and Commentary, by Colin Kruse.) Another important point in these verses is to know that in Judaism, disciples who had lost their rabbis (the disciples would call Jesus their rabbi) were often called orphans (v. 18). This will not be the case for Jesus’ followers since He is sending them His Holy Spirit to live in them and be with them forever. When I was a teenager, and in my freshman year of college, my father died by his own hand. It was exactly two weeks and one day after Easter. My father had just begun to go to church. We were not a church-going family so this was astonishing to me. Five days before his passing he invited me to go to a Wednesday night Bible study with him at church. Thankfully, I accepted the offer and accompanied him. It was the last time I saw my dad. The last time we hugged and said, “Bye, I love you,” was in the foyer of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California. I’ll never forget that one last wave as he was standing on the sidewalk watching me get in my V.W. Bug. Because of the tragic way in which he died, by taking his life, I felt a bit like an orphan and would often reflect on our last good-bye.
My heart was shattered and I was searching to make sense of the pain that I was in and that my dad must have been in to die so tragically. That next Sunday, I went back to The Church On The Way. Every time I walked into the church, I felt a relief from the emotional turmoil, so I kept going to church week after week. The pastor (Jack Hayford) shared how I could have hope in a personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit would live in me as a wise counselor and comforter. After much research, thought and Bible reading, I decided to take that step of faith and began a personal relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit really did come and live within me. Eventually, I no longer felt like an orphan, but a child of God and part of a church family. For over 40 years, this wise, comforting Spirit of God has lived in me and guides me into all truth.