The Comforter - Nathele Graham -
The Holy Spirit has been at work from the very beginning of time. We know of the Holy Trinity, but we talk more about God the Father and God the Son. It seems we know little about God the Holy Spirit. The first mention of God is in the first verse of Scripture. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2. The word “God” comes from the Hebrew word Elohim, which is a plural masculine noun. In Hebrew, a plural is at least three. In this verse, the structure is such that it is a plural used as singular, indicating God in three persons…the Trinity. After all things were in place for mankind, God created Adam and took Eve from him to be a helper and companion. After they were evicted, Adam and Eve had many children and the population of Earth grew. Satan and his fallen angels were busy trying to destroy humanity by corrupting the human genome, but the Holy Spirit was leading a few, such as Enoch, away from the corruption. Eventually the corruption and evil became so bad that God had to put an end to it. “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3. God called Noah, who was genetically pure, to build the Ark. God had set 120 years until His judgment would come. Only those who had not been corrupted by evil would be saved: eight humans and the animals which God selected. The Holy Spirit would no longer strive with man. Before the judgment, Enoch was Raptured, and when the Ark was ready the flood came. All of creation was destroyed because of the corruption and evil, but the few who weren’t corrupted by the evil were saved. After the flood waters subsided, the Ark came to rest and life began anew.
After the flood, Satan still worked his evil by corrupting the minds of many people, but the Holy Spirit was still active. The Hebrew word for spirit is “ruah” and when speaking of the Holy Spirit, it’s defined as “the Spirit of God, the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son”. He came upon the prophets and they spoke God’s words of warning and sometimes spiritual gifts were given for specific reasons. In the book of Judges, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Othniel, and he led the Israelites to victory against Chushanrishathaim and the oppression he inflicted (Judges 3:9-10), yhe Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon (Judges 6:34), and so on. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the Israelites had many victories, but the Spirit wouldn’t indwell people for many years, but would accomplish the task then leave that man. When Samuel anointed Saul as king over Israel, he said that Saul would meet a band of prophets, “And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” 1 Samuel 10:6. The Holy Spirit changes a person, but Saul eventually turned against God and the Holy Spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:14). When Samuel anointed David to be king after Saul, “…the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward…” 1 Samuel 16:13b. In spite of that anointing, David sinned greatly. He impregnated another man’s wife then made sure her husband, a soldier, was killed in battle. David was in danger of the Spirit departing from him. “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11. David’s repentance and remorse were heartfelt, and God forgave him.
There are many references to the Holy Spirit working during the Old Testament days, but the Spirit wouldn’t stay with a person, whether prophet or king, continually. When Jesus entered His creation, the working of the Holy Spirit changed. The men who followed Jesus were Jewish and understood the things of God through their knowledge of the Law of Moses. Their understanding would be changed. When it was time for Jesus to shed His blood for the salvation of mankind, the disciples didn’t know what was coming. Jesus knew and it was necessary for His disciples to be given some final instructions. They ate supper, and Satan entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot. Then, Jesus humbly washed the disciples’ feet, giving an example of humility every follower of Christ should show. He even washed the feet of Judas. “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:13-14. Jesus always led by example, and if you call Him Lord and Master, humble yourself before Him and before other people. Pride will always stumble a Christian. After Judas departed, Jesus spoke to His true disciples. “Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” John 13:31. Jesus knew the men who followed him were a rowdy bunch, but they would have to change their ways. John and James were nicknamed The Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17)! They all needed to learn Christian love, and so do we. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35. It isn’t always easy to love each other, but remember, Jesus even washed the feet of the one who would betray Him. Jesus is our example.
Jesus’ words brought concern to the hearts of His disciples. He was going away and they couldn’t follow, but they were to love one another. Then Jesus told of mansions He would prepare, and He assured them (and us) that He would go, but He would also return. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3. The disciples tried to understand, but Thomas spoke up and said that they didn’t know where He was going, so how could they know the way? Jesus answered with words that we need to take to heart. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. There is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. Buddha, Mohammad, and good deeds cannot save you from eternity in Hell. Only faith in Jesus will bring eternal life with Him.
The disciples had become very disturbed by His words. He was going away, they couldn’t follow, He would prepare a place for them, then return to get them. Jesus had more to promise them, and us. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16. This is the promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There are important words to understand in this verse. One is the word “another”. In Greek there are two words translated “another. One is heteros, which means a similar thing but different. For example, if I was using a red pencil but asked you for a heteros pencil, I wouldn’t want a red pencil, but a blue or green one. The other word for “another” is allos, which is another of the same sort. If I’m using a red pencil and want an allos pencil, I’m asking for another red pencil. In this verse, Jesus promised to give allos Comforter which is another like Him…God. Think back to the Old Testament when the “…Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2b, and prior to the Flood “…My spirit shall not always strive with man…” Genesis 6:3, and the Spirit which would come upon prophets and kings. That Holy Spirit of God would soon abide with believers. The other word to understand is “Comforter”, which comes from the Greek word “parakletos”. In Scripture it’s the Holy Spirit which would lead the disciples to a deep knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. This same Comforter which led the disciples also lives in us and leads us.
All people who have truly accepted Christ also have this blessing of the Comforter. He leads us into a deeper knowledge of Scripture and guides us in our way of life. Friends who haven’t accepted Christ haven’t received the Holy Spirit and will have no understanding about the Gospel, salvation, and why they need to come to Jesus. “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17. The Holy Spirit indwells Christians (1 Corinthians 6:19, Ephesians 1:12-14, Ephesians 4:29-30). He lives in us and is our guide. If we learn to lean on Him, He will open our understanding of Scripture and help us to apply it to our lives.
These things were hard for the disciples to understand. Jesus was telling them a truth that hadn’t been revealed before so they had questions. How would Jesus manifest Himself only to His followers and not to the world? “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.” John 14:23-25. Anyone can say they are Christian, but it takes more than words to be a Christian. If you have truly and honestly accepted Christ, then you will obey His commandment; if you love Jesus you will obey Him. You’ll be humble, remembering that Jesus even washed Judas’ feet. You will love people, because that’s a commandment from the lips of Jesus. If you are swelled with pride, then you need to ask yourself if you’ve truly surrendered your life to the One who died for you. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26. You cannot be led by the Holy Spirit if you’re living in disobedience to Christ’s words.
Jesus had much more to teach the Disciples that night. It was important that they understood they needed to continue to follow the example of Christ. The next few hours would be a test of their faith, but their life after the Resurrection would also be filled with persecution and most would be martyred. If they feared what the world threatened them with, they would fail in their commission to share the Gospel with the lost souls in this world. They had to follow Christ’s example. Jesus’ words are also for Christians today, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10. “Abide” means continue, or remain, in God’s love. It’s not a suggestion that we love our fellow Christians. Jesus gives this commandment more than once in this teaching. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:12-14. Need I remind you that Jesus spoke these words just after Judas had left to betray Him? Jesus would soon be arrested, tried illegally, and crucified. Yet, He would do this willingly. He laid down His life for you and for me.
As Jesus continued teaching and spoke of the fact that the world hated Him, and so it will hate His followers. People would kill Christians and think they were serving God. Remember, Satan hasn’t stopped trying to draw people away from God and he still lies to people today just as he lied to Eve in the Garden. It was Satan who entered into Judas, a man who had followed Jesus, and turned his thoughts to betrayal. Judas wasn’t indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It was Satanic evil that caused Judas to betray the Messiah, but it fulfilled prophecy regarding the crucifixion. Only God’s pure blood would take sin away. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me not more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11. Jesus knew He had to die on the cross. He knew that the only way for eternal life to be open to mankind was if the pure blood of God was shed as the once for all sacrifice for sin. He knew that the only way for the Holy Spirit to indwell humans was by His death on the cross.
Christ was crucified. Christ was buried. Christ arose on the third day. He conquered death and gives eternal life to anyone who truly accepts His death, burial, and resurrection for salvation. What’s more, His death allows the Comforter to indwell those of us who have given our life to Him. This truth should change your life. Don’t quench the working of the Comforter living in you. Live for Christ who died for you.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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