5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
16 “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
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It is painfully obvious that the disciples did not understand the deep spiritual truths that Jesus was trying to convey to them here. It must have been difficult for Jesus on this last night of His life before His crucifixion to see His closest friends and followers not understand what He was telling them. But He knew that they would one day understand, for He was able to promise them that the Holy Spirit would come after He was gone and would lead them into all truth concerning Him and His teachings.
Now Jesus does not use the name Holy Spirit here, but calls him “Counselor” and “Spirit of truth”. We know from John 14:26 that “the Counselor” and “the Holy Spirit” are one and the same. I believe that is quite significant these names that John uses for the Holy Spirit. Notice that in other English versions, they translate the Greek word in verse 7 as “Advocate”. John is using legal terminology here. And you might be asking, “So what’s going on here, and why are these titles for the Holy Spirit important?”
Jesus knew that the disciples would soon be on their own in the sense that He would be going back to the Father in Heaven (v. 5). And Jesus also knew that the disciples would be facing a hostile world that stood opposed to Him and to the Gospel message of salvation through Christ. (Read John 15:18 – 16:4 and read my last article “The Cost of Discipleship”.) Jesus knew that the disciples would need help to stand up for truth and righteousness.
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And so He lets them (and us) know that we are not alone in this battle against sin and evil that is in this world. Verses 8-11 say that the Holy Spirit, acting as our legal Counselor, will stand up and help us to correct the wrongful thinking of the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. What does this mean?
When the world says, “Do as you please, for truth is relative and morality is defined subjectively by each individual,” the Spirit of Truth will confirm within us and to the world that pursuing a self-serving life apart from God is to sin against the Almighty God. Jesus also said that “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) The religious leaders crucified Jesus for this, but when He rose from the dead, He proved that He was right and also innocent of their charge of blasphemy. And so the Spirit declares Him righteous, and we as Christians can be assured of this truth also.
Jesus was challenged by Satan himself, who is referred to here as the “prince of this world”. Satan tried to tempt Jesus to worship him and in doing so would be given all the wealth and power that this world has to offer. (Matthew 4:8-9) But only the True God is worthy of our worship, and the treasures of this world will all fade away and be useless in the life to come. And so the Spirit will help us to realize these lies of the devil, and he will ultimately be judged by God as the “Great Deceiver”.
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What is the bottom line here? Jesus came to teach us about the truths of God and the Kingdom of Heaven which belongs to all true believers in Christ. Sin was blocking all people though from full access to the truth and to Heaven, and so He died to open the door for forgiveness. And after He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within all believers, and he strengthens us in our understanding of who Jesus is, and is able to convince us that the “prince of this world” is doomed and has no more authority over our lives. Hallelujah!! Jesus paid our debt of sin, and has set us free to live in Truth. Do you believe that?
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