Lately, I’ve been praying for friends across the country who are experiencing deep hardships. I’m often caught up with emotion for the burdens they bear.
Jesus’ disciples must have felt similar emotions when they heard Jesus say He was leaving them (see John 14). This knowledge was a heavy burden to their souls. Jesus encouraged them saying, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:13-15).
As he finished those wonderful words regarding prayer, I imagine Him seeing a troubled look in the disciples’ downcast eyes. But, you are leaving! Oh Lord, who are we to go to when you are gone?
Jesus answers their unspoken question by telling them what He is going to pray for!
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16,17).
Jesus gives them (and us) the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure the immensity of this promise sank in to the disciples’ minds that evening over dinner, but it did later, beginning with the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2).
You see, the Holy Spirit is a powerful answer to our friends’ trials, and our own burdens and heartaches. When Jesus was about to depart this earth, He directed the eyes and expectations of His disciples to another Counselor—the Holy Spirit. We need to direct our friends to that same source of comfort.
1) The Spirit points us in the right direction! Jesus called Him the “Spirit of truth.” In challenging times, we can be vulnerable to sin and the misdirection of the enemy. The Spirit guides us along God’s path.
2) The Spirit is a parental presence with us and in us. For those who feel alone, needing fatherly strength, or motherly affection, Jesus says, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18). He goes on to explain that He will be this comforting presence—with us and in us—by His Holy Spirit.