written by: W. H. Griffith Thomas
JOHN 14:16 -“I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.”
One has only to observe the size of a crowd watching the progress of a building on some city street to realize the interest that such an operation – its commencement, development, and completion – has for the average man. The foundation of the structure must be deep, and broad, and strong; and its walls and its roof must be solid, and firm, and lasting.
Through each succeeding Church year, the members of the Church are called upon to consider the history of her building. The Incarnate Word is her foundation – deep with the mystery of God, broad enough to reach all, and solid with Divine strength. The Church’s walls may be identified with Christ’s Life, His Death, His Resurrection, and His Ascension – all of which are solid in material, firm in execution, and lasting in nature; and these lead up to the “roof” or climax of the structure, the descent of the Holy Spirit of God.
All of Christ’s life prior to the Cross, although perfect, was preliminary in the sense of His own frequent statements (e.g., John 7:39; 12:32; 14:12, 26, 28, 29; 15:26, 27; 16:7-28). The word used by Him to describe the Holy Spirit is translated into English as “Comforter.” This term, however, is too narrow to cover the whole significance of the Greek word that is transliterated “Paraclete,” “one called in to help.” The Holy Spirit is a Consoler, but He is far more. Perhaps the very best modern term would be “Representative” – one who takes charge of a matter for someone and sees it through; for the Holy Spirit is God’s Representative in the life of the believer and of the Church as a whole.
This reminds us of the word “Advocate,” used of our Lord in 1 John 2:l. It is indeed the same word, “paracletos”; so that we are not surprised to read in our text the promise, “He (the Father) shall give you another Comforter.” Yes, there are two Comforters, or advocates, or Representatives – Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Further, the word for “another” does not connote one who is instead of someone else, but rather, a second person who is in addition to a first. Neither does it suggest another of a different kind (eteros), but rather, another of the same kind (allos) . For a passage where two Greek words translated “another” appear in contrast, see Galatians 1:6-9: “A different gospel which is in no sense an addition to the true one” might be the literal rendering. In brief, then, the Holy Spirit is an additional Comforter of the same kind as Christ, which is consistent with the essential oneness of the Holy Trinity.
Note their relation to each other and to the believer:
Thus the Holy Spirit, representing Christ to us, bestows forgiveness, grace, and glory obtained by Christ in His death. Objective facts become subjective possessions; outward revelations become inward experiences.
So two Comforters – and both necessary. We may tabulate as follows:
|Christ in Heaven||The Holy Spirit on Earth|
|Linking us to God||Uniting us to Christ|
|Representing us to God||Representing Christ to us|
|Presenting our prayers to God||Inspiring our Prayers to God|
|Is our Way to God||Leads us along the way of life|
|Reveals God as Father||Reveals Christ as Lord|
|Personifies the Truth of God||Points to Christ as Truth|
|Has completed the work of salvation||Instills trust in the work of Christ|
|Has laid the foundation of the Church||Builds us upon the Foundation which is Christ|
|Is preparing a place for us||Is preparing us for that place|
“Come, Holy Spirit, come,
Let Thy bright beams arise,
Dispel the sorrow from our minds,
The darkness from our eyes.”
“Convince us all of sin,
Then guide to Jesus’ blood;
And to our wondering view reveal
The secret love of God.”
“Cheer our desponding hearts, Thou heavenly Paraclete,
Give us to lie with humble hope
At our Redeemer’s feet.”
“‘Tis Thine to cleanse the heart,
To sanctify the soul,
To pour fresh life in every part
And new create the whole.”
© W. H. Griffith Thomas, D.D., Sermon Outlines Exegetical and Expository, (Grand Rapids, MI.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953), pp. 113-118.
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.