Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Understanding a little more about the Holy Spirit

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

For many people, Christians included, the Holy Spirit is unknown and even a little mysterious.

This shouldn’t be so, especially as the Scriptures provide us with a great deal of information about Him. This is particularly true in John 14, where there is some extraordinarily rich material on the Holy Spirit.

Here are some highlights:

1. The Holy Spirit is personal.

In Greek, every noun is grammatically designated masculine, feminine, or neuter. The word for “spirit” is neuter. This means, that when a pronoun referring to “spirit” is used, it too should be neuter. In this chapter, however, the pronoun is sometimes masculine, as in verse 17,

‘the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you’. (John 14:17)

This breaking of grammatical form is a way of gently affirming that the Holy Spirit is personal.

2. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete.

‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor [Paraclete] to be with you forever’ (John 14:16)

The Greek word is capable of a variety of nuances, so some do not translate it but merely transliterate it (i.e., put it into English spelling) as Paraclete.

When “Comforter” is used, it drew from Latin words that meant “to strengthen” or “to strengthen along with.” The Holy Spirit is certainly someone who is called alongside to help and to strengthen.

Sometimes the help is legal hence the term “Counsellor”. The picture here is not of a psychological counsellor but of a prosecuting lawyer (John 16:7-11)

3. The Holy Spirit is “another Counsellor” (John 14:16).

The Greek for this word “another” means “another of the same kind.”

Jesus is clearly promising to send someone who will stand in his place.

Intriguingly, apart from its use in the Upper Room Discourse, the word rendered “Counsellor” is found in the New Testament only in one other place,

‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence [Paraclete]—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One’. (1 John 2:1)

So Jesus is the first Paraclete. At his impending departure, he promises to send the Holy Spirit, another Paraclete, to and for his followers.

4. The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17).

This not only means that he tells the truth as opposed to lies, but that he is the true Spirit, the one who mediates the very presence of the Father and the Son to the believers (John 14:23).

5. The Holy Spirit will teach the disciples.

‘But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you’. (John 14:26).

Since the “you” are being reminded of what Jesus said, in the first instance they must be the first disciples. The Holy Spirit will, therefore, enable them to recall Jesus’ teaching, and flesh out its significance in the wake of the cross and resurrection. How would we have had the Bible without his work?

Have a good week understanding a little more about the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Barry

5 July 2009

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