“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27)
Jesus once again mentions the Holy Spirit and His ministry. He does so in the immediate aftermath of having just informed the disciples that the fallen world will hate them as its hated Jesus. But the Holy Spirit will be their Helper.
The word “Helper” (παράκλητος; parakletos) means an encourager, intercessor, mediator and advocate. The Holy Spirit is one who specifically consoles the followers of Jesus. This is the third time Jesus has referred to the Holy Spirit as a Helper (John 14:15-17, 26).
The word “witness” (μαρτυρέω; martyreo) means an individual who provides truthful knowledge and information of which the speaker in question has firsthand knowledge. Believers in Christ possess firsthand knowledge of the truth of the Gospel.
Jesus stated that (1) the Holy Spirit would come and proceed to the disciples from God the Father; (2) The Holy Spirit would be known as the Spirit of truth; (3) The Holy Spirit will bear witness about Jesus; (4) The Holy Spirit will enable the disciples to also bear witness about Jesus.
What was true when Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit’s ministry continues to be true today. The Holy Spirit indwells each disciple and follower of Jesus (Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19-20). The Holy Spirit continues to be the Spirit of truth for He breathed out the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit also enables believers to witness to others about Christ (Acts 1:8).
As one commentator explains, “Note that today’s passage, as throughout the Farewell Discourse, applies first to the original disciples. The disciples had a special role in bearing witness to Jesus and a unique authority to deliver to the church what He taught. But we who come after the Apostles are also witnesses to Christ, and the Spirit enables us to hold fast to the prophetic and Apostolic witness to Jesus—the Holy Scriptures.”
As this New Year begins to unfold, how and where may you be a witness for Christ? At work, at home, at school, or by your involvement in extracurricular activities and hobbies? All of these places and more afford each believer an opportunity to patiently and faithfully share the love of God to those who need to hear such a message of truth.
May God be glorified in each one of us as He works through us by the Holy Spirit who is within us.
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!