“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper [Gr. Paracletos, one called alongside to help], that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you” (Jn 14:16-17).
In less than a chapter of John’s gospel, we have seen Jesus reveal all kinds of new information to His disciples. He gave us a new commandment to love one another. He offered a first peak into our forever home with Him in heaven. He clarified the beauty of seeing the Father in the face of Jesus. He promised “greater works” to those who believe. And Jesus explained for the first time the vital link between our love for Him and a life of obedience to His commands.
Coming now to verse 16, we have another “new”; the Holy Spirit – the promised “Helper” – living in us. We have a hint of the Spirit in us in Jesus great proclamation at the feast in John chapter 7, ” ‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” ‘ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 7:38-39).
But here in this passage we have the start of a fuller explanation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises to petition the Father and also promises that the Father will answer by giving us His Holy Spirit. What aspects of the Holy Spirit’s presence does Jesus reveal here?
First, the Holy Spirit will be sent to us by the Father in answer to Jesus’ prayer. Second, the Spirit will be “another” [Gr. allos, another of the same sort; not heteros, different] meaning that He will be a “Helper” in the same way that Jesus has been to the disciples. Third, He will be with us forever. Fourth, He will be known as the Spirit of truth. Jesus referred to Himself as “the truth” (Jn 14:6). The Spirit, as Jesus’ equal, will also be known as true. Fifth, the world will not be able to receive God’s Spirit, because the world does not know or recognize Him. Sixth, the Spirit abides with the disciples at that time through the physical presence of Jesus.
Last, and I think the most radical idea of them all, the “Spirit will be IN you.” Will be IN you. Will be IN us. Will be IN you and me. At the time of Jesus’ words, God’s Spirit dwelt with the disciples through the presence of Jesus, the God-man. But a future time is coming, after Jesus has physically departed, when the Spirit will literally live IN the disciples. And by our faith in Christ and His work on the cross to bring us into His family, the Spirit will live IN us as well.
We will see more promises about the Helper in the chapters ahead. For now, let’s embrace the astonishing promise that the Spirit of Christ is living IN us.