When they finally realised that Jesus wasn’t going to be with them any longer, His disciples felt completely lost, abandoned, orphans! So on the night before He died Jesus made some wonderful promises to His disciples – promises which are just as much for us to claim! “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever.” (John 14:16)
The Helper, the Counsellor, the Comforter – one who comes alongside to help and comfort and strengthen. Another one like Jesus, continuing the work of Jesus from INSIDE our lives. “He lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) We are closer to God than Adam and Eve were when God walked beside them in the Garden of Eden. In Christ we have gained even more than Adam ever lost by sinning. We are even closer to God than the disciples were when they followed Jesus and listened to Him and ate with Him in Galilee. Because God the Holy Spirit is INSIDE us to be our Helper! Just as we have been learning from Colossians 1:27, God’s cosmic master-plan is “Christ in you – the hope of glory!”
The Holy Spirit our Helper helps us to know Jesus better. He is the personal presence of Jesus in our lives! “The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:15). The Spirit brings us to Christ and reveals Christ to us, helping us to understand the Bible and helping us to pray.
Then the Spirit helps us to become like Jesus. All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) The Spirit “metamorphoses” us into the image of Christ. He is the HOLY Spirit and His work is to make us holy too, helping us to turn away from sin and to develop the character of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23)
The Holy Spirit helps us to serve Jesus, equipping each Christian with Spiritual Gifts. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7) And the Holy Spirit helps us to tell others about Jesus. “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Holy Spirit gives us power to be witnesses for Jesus. We need not feel scared of speaking about God. God is IN us. It is not us speaking! It is the Holy Spirit. God telling people about God. Through us!
In some ways the word “Helper” sounds too weak and wishy-washy to describe what the Spirit does. The word Comforter actually needs to be translated by a much more vigorous word, like “the Strengthener.” As somebody has said, “This promise is no lullaby for the fainthearted. It is a blood transfusion for courageous living.” The words of Lennon and Paul McCartney seem strangely appropriate. “Help I need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know I need someone. Help!” Do you need help to know Jesus better? Do you need help to become more like Jesus? Do you need help to serve Jesus? Do you need help to tell others about Jesus? God promises us this help through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, the Comforter, the Helper. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me!