And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.
— John 14:16
I can’t begin to imagine how alarmed the disciples must have felt when Jesus told them that He would soon be leaving them. Jesus had often warned them that He would be leaving, but that evening in the Upper Room, as they spent their last hours together, the full weight of this reality began to dawn on the disciples — and it put them in a state of panic and dismay. John 14:2 tells us that Jesus was aware that their hearts were troubled.
It was natural for the disciples to feel sorrowful at the news of Jesus’ imminent departure. Living and walking with Jesus was more than they had ever hoped for in this world. With Jesus at their side, their lives had been filled with adventure, excitement, joy, victory, power, healing, and miracles. What would life be like without Jesus? Would it ever be the same? Was this the end to their dreams?
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Feelings of insecurity and uncertainty would have been normal for any human being in the disciples’ position. They had grown dependent upon the physical, visible presence of Jesus — something we’ve never experienced and therefore cannot fully comprehend. But in the midst of the disciples’ fears, Jesus promised them, “I will not leave you comfortless…” (John 14:18).
As we saw in yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, the word “comfortless” is from the Greek word orphanos, which is where we get the word orphan. As noted before, the word orphanos could describe children who had lost their parents, or it could describe students who were abandoned by their teacher. In both cases, it is the picture of younger, less educated, less knowledgeable people feeling deserted by those they trusted and looked to for guidance.
Jesus had become a spiritual Mentor to the disciples. For more than three years, these men had walked with Jesus and depended entirely upon Him. During those three years, Jesus’ voice had been the only voice they had followed. They walked in His footsteps, and they explicitly followed His directions. As a Mentor, Jesus had taught them everything — how to cast out demons, how to heal the sick, how to travel in ministry, and on and on. The full extent of the spiritual training Jesus imparted to His disciples includes far too many truths to list here. In fact, Jesus had taught them everything they knew regarding spiritual matters.
But in John 14, Jesus made it clear that He would be leaving His disciples. Later that night, He was to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, judged before the religious leaders of the city, sent to be judged by Pilate, then by Herod, and then back to Pilate again. And following these harrowing experiences, He was to be scourged, crucified, and buried. All of these events would occur in a mere matter of hours from those moments when Jesus sat with them in the Upper Room and told them that He would be leaving. They simply had no idea how quickly He would be physically taken from them.
But Jesus knew. That is why it was so important for Him to take that last evening to teach the disciples about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew they would need to depend on the Holy Spirit as completely as He had depended on Him. So Jesus took His last hours to instruct them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and introduce them to this spiritual Partner who would be become their new Teacher and Guide in the world.
Jesus told the disciples in John 14:16, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter….” The word “pray” is Greek word eratao, which was a legal word that described a lawyer who would argue a case in a court of law. It is interesting that this is the Greek word most generally used in the Gospels to describe Jesus’ prayer life. This particular word indicates that it was so crucial for the survival of the disciples that the Comforter would be sent that Jesus was going to the Father to present His case in that matter. This case would be so concrete — so clear and unmistakable — that the Father would respond to Jesus’ request by sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, as His replacement to the disciples.
Imagine how important the ministry of the Holy Spirit must be for Jesus! Jesus was making the case clear to the Father that He must send the Holy Spirit, for the disciples — and then later the Church — would not survive without the Holy Spirit’s help and assistance. The very fact that the word eratao is used to describe Jesus’ petition to the Father tells us that the coming of the Holy Spirit was imperative. Jesus treated this request as one of the utmost importance. And if Jesus treated this subject so importantly, then we must treat it with equal importance.
So I encourage you to seriously ask yourself this question today: How importantly do I treat the subject of the Holy Spirit in my life? And whatever your answer, make it your priority in the days ahead to learn how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in your life on a deeper level than you ever have before!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Holy Spirit, I admit that I have often neglected to acknowledge Your presence in my life. I repent, and I ask You to please forgive me. It’s not that I’ve tried to ignore You; I have just been ignorant of Your role in my life and how deeply I have needed Your fellowship. I confess that I’ve even had fears about opening my heart more deeply to You because of things I’ve seen and heard others do that seemed a little strange. Forgive me for being closed to You when, in fact, I cannot live the Christian life without Your power and Your help. Right now I take the next step to invite You to move powerfully in my life. I take down all the guards, and I decide to trust You to bring Jesus closer to me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that the Holy Spirit works mightily in my life. I am not afraid to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s power. I acknowledge that I cannot successfully live the Christian life without His involvement, so I open every part of my life to Him and to His powerful workings. As a result, I am filled with spiritual power; I am supernaturally led by the Spirit of God because I am a child of God; and I am being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. As a result of my fellowship and obedience to the Holy Spirit, my Christian life is filled with victory and adventure!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you treated your relationship with the Holy Spirit as seriously as Jesus treated it? If not, why not?
- Do you attend a church where your fellowship with the Holy Spirit will be encouraged or discouraged? If your church does not encourage you to go deeper with the Spirit of God, why are you still attending that church?
- What concrete steps can you take to start developing a deeper fellowship with the Holy Spirit? For example, you could read books on the Holy Spirit that will take you deeper in your spiritual walk, or you could listen to teachings on the subject of the Holy Spirit. What other things can you think of to do to enhance your fellowship with the Holy Spirit?