Thursday, June 1
Here is a helpful bit of information about the Bible: It was not written in English. (Of course, we all know English is God’s language. (*wink*) No, what we have in the Bible are three different languages used in varying degrees. The Bible is written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. When the Bible speaks about an issue, a person, a place, a time, an event, or anything else, it speaks in a language that is not our own to a culture not our own to a time and place not our own. This is not a reason to be afraid, because men and women for centuries have been working to preserve the meaning of the text and also to interpret it fresh for a new day. It just means when we talk about words in Scripture, it can be very helpful to go back and see what that would mean in its original context. (Just like you need to translate Shakespeare, and he WAS writing in English!)
Therefore, when we read in John 14-16 about a “counselor” we need to see what is being said in the original language to help us flesh out what Jesus is talking about. Who or what is the counselor? The counselor in Greek is “παράκλητος” which is transliterated (four dollar word) as “paracletos” or “paraclete” (think a ”pair-of-cleet”s would be really “helpful”). This word literally means “someone who calls out from beside,” but as it was used as a metaphor, it means someone who advocates, pleads, counsels, or helps. In the world around Scripture, it would be used of someone who pleads another’s case before a judge; more widely, it is someone who acts as an intercessor, a go-between; in the widest sense, it means a helper. It’s a good word, and what is defined as the Paraclete is something that we would want! Who doesn’t need some help?
But then, what is the Paraclete? In John 14:16-17, the Paraclete is the spirit of Truth, and in verse 26, the Paraclete is equated to the Holy Spirit. Jesus says the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, will teach us all things (14:26) and that the Paraclete will testify about the Son. Here in chapter 16, we learn from Jesus that it is GOOD for us that Jesus left, because we are now given the Paraclete in us and among us, and the Spirit will guide us into all truth.
The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of all truth. It’s a little hard to get our heads around. But this is the heartbeat of the Christian life. That’s a pretty bold claim, but it is the claim Jesus makes. In these chapters, we are given a picture. Jesus is going away to the Father, and he will send the Spirit of the Father to believers. Then, Jesus and the Father himself will come and dwell with the Christian. The life of the Christian is a Father-, Son-, Spirit-filled life. This is an important part of the Christian life; Acts is full of people who are guided, led, and drenched in the spirit. May the spirit of truth, the helper, the counselor, the Paraclete be with you and lead you into all truth.
(Photo Credit: https://nharmony.org/sermons/we-have-a-helper/john-161-15)