Fear Not: Jesus and the Spirit

Fear Not: Jesus and the Spirit

Fear Not: Jesus and the Spirit.

“I shall ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth… I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be afraid or troubled.” (John 14:16, 25-27, NJB).

Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in John 13:31-16:33 is the final intimate conversation He has with His disciples. They are in the upper room, and Jesus teaches these deep heavenly truths to the disciples after washing their feet, guiding their Last Supper, and watching Judas depart from them to do the devil’s work. This is their last night together, and only Jesus knew that fact. Jesus wanted to prepare them for His suffering and death. He wanted to comfort and encourage them as their whole world would turn upside down in the next few hours. The disciples were heart-broken as they contemplated life without Jesus, a seemingly final separation from their close companion and Lord. In His teaching, Jesus confirmed that He is the only way to the Father, and He repeated His new command of loving others the way He has loved them.

Jesus then promised a special gift at His departure. He promised them that the Father would give them the Holy Spirit. When referring to the Spirit, Jesus used a unique term to the gospel of JohnParaclete. Paraclete is a Greek word that means “called to come alongside of.” It is a word used throughout the epistles to mean many things… advocate, comforter, encourager, counselor, helper, friend, exhorter, and interceder. It is difficult if not impossible to merely choose one of these meanings. Paraclete means all of them, somewhat depending on the context, and is a cluster of meanings that describes the different roles the Spirit takes as He comes alongside of us. The Paraclete will basically duplicate much of what Jesus did in his ministry of coming alongside the people He met during His ministry on earth. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, will be given to the disciples in Jesus’ absence, and He is given to each of us as believers as well. The Spirit will come alongside each of us to advocate/intercede for us before the Father, to encourage and comfort us, to help and befriend us. The Spirit will bear witness to Christ, represent Him, and guide all believers into the truths of Christ. Jesus tells the disciples in this Discourse that He is leaving them, but in the same breath He tells them that He is leaving a supreme gift, the Gift of gifts, His Spirit, to be with them. This Spirit of truth will never leave us or abandon us, rendering us hopeless. The Paraclete, the Spirit of peace, will be intimately with us to transform us into the likeness of Christ Himself. We need not fear our separation from Jesus, for we have His Spirit in His stead.

Another Thought: Fear of Separation. These words of Jesus to His disciples… ‘Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead be courageous!’ are the same basic words Moses gave before he died, and the words God speaks to Joshua as he entered into his life’s plan of taking the Promised Land for Israel. “Be strong, stand firm. Yahweh Himself will lead you; He will be with you; He will not fail you or desert you. Have no fear, do not be alarmed.” (Moses speaking in Deuteronomy 31:8); “Have I not told you: Be strong and stand firm? Be fearless and undaunted, for go where you may, Yahweh your God is with you.” (Joshua 1:9). God has not given us a spirit of cowardly fear. “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).” (notes from the Passion Translation, Dr. Brian Simmons).