“…and he will give you another advocate to help you…”
John 14:16 (NIV)
We have all heard the expression ‘Would you like another… ?’ You fill in the dots. Maybe it’s another tea or coffee. It could be another chocolate or biscuit.
No matter what it is, there is one thing for sure, in order for you to have another one you would need to have had one already. Confusing, I know, but let me make it simpler by giving you some examples. You cannot have another coffee if you didn’t have one in the first place. The same goes for another chocolate. This implies that you had a chocolate earlier and now you would like one more.
When reading John 14 verse 15-16 you come across the term ‘another advocate’. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth…” (vv.15-17).
‘Another advocate?’ Can we assume that Jesus was an advocate, and that the Holy Spirit is an advocate too? Yes, I think we can. But calling the Spirit ‘another advocate’ does not mean he is ‘another Jesus’. The Spirit illuminates Jesus’ work without taking Jesus’ place.
Jesus and the Spirit are God and as such have similarities, such as they both are advocates, both come from the Father and are sent into the world, both teach, bear witness to the truth and both expose the sins of the world. However, it was Jesus who became incarnate and was crucified for the sins of the world. While both are involved in the works of salvation, Jesus alone is the Son of God and he alone is our Saviour.
The Apostle Paul gives us a clear explanation of what the Holy Spirit does and how he reveals the work of Jesus: ‘But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also, no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.’ (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 ESV)
It is through the Holy Spirit interacting with our minds that we can understand the mind of God. Without him we cannot understand spiritual things. He also empowers us to obey our Father and changes our hearts to make us more and more like Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I for one, am ready to have my heart and mind changed through the working of the Holy Spirit. I am more than ready for a new improved heart.
Heavenly Father, thank you for our advocates Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, without whom we would not be able to understand spiritual things, neither could we know you. I pray that the Holy Spirit will work in each of our minds and hearts, transforming them and making us more like Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.