This is the two-hundredth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
“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. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.… All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:15-17, 25-27
There must have been sorrow, anxiety, and hope in the air as Jesus talked with his disciples about his upcoming departure. This Upper Room Discourse in the Gospel of John (chapters 13–17) was Jesus’ final word to his disciples on the night he was betrayed.
In it, he spoke about “another advocate” who would come to them. This is a word that means counselor, comforter, one who comes alongside. Thinking of God the Holy Spirit as our advocate is indeed one of the most comforting thoughts a human being could have. Who else would you want with you when you go through life’s victories and struggles? Who else could work in the innermost recesses of our thoughts and feelings, helping us make good choices and have a proper disposition, and giving us confidence when we need it?
When Jesus said “another advocate,” he was also teaching his disciples that what he was doing among them and for them was to be that kind of advocate. He had filled them with truth and hope, with a vision of who God is and a humbling concept of who they were. Now he would leave them—a sorrowful prospect. But in all of these ways, God would still be with them.
None of us were in that upper room; yet if Jesus stood among us today, he would give us the same assurance.
What kind of counsel or comfort or advocacy do you need from God at this time in your life?
[If you believe this series will be helpful, this is the perfect time to forward this to a friend, a group, or a congregation, and tell them they too may sign up for the weekly emails here]
Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel’s many books include Spiritual Leadership Today: Having Deep Influence in Every Walk of Life (Zondervan, 2016). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.