Vs.16,17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to 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.”
There is something about prayer that is impenetrable; it’s perplexing, intricate, strenuous and unpredictable. But we do have an amazing role model. Jesus himself. We have examples of Him praying through many situations during His life on earth. But it doesn’t end there. Jesus, right now, is praying for those that have chosen to love and obey Him. He promises to ask the Father for something on our behalf. I don’t think this is a one-time affair either. The ramifications of his eternal nature point to an unceasing supplication for our benefit. He is asking continually. The implications of this are immense. We have the Creator of the universe, who is called the ‘Word’ communicating with the eternal Father, petitioning for us. What is it we so desperately need? The verse says “another Counselor”.
Jesus had been a true friend, leader, and transformer of the motley group of followers He called disciples his final three years of life on earth. He had been their counselor, living, eating, travelling and experiencing life with them. When it was time for Him to leave them physically, the Father’s will was to continue their transformation. This would take place only by the provision of an internal counselor, One who would indwell followers in their deep inner spirits. This would be the job of the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” Jesus promised. Only in this way would the transformation of the ragtag crew of disciples be complete.
This is where we come in. As present-day followers of Jesus, as people who look daily to God’s grace and mercy, we too fall into the category of those for whom Jesus is praying. We too are recipients of the indwelling counsel of the Spirit of truth. We too need change deeper than skin-level.
I’m intrigued by Jesus’ last statement in this verse we are exploring. Regarding the Holy Spirit, he consoles His followers, “but you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” It’s almost as if Jesus is mildly chiding us to open our eyes to see something the world cannot see. He’s urging us to use our spiritual senses to become aware of this non-physical Someone who is with us and in us. And what is the best way to increase our awareness of His presence? By talking with him, of course. This is what we call prayer. When we pray we are not chatting with the air; we’re not having auditory hallucinations with non-existent entities. We’re actually communicating with the Greatest Entity in existence, Him who lives within our very spirits. Be struck with the immensity of it!
So our prospectus as praying people expands: We have talked about the access to Limitless Power we have been granted in order to bring glory to God (see Part 2, July 5/13); now we add the Indwelling Counsel of the Holy Spirit. The weight of these truths is stunning.
A fitting response is to say with the psalmist:
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:2-5 NIV).