Thursday, November 25, 2010

MacArthur on the Comfort of the Spirit

This Sunday we will be talking about the Third Person of the Trinity -- the Holly Spirit. As of right now, we will be studying John 14 and even chapters 15-16 of John's Gospel. The best and brief explanation of the wonderful promises of the Spirit come from John MacArthur's comments on the John 14 passage at his website. Here is some of what he has written:

The promise of the Holy Spirit is the culmination of all that Jesus said to comfort those eleven troubled men. In that hour of turmoil, they feared being left alone. However Jesus assured them that they would not be left to fend for themselves; they would have a supernatural Helper. The Greek word translated ‘Helper’ (parakletos) literally means ‘one who is called alongside.’ The King James Version translates it ‘Comforter,’ which is one of its meanings.

The Greek word translated "another" may provide a helpful clue in understanding Jesus' meaning in John 14. There are two Greek words frequently translated ‘another’: heteros and allos. Sometimes the biblical authors used those words interchangeably, but sometimes they used heteros to speak of another of a different kind and allos to speak of another of the same kind (e.g. the ‘different’ [heteros] gospel vs. ‘another’ [allos] gospel in Galatians 1:6-7).

Allos is the word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit: ‘another [allos] Helper.’ That could be His way of saying, ‘I am sending you One of exactly the same essence as Me.’ He wasn't sending just any helper, but One exactly like Himself with the same compassion, the same attributes of deity, and the same love for them.

Jesus had been the disciples' helper for three years. He had helped them, comforted them, and walked alongside them. Now they would have another Helper – One exactly like Jesus – to minister to them as He had.

This is simply fascinating. When the disciples need comfort most, what Jesus offers is the Spirit of Comfort. What is most interesting is the language Jesus uses. What they really want is for Jesus to stay, and so what promises the disciples is that He isn't going anywhere. Sure He is about to die only to raised from the dead and would eventually ascend, but as chapters 15 and 16 tell us, unless Jesus ascend into heaven, the Spirit would not come down who is of the same essence of Jesus. Jesus offers the comfort of Himself as seen in the presence of the Spirit. And we have this Spirit in all of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ, repented of our sin, believing that He alone can save us. We have this Paracleet, this great Comforter. What a wonderful promise!!

Grace to You (John MacArthur) - The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

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