In John 14, Jesus is giving a discourse during His final supper with His disciples, and during His speech He introduces someone who would become even more vital in their ministry from here on in, the Helper. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17).
The ”Helper,” of course, is the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son who, with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.” His purpose was to guide the disciples and all believers to the truth as it is today. His goal is to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that (Jesus has) said to you” (John 14:26). Through Word and Sacrament, His desire is to enlighten you toward righteousness and salvation.
This Helper is not something new that was introduced for the first time. His role as helper has been with us since before creation. However, under a new covenant issued in through the sacrificial death of God’s only Son, His presence would be even more felt.
In the Old Testament, the Psalmist says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:7-12).
The Spirit has always been and will always be. From the dawn of time when He hovered over the waters, He has been there to lead us and guide us and comfort us in time of need. Hebrews 13:6 shares the promise, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
But after Christ’s death, resurrection and accension, His role would work through inspiration to continue on the work that had already been started. In the disciple’s time of uncertainty, they would need the guidance that only the Helper could give.
But this title for the Holy Spirit can be misleading. It implies that we do the larger share of the work when, in fact, we are simple servants acting on commands. The Lord does not want to be our helper in the traditional sense. He wants to be our all, our life, our inspiration.
Rather than taking the lead in ministry, He is asking us to allow Him to do His work through us as lovers of God and guardians of truth. In effect, He helps us to help Him make a difference in the lives of the people He so dearly loves. We are instruments of service following a plan laid down since the beginning of time.
When the Spirit speaks into our hearts, the words are not simply His own, they are from the Father. We hear in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Together, Father, Son and Spirit bring down knowledge to the faithful who are willing to serve Him. The Helper does not speak on His own accord, He relays the truth through Word and Sacrament that have already been spoken.
His help comes by way of the Godhead working together to guide all believers onto the path God has chosen for them. I say believers, because God only helps those who wish to be helped. Yes, he rains on the crops of believers and non-believers alike, but He only works in the hearts of the willing to bring salvation. Those who believe and are Baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16).
Are you one who has accepted the help that God is offering, or are you one who will continue to look for salvation through worldliness? I invite you to choose the Holy Spirit for your direction. His help is the only help you need to find everlasting joy. His ready arm waits for you to grab hold of, to steady you and guide you and to lead you to all the truth. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Spirit to help us and guide us from this life to the life to come. Dwell in us always. Amen.