Who is the Holy Spirit? Even today, many Christians are confused as to who he is.
And that’s one thing to remember. The Holy Spirit is a “he”, not that he’s literally of the male gender although God chooses to reveal him that way, but that he is a person. Not a thing. Not a force. A person.
We see this clearly in the title that Jesus gives him. He calls him, “The Counselor.” The word counselor here is very much like the title we give lawyers today. They are advocates for the ones that they represent. They give advice, they help, and they defend against those that would condemn them. This is hardly something you could attribute to an impersonal force.
So let us make it clear in our minds, the Holy Spirit is a person. When Satan tries to condemn us, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us along with Christ. When we don’t know even how to pray, he prays for us (Romans 8:26-27, 34). When we start to question God’s love for us, he reminds us we are God’s children (Romans 8:15-16, I John 3:24).
But Jesus tells us more. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people in regards to sin, righteousness, and judgment. So often, we think that we are the ones that have to change people’s hearts. But while we are responsible for scattering the seeds of the gospel and watering it, only the Spirit can make it grow. Only he can change the human heart.
He is the one that convicts people for rejecting Christ. (Notice here, by the way, that sin, more than simply being doing “bad things”, is associated first and foremost with a rejection of Christ).
With Christ’s visible example of righteousness gone from this earth, the Holy Spirit is the one that shows people what is right, and points to Christ as the only way to salvation.
And it is the Holy Spirit who warns people of the coming judgment, not only for the prince of this world (Satan), but for all those who reject Christ.
One last thing that Jesus tells us about the Spirit is that he leads us into all truth. He takes the things that Jesus has said and shows us what they mean. Words that we can’t understand when we first read them in the Bible, he will bring to mind and shine the light of understanding on when we need them.
The thing that you can’t help but notice in the last part of this passage is the interaction between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All that the Father knows, Jesus knows. And all that Jesus knows, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us at the appropriate time. For all three are the one God, and they all work together in perfect concert.
What does this mean for us? When Jesus says that it was for our benefit that he departed, he meant it. For through the Holy Spirit, God dwells in each one of us who believes in Jesus. He works in us to bring others to him. He intercedes for us and defends us. He teaches and guides us. And he comforts us.
Thank you Jesus for the gift of your Spirit. That through Him, you are truly Immanuel, “God with us.” Holy Spirit, lead us, guide us, teach us, and help us each day. In Jesus name, amen.