Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
The Holy Spirit as Comforter
In His teaching in the upper room
on the eve of His death, Jesus spoke at
length about the Holy Spirit. He
said, “I will pray the Father, and He will
give you another Helper” (John
14:16). The word Helper is sometimes translated
“Comforter” or “Counselor”
and comes from the Greek word paraclete.
The first thing we notice in
this passage is that Jesus promises another
“Paraclete” or “Helper.” For
Jesus to say that the Holy Spirit will be another
Helper, there had to be a
Helper before the Spirit. The New Testament clearly
identifies the first
Helper, or Paraclete, as Jesus Himself. John writes: “My
these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if
anyone sins, we
have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”
The title Advocate given here to Jesus is another translation of
word paraclete. We see then that Jesus is the first Paraclete, and
departure from this world, Jesus prays that the Father will supply
Paraclete in Jesus’ absence. The Spirit is sent to be Christ’s
is the supreme vicar of Christ on earth.
In the ancient
world, a paraclete was someone summoned to give assistance in a
court of law.
The Holy Spirit, in fulfilling this role, performs more than one
such task is the Spirit’s aiding the believer in addressing the
writes to the Roman church:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our
weaknesses. For we do not know what we
should pray for as we ought, but the
Spirit Himself makes intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be
uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows
what the mind of the Spirit is,
because He makes intercession for the saints
according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit also aids the believer in addressing the
world. He speaks on
our behalf when we face conflict, as Jesus promises in
Mark 13:11. The Spirit
defends us against the world by convicting it of sin.
The Holy Spirit works to
vindicate the righteous against the attacks of the
The concept of Paraclete also includes the role of Comforter.
This has two
aspects to it. He is a tender source of solace to the wounded,
and the grief-stricken. The second aspect is equally important.
Comforter in its Latin derivation means “with strength.” The Spirit
us when we are in need of strength. He empowers us with courage and
As Comforter, He both consoles and emboldens that in Christ we may
than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
Jesus is our first Comforter in
His role of Advocate before the Father.
The Holy Spirit is another
Comforter who is a substitute for Jesus after His
Spirit acts as our present Helper.