THE WAY

Jn.14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

This scripture has always had a special role in my life. It was actually the one the Lord used in my life to get me on the right track. God’s word, even the supposedly simplest verses are incredibly powerful. I had heard this verse in Sunday School as a child and somehow it was hidden away in my heart. In the fullness of time for me the Lord brought this scripture back into my mind. I had been exploring various other religions and suddenly I became aware that Christ was the way to life, the only way!!! Within a few days of this scripture coming back to me I was converted. Jesus came into my life and I was radically born again.

Just take a minute and think about the claims that Jesus is making in this verse. First He is saying that He is the only way to God and heaven. Notice carefully, He doesn’t claim to be a way but the only way. Believing this launched me into a new life. Next He claims He is the truth. The word that He used could be translated real or reality. Jesus is the very reality or essence of God. In meeting Him you are meeting the Father. Finally He claims to be the life. Again, He is not promising a better life, He is claiming that He Himself is life. Knowing Him is where real life begins. Here are some comments from Jonathan Edwards on this passage.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In the foregoing verses there are three things spoken of. The place or blessed state to which Christ was going; 2. The way to it; and 3. The knowledge of it. About each of these the disciples are here inquiring of Christ. And therefore Christ in this verse tells them that he himself is virtually each of these. He was the life or happiness to which they desired to know the way. And he was also the way to it. And he was the truth by which they might come to the knowledge of both the life and the way to it. There was everything in him that they needed; in him all fullness dwelt.”

What does this all mean? It means that when we meet Jesus we begin to enter life. He is the only way to God, He is the very essence of God, He is life itself; the place of joy unspeakable that flows from Him.

I AM GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU

LJn.14:2 – In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

When I was in fourth grade my dad accepted a job in Puerto Rico. Apparently, it was important for him to take the job right away. The awkward part is that I had several months of school left and couldn’t just up and leave. My parents decided for my dad to go ahead of us to Puerto Rico and prepare a place for us. That’s exactly what happened. I remember moving to San Juan that June. My dad had secured a three bedroom condo for us right on the beach. It was hard to have the family split up for that time but when my mom, my brother and sister, and I arrived we were so glad he had prepared a place for us. That is what Jesus is doing for us now. Our family may be split for for a while; after all, Jesus has gone on before us. The good news is that He is preparing a place for us. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this passage.

“To make provision for us as our friend and father. The happiness of heaven, though prepared before the foundation of the world, yet must be further fitted up for man in his fallen state. It consisting much in the presence of Christ there, it was therefore necessary that he should go before, to enter into that glory which his disciples were to share in. Heaven would be an unready place for a Christian if Christ were not there. He went to prepare a table for them, to prepare thrones for them. Thus Christ declares the fitness of heaven’s happiness for the saints, for whom it is prepared.”

In the light of eternity our time of separation is quite insignificant. Right now, the delay seems so long. Actually it should be considered as quite short. Jesus has entered into heaven for us, everything is almost ready for the great celebration. In the meantime we have received the deposit, the Holy Spirit, as a foretaste of the life to come. If the joy we receive from His presence now is a taste of the life to come it is going to be quite an amazing place.

WHAT A SAVIOR

Jn.14:16 TPT – And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you.

This verse has been very important in my life for many years. It marked the first time Jesus began to teach the disciples extensively about the Holy Spirit. He used a powerful phrase in this passage to describe Him, allos Paracletos. Jesus would not be on earth physically after His death and glorification, this would be the beginning of the age of the Paraclete, the precious Holy Spirit. He would continue the ministry of Jesus; He would work in and through His followers. He would also apply the saving work of Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection to our lives. As always, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are working in unison. Here are some powerful thoughts from the notes in the Passion Translation on this verse.

“The Greek word used here is paráklētos, a technical word that could be translated “defense attorney.” It means “one called to stand next to you as a helper.” Various translations have rendered this “Counselor,” “Comforter,” “Advocate,” “Encourager,” “Intercessor,” or “Helper.” However none of these words alone are adequate and fall short in explaining the full meaning. The translator has chosen the word Savior, for it depicts the role of the Holy Spirit to protect, defend, and save us from our self and our enemies and keep us whole and healed. He is the One who guides and defends, comforts and consoles. Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, our Savior. The Aramaic word is paraqleta, which is taken from two root words: (1) praq, “to end, finish, or to save,” and (2) lyta, which means “the curse.” What a beautiful word picture, the Holy Spirit comes to end the work of the curse (of sin) in our lives and to save us from its every effect! Paraqleta means “a redeemer who ends the curse.”

I love that, the power of the curse is broken. We are liberated through the power of the Spirit to live totally free lives. We are free from sin and the issues that held us back in the past. We are made whole by the work of the Spirit. The beauty of this can’t be kept back, we have to share it with everyone who will listen to us. We are now carriers of the Holy Spirit to this needy world.

JUST LIKE JESUS

Jn. 14:26 – I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

I love to look at Bible words. This verse contains a classic example of looking at shades of meaning in the original Greek New Testament. In this passage Jesus is teaching His disciples about the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were overwhelmed that this would be their last night with Jesus; they couldn’t comprehend ministry, or even life for that matter, without Him. He was encouraging them by telling them that this is why He came, He came to die for man’s sins so that they too could experience the intimacy and power of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This phrase, allos Paracletos, just about says it all. Allos is a particular kind of another. It means another the same as the former. Jesus was saying the Holy Spirit would be just like Him. Here is how Dick Mills defines allos.

“another, allos (al-loss); Strong’s #243: One besides, another of the same kind. The word shows similarities but diversities of operation and ministries. Jesus’ use of allos for sending another Comforter equals “one besides Me and in addition to Me but one just like Me. He will do in My absence what I would do if I were physically present with you.” The Spirit’s coming assures continuity with what Jesus did and taught.”

Then Jesus used the word Paracletos. We translate it comforter, Counselor, advocate. Helper, Intercessor; it actually means all of that. Here is how Brother Mills defines Paracletos.

“Helper, parakletos (par-ak-lay-toss); Strong’s #3875: From para, “beside,” and kaleo, “to call,” hence, called to one’s side. The word signifies an intercessor, comforter, helper, advocate, counselor. In nonbiblical literature parakletos had the technical meaning of an attorney who appears in court in another’s behalf. The Holy Spirit leads believers to a greater apprehension of gospel truths. In addition to general help and guidance, He gives the strength to endure the hostility of the world system.”

So you put that phrase together and you have dynamite. The Holy Spirit is another Helper exactly like Jesus. The significant difference is this; the disciples were really observers to the ministry of Jesus. They would now become participants. Jesus was saying the Holy Spirit would come upon them and give them a supernatural ministry like He had. That same power and intimacy is available now. Draw near to the Lord and you too will be baptized in the Spirit.

THE PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT

John 14:16,17 – I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I’ll never forget that first night I was touched by the Holy Spirit. I was actually attending my very first Bible study. It was in an upstairs apartment over a Pizza Parlor on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. I had been invited by some street preachers the week before and found myself in a room full of missionaries headed to Central America. These were the Jesus freak variety of street preachers, full of the Holy Spirit, and obviously unashamed of the power of God. I remember them singing in other languages for an extended period of time, the more they sang the more the room filled with an atmosphere I had never felt before. They seemed to stop singing on cue and an invitation was given, “whoever wants more of Jesus, step into the center of the room”. The simple invitation was given by a gentle giant of a man who seemed to be their leader. I found myself in the middle of the room, overwhelmed with the incredible presence of the Lord. My life was being changed, marked forever by the touch of God.

That was my first encounter with the Holy Spirit, thankfully it wasn’t my last. That first encounter was in the summer of 1973, fast forward to the summer of 1994 and I was now pastoring Victory Fellowship in the New Orleans metro area. Sixteen years of pastoring had taken a toll on my spiritual condition. I had become thirsty and dry and was now struggling, just trying to pastor my church. The problem seems quite obvious in retrospect, I had forgotten the importance of the Holy Spirit. Not only was my church dry, I was dry. I had forgotten how to receive, honestly I was unaware of my need to receive from the Lord. I was considering stepping out of the ministry for the first time in my life. That’s when my second visitation came, I was about to be filled again with the Holy Spirit. Rumors of revival were everywhere that summer, I was at the place where I was open to receive a touch from the Lord.

After overcoming my stubborn resistance to revival in a package I was unfamiliar with, I went to some meetings in Rockwall, Texas. After sitting in services for a week I reluctantly answered an altar call for pastors. The next thing I knew I was caught up in that same presence I had felt in that strange Bible study so many years before. The Holy Spirit fell on me that day and changed everything again. First, I learned how to receive. Next, I fell in love with ministry again. To my surprise, that same presence that fell on me in Texas visited my church that next Sunday. Almost twenty five years have passed since that awakening in my life in 1994. That same presence is in our church today. Honestly, I couldn’t continue another day without Him.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you.

(John. 14:25–26 MESSAGE)

Have you ever been with someone when they died? You can learn a lot about someone and what they value by the way thy die. Today’s passage includes some of the last words of Jesus. He is preparing His disciples for life and ministry after He would be gone. He told them earlier in this passage that He would not leave them alone, they wouldn’t be orphaned. In today’s verse from the Message His words take on a personal, and intimate tone. He called the Holy Spirit the Friend, in Greek Paracletos. He would be their forever friend in whatever they faced until the end of time. Jonathan Edwards had some powerful words to share at his death bed. Check out what he felt was important when his life had come to an end.

“Dear Lucy, it seems to me to be the will of God, that I must shortly leave you; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the uncommon union which as so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue for ever.  And I hope she will be supported under so great a trial and submit cheerfully to the will of God.  And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you…

When it came time for him to leave this world, he cried these words out:

Now, where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never-failing friend?

And then he issued one final exhortation before he left this world:

Trust in God, and you need not fear.”

These words are intended to bring great strength into our lives. What a promise, no matter what life holds my forever Friend is with me. When I am betrayed and falsely accused He is there. When I am surrounded with impossible circumstances my Friend is with me. Whether I face financial calamity, unexpected sickness, or trouble in my family; He is there. Even on that final day when I step into eternity, the Friend is there.

I LEAVE YOU PEACE

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

It is important to understand the context this scripture is given in order for us to appreciate the magnitude of this promise. In just a of couple hours (or less) Jesus would be arrested and taken by the temple guards to stand before the high priest, King Herod, and Pontius Pilate. The religious leaders were committed to stopping this new movement. They had proven that they would go to extreme measures to stop the spreading of this new religion. Jesus would be killed the next day, these apostles realized that their lives were also in serious danger. So let’s evaluate their predicament: first, Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, there source for everything was about to be taken away. Second, their lives, too, were in grave danger. It seems like they could have been killed at any moment. Third, the task, to do the things Jesus had done seemed to be overwhelming. This was what they were facing when this promise was given, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on today’s verse.

“When Christ was about to leave the world he made his will. His soul he committed to his Father; his body he bequeathed to Joseph (the rich Pharisee), to be decently interred; his clothes fell to the soldiers; his mother he left to the care of John: but what should he leave to his poor disciples, that had left all for him? Silver and gold he had none; but he left them that which was infinitely better, his peace. “I leave you, but I leave my peace with you. I not only give you a title to it, but put you in possession of it.” He did not part in anger, but in love; for this was his farewell, Peace I leave with you, as a dying father leaves portions to his children; and this is a worthy portion. The legacy that is here bequeathed Peace, my peace.”

The promise is shocking as well as supernatural. He has promised us peace; peace with God, peace in our own lives, and peace no matter what we may be facing in life. Maybe you are facing troubled waters today. Whether it is family related, ministry related, health issues or money, He has promised to give peace that keeps us in the worst circumstances imaginable.

I GIVE YOU PEACE

Jn.14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

The Lord’s ways are not our ways. We can see that very clearly in today’s verse. The disciples were past begging Jesus not to leave, they were in absolute meltdown. There was no way they could imagine going on in their gospel mission without Him, that would be absolutely unthinkable. He had greater plans for them than they could ever imagine. There would not only be life and ministry after Jesus died, it would be better and greater than any of them could ever imagine. He was leaving, the Holy Spirit was coming, and peace that passes all comprehension would be their’s. Here are some thoughts from John Calvin on today’s verse.

“By the word peace he means prosperity, which men are wont to wish for each other when they meet or part; for such is the import of the word peace in the Hebrew language. He therefore alludes to the ordinary custom of his nation; as if he had said, I give you my Farewell. But he immediately adds, that this peace is of far greater value than that which is usually to be found among men, who generally have the word peace but coldly in their mouth, by way of ceremony, or, if they sincerely wish peace for any one, yet cannot actually bestow it. But Christ reminds them that his peace does not consist in an empty and unavailing wish, but is accompanied by the effect. In short, he says that he goes away from them in body, but that his peace remains with the disciples; that is, that they will be always happy through his blessing.”

The disciples would be more than happy with His blessing. Joy unspeakable was about to be their portion. When Christ was with them physically on earth thy were not much more than spectators to His works and teaching. They were about to be swallowed by the Holy Spirit themselves as they were thrust head long into an unthinkable ministry. Signs and wonders would be the order of the day as the whole world would be turned upside down in the days and years ahead. So maybe you have been asking the Lord for something and it just doesn’t seem to come to pass. Don’t be surprised when He does things in a little different, unexpected way. Hang on for dear life, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

ANOTHER HELPER

Jn.14:16,17 – I will ask the Father, and He will give you Another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I love the Holy Spirit. He used to be just a belief that I had or a doctrine, He has now became my friend. In John 13 through 17 we are taken by the Lord to the holiest portion of the entire Bible. The final stage had been, Jesus would die the following day, but tonight was important. Jesus was giving His disciples His most extensive teaching on the Holy Spirit in those last hours before He would die and return to His Father in heaven. In these last moments before He was crucified Jesus is pulling back the veil, He is telling His closest followers why He really came. He came to this earth to purchase life for us. He came to restore our intimacy with God, this would take place through the greatest of all gifts; immersion into the third person of the Trinity. The disciples would receive the Promise of the Father, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit not many days later. This would change everything for them, tonight was the night to get the disciples ready for their great adventure.

Jesus told them He would not leave them as orphans when He died, He would send Another Helper to be with them. In order to understand the beginning of what this was about we need to look briefly into the words Jesus used; Another Helper, Allos Paracletos. Many Christians have an idea of what Paracletos means, it literally means one called alongside to help. The Holy Spirit would come and join Himself to us to help in all of our endeavors. He would help us pray, preach, and live a pure life. He would even quench the thirsting of our souls. The other word Jesus used really helps clarify the magnitude of this promise. Jesus use a specific word, allos, which we translate as another in English. The beauty of this word, allos, is that it is a very specific kind of another. It means an exact replica of the former one. In other words the Holy Spirit would be exactly like Jesus. The things Jesus did the Holy Spirit would do too. The shocking promise is that the Holy Spirit would do those things in us and through us. Today, the Holy Spirit has come. We must reverence and honor this special guest. When we do, His power begins to be displayed in our lives.

TWO PARACLETES

Jn.14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

This has to be the greatest promise mankind has ever received. It was given on the last night Jesus was with His disciples, probably just after He washed their feet and served them the last supper. The greatest promise? Absolutely, this is why Jesus came, to restore the relationship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that we tragically lost when our first parents fell into disobedience. What He was saying is really too good for words. The phrase that He chose to use was allos Paracletos. This phrase means another helper exactly like the former helper. In other words, this mysterious guest, the Holy Spirit, would be identical to Jesus.

To gain a little bit of an understanding of the magnitude of this promise we can see the way John used the term, Paracletos, in referring to Jesus in 1 John 2:1. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. The word ‘advocate’ in this verse is that word paracletos. If we take a look at the heavenly ministry of Jesus we can see something of the ministry of the Spirit in our lives today.

First, we see the humility of Jesus in His humanity. He became a man to represent us before the Father in heaven. He is the only righteous man that can abide in the Father’s presence by His own holiness. The good news, His righteousness is credited to me so that I too can abide in His presence. The Holy Spirit helps us by giving us a glimpse of this heavenly Helper, Jesus Christ. Jesus is also my heavenly High Priest. He mediates for me. When I sin, I confess my sins to this Heavenly Priest and He washes me clean. The Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin and then communicates the reality of my forgiveness and my righteousness that I receive by faith. Jesus is also interceding for me before the Father. The Holy Spirit works in perfect unity with the Son of God. As I pray in the Spirit, He releases the prayers of Jesus in and through my life. Jesus is also the Heavenly Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. As I glorify Him, He pours the presence of the Comforter on me. We have been given this double Helper, the man, Jesus Christ, reigns on the throne and the Comforter has come.