“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
Have you ever seen a courtroom trial? Of course you have, if not in real life, then in movies. And you would have noticed that the defendant always has a guy beside him. This guy is there to teach the defendant, he is there to advise, he is there to guide, he is there to defend. He is called an advocate. He stands at the side of his client, figuratively, and sometimes, literally. In today’s passage, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit ‘the Advocate’. And this is the image I want you to have: of him standing beside you. Always.
Our Lord had introduced the apostles to the Holy Spirit a little earlier when he said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus is revealing the Holy Trinity here, by saying the Father would send him after he went to the Father. The apostles won’t understand much at this moment — they are just getting pieces of a puzzle — but later the pieces will all fit together to give them the entire picture. And what an amazing picture it will prove to be.
Then Jesus said: “This is the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17a). We often think that faith is a matter of the heart, and we are required to simply follow Jesus blindly, but that isn’t true. God has given us minds for a reason, and when Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth, we can see that one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to work on our intellect. Consider this: These reflections are provoking you to think. But when you think, who is the guiding force behind your thoughts? It isn’t me for sure. It is the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus continues: “This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you” (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit was already moving with the apostles. They were already thinking profound thoughts and doing great things, but it was only following Pentecost that it would become clear that it was the Holy Spirit who was responsible for it all; not their personal power or wisdom.
And, then in today’s passage, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit would testify on his behalf. Testify to what? Testify to Jesus being God. Consider this: How do we know — how are some of us so utterly convinced — that Jesus is God? Because the Holy Spirit testifies to this. And if we are convinced, we will not align ourselves with the world. The apostles were so convinced, they martyred themselves for Jesus. Now, I don’t know if you realize this, but we are called to be martyrs for the faith every day.
Now, if you wanna know what I meant by that, try asking the Holy Spirit. Seriously. Ask him what I meant by saying if we are convinced Jesus is God we need to be martyrs every day. And tell me.