Lent Devotional Day 36

Day 36
Wednesday, March 29

John 16:1-15

1 I have said these things to you so that you won’t fall away. 2 They will expel you from the synagogue. The time is coming when those who kill you will think that they are doing a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they don’t know the Father or me. 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them.

“I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go away to the one who sent me. None of you ask me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have said these things to you, you are filled with sorrow. 7 I assure you that it is better for you that I go away. If I don’t go away, the Companion[a] won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will show the world it was wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. 9 He will show the world it was wrong about sin because they don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world it was wrong about righteousness because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will show the world it was wrong about judgment because this world’s ruler stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now. 13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own, but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That’s why I said that the Spirit takes what is mine and will proclaim it to you.”

As Jesus sat down with his disciples for their last meal together, he tried to prepare them for what was going to happen. They were understandably upset at the thought of losing him, and already felt abandoned, so he comforted them and explained that he would send the Holy Spirit to them after his death. This is translated from the original Greek word paraclete which roughly means the “advocate” or “helper”.

The word “advocate” hits close to home, because I used to practice law, and lawyers are also commonly referred to as advocates. As a lawyer, my job was to represent my clients in court, often in a very formal way by filing documents and making arguments at hearings or trials. They are allowed to make their own arguments, of course, but no one else is given the authority to speak on their behalf. In fact, only a lawyer is allowed to sit at the table with the client in the courtroom--family, friends, and others have to sit at a distance in the gallery. 

A lawyer is also an advocate for their client in less formal ways, and a good lawyer’s role doesn’t end outside the courtroom. A good advocate offers support to their client, caring for them as a person and not just a case number. 

I like the idea of the Holy Spirit serving as my Advocate, both in formal and informal ways. Of course I can take my prayers and praises directly to God, but the Holy Spirit also acts on my behalf, sometimes when I’m unable to muster up the strength or ability, sometimes just for good measure. And the Holy Spirit is always with me, supporting me, comforting me, and letting me know that I’m never alone. Closer to me than even my spouse, family, or friends.

I imagine the disciples must have felt relief to know that they wouldn’t be left alone. It is a relief to know that we have a God who works all things for good, a Jesus who came so that we could have life abundantly, and the Holy Spirit to be with us always. 

God, what an incredible gift you gave us when you sent the Holy Spirit. We love you God, and we pray that your spirit would be with us always, and always at work in the world. Amen. 

By Amy Sanders

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