23 May 2017
Jesus promises that the “Advocate” will be sent. In Greek the word is “Paraclete:” a helper, an advocate, a comforter. And, as we know, Jesus did send the Advocate—the Holy Spirit—at the first Pentecost. But while the Holy Spirit comes to us as he is, and dwells within us, he also makes himself known through others.
When Paul and Silas were thrown in prison, and God destroyed the prison so they could escape, the jailer was going to kill himself. Apparently it was more preferable to commit suicide than suffer punishment for having lost the prisoners. But then Paul shouted out, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” That was the Advocate speaking.
Just when the jailer was at his end, he heard precisely what he needed to hear: the prisoners hadn’t escaped, it would be okay. He was helped; he was comforted by Paul’s words. And, at the same time, he was profoundly aware of how good God had been to him just then. And he became a believer.
As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost in another couple weeks, it’s good to realize that the Holy Spirit—the Advocate, the Paraclete—comes to us in many ways; most especially in unexpected ways. Maybe it’s in our conscience, or through a friend, or through an enemy. Maybe through a book we’re reading, or in a moment when it strikes us how precious life is.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in so many different ways; comforting us, helping us to see just how good God is to us. And what else can our response be but to come to him, here at the altar, to offer a sacrifice of heartfelt thanks.