The Helper Today's blog is in response to a question I received. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the mailbox: "So at the end of John 15, Jesus announces that he's going away, but that he'll send "the helper." Was there a correlating concept in the Jewish expectation? Did Jesus introduce this idea of a coming Helper for the first time?" Good question. My first thought is that the Holy Spirit was already seen as the Helper. Whenever a king was installed, he would first be anointed with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit resting upon him and equipping him for this God-ordained role and position. Jesus Himself was anointed at the beginning of His Kingdom movement by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. And Jesus said to the disciples at the time of his ascension: "As the Father sent Me into the world, so I send you...receive the Holy Spirit." John 20:21-23. I think the disciples would have already understood that the Holy Spirit was given as a helper for human beings to accomplish tasks at the behest of God. I think that the new, exciting, and somewhat scary development of Jesus' words was that He was calling, equipping, and anointing everyday people, not just kings and prophets, but lowly fishermen and peasants and uneducated farmers. It was on these shocked and delighted followers of Jesus that He granted the Holy Spirit and hence the calling to be kings and priests in all the world. "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." Revelation 5:10 KJV The Holy Spirit coming to dwell within God's people, renewing their hearts and equipping them to fulfill their vocation, was part of the long awaited return of God to Israel, When Israel went into captivity in the days of the Ezekiel and Jeremiah, the temple, which was the home of the Spirit of God in the midst of Israel, was believed to be abandoned by God since Israel's enemies had destroyed it. But Israel's prophets also said that the temple would be rebuilt and God Himself would return. John makes it very clear in His Gospel that Jesus was Himself the walking temple of God (John 1:51) as well as God Himself returning to His people in the person and temple of Jesus. And wherever those who were baptized into Jesus' movement went in the future would be the place where the temple, and hence, the Spirit of God could be found. The life-giving, healing ministry of Jesus is still carried on by Jesus today, through His people, by the means of the Holy Spirit, who helps us be who God has called us to be.