John 14:25-31: Comforting is a Team effort

One of the main jobs of a friend or a BFF is to give comfort. Comfort is consolation, interceding, being an advocate. We have a limited understanding of this, in the concept of the best friend.

When Yeshua (Jesus) was preparing for Golgatha, He repeatedly encouraged and admonished His disciples to comfort each other. Yeshua said we are no longer servants, but friends. A master cares little about his servant’s groanings but a friend deeply cares about our sufferings and comes along side and shares them. He also promised to send the Holy Spirit, as the ultimate Comforter. The Holy Spirit’s job isn’t just there to give us a hug but to advocate for us, to speak up for us to the Father. He is also there to help us comfort and support each other.

The Greek word for helper in Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 is παράκλητος paraklētos (G3875), derived from the word παρακαλέω parakaleō (G3870). It has several different meanings including to call to one’s side, call for, summon, to address, to admonish, exhort, beg, entreat, beseech, console, encourage, consultation and comfort.

We will be focusing a lot on comfort in today’s study of John 14:25-31. Several Hebrew names include the word comfort in their meaning, including Nahum, Nehemiah and Menachem. There are several messianic prophesies that we will see Hebrew word for comfort, nakhum, show up regularly. 

In the writings of Philo, a Jewish philosopher from the first century B.C., spoke a lot about the “Comforter of God,” which he referred to as the Logos, Greek for the Word. John 1 starts with the Logos, the Word of God, and harkens back to Philo’s logos, or the Hebrew term for the Word of God, Memre.

“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.”” (Isaiah 40:1–2 NAS95)

This is an example of God’s velvet hammer, he has to punish but he also longs to comfort. 

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1–3 NAS95)

This is the text that Yeshua quoted in the synagogue as referring to Himself. 

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.'”(Luke 2:25–32 NAS95)

You will start to see the interplay between the coming Messiah and the Spirit of God. If you go through the Apostolic Scriptures and look up the Tanakh quotations therein, you will often see the Tanakh quotes referred as “The Spirit said.” 

Prophetically, both the Mashiakh  (Messiah) and the Spirit of God would act as “the consolation of Israel.” It is a tag-team effort. In first-century Judaism, Jews occasionally called the Messiah himself מְנַחֵם Manakham, or Comforter.

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” ’But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37–39 NASB)

“Then you will say on that day, ‘I will give thanks to You, O Lord; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.’ Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.’ Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 12:1–6)

There’s a Hebrew song we commonly sing that quotes Isa. 12:3:

‏וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם־מַיִם בְּשָׂשׂוֹן מִמַּעַיְנֵי הַיְשׁוּעָה

ush’avtem mayim b’sason mima’yiney ha-yeshua

“You will draw water joyfully from the wells of salvation.” That “salvation” of the LORD Israel would tap would be Yeshua.

The fear of the Lord is closely connected to the Spirit’s comfort. The idiom “fear of the LORD” (φόβου θεοῦ phobou Theo; יִרְאַת יְהוָה yir’at YHWH) shows up 23 times in the TaNaKh. 

“So the [body of believers (ἐκκλησία)] throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.” (Acts 9:31 NASB)

These phrases are not connected haphazardly and it’s not just in the New Testament. 

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. 6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.” (Isa. 11:1–6 NASB)

The Apostle Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God in Eph. 6:11–16 and 1Thess. 5:8 and he pulls in Isaiah to make his point. 

When you are attached by the adversary and call for God’s protection, it’s the Spirit of God who comes to the rescue. 

We are to carry each other's burdens and pray for one another. (Photo by by Andy Reis, freeimages.com)
We are to carry each other’s burdens and pray for one another. (Andy Reis, freeimages.com)

Faith is trust and the evidence of what is not seen. That is what drives us forward. We don’t have to know exactly where God is going but we trust where God is taking us. We will see the conclusion and it will be for the best even if it’s unpleasant. 

Yeshua tells the Apostles at least 4 times that he is going to send the Helper to them. Yeshua tells them that this Helper is essential, not coming from themselves but from God. 

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 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; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1Jn. 1:5–2:6 NASB)

The Comforter isn’t just there to give us a hug but to advocate for us, to speak up for us. One of the best things we have in an advocate is someone who knows everything about us, the good, bad and ugly. Being brutally honest about ourselves to our Comforter and our Advocate is for our good. 

The book of Romans is one of those books in which context is everything. Each chapter builds on each other. It’s the culmination of all of his letters. When you read Romans from beginning to end and you see what he says about the Law of God and what real righteousness is, you can’t disconnect it from his other writings. Romans 8 is part of a long developing thought leading from Rom. 1-7. 

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Rm. 8:18–34 NASB)

We see a couple of themes here. One is intercession and both the Son of God and the Spirit of God both intercede. 

The Greek word translated commonly as groan in this passage is στενάζω stenazō (Strong’s G4727), which literally means “to sigh” but this is an inward sigh, the sigh in our hearts when we are in despair and even want to die. 

Intercession also shows up in the book of Revelation several times. In Rev 6:9–11 we see the imagery of the souls of saints under the altar in Heaven crying out for an end to persecution and in Rev 8:3–5 there comes God’s answer to those prayers with vengeance on the persecutors. 

Comfort is consolation, interceding, being an advocate. We have a limited understanding of this, in the concept of the best friend. 

Do we know how the Spirit does His thing, being everywhere and communicating everything? We have the simplistic, limited example of a close friend — one I can talk to about anything. A good friend will know I need help or comfort, because I will reach out to the friend or the friend will reach out to me.

A BBF is one who covers over secrets. For those secrets which are so painful you can’t even put them into words, having someone who can put those groaning into words is very valuable. 

Yeshua said we are no longer servants, but friends. A master cares little about his servant’s groanings but a friend deeply cares about our sufferings and comes along side and shares them. 

The Father, Yeshua and the Spirit are one team who are transforming us to put a new heart in us. The old heart is groaning and needs to be recreated. The old man, the darkness needs to be a new man and brought into the light.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.


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