The Comforter

The Comforter

Jesus said to the disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7

I didn’t learn to swim until I was a teenager. We lived in the city and had no nearby public pool. We could not pay for the YMCA. We waded in streams on vacations, but never went very deep.

Our high school had an Olympic-sized pool. I learned to float in a ball, then on my back. Then I began swimming. Eventually I passed the “beginner swimmer” test by swimming the length of the pool.

Confident in my new ability, I decided to swim in a lake. Though I did not go out very far, I stepped into deeper water than expected. I panicked and yelled, “Help!” The fear that I glimpsed in my mother’s eyes reinforced my own fear even though I managed to swim back into shallow water. For years that experience kept me from swimming in deep water, even in a pool.

When my husband and I joined a YMCA, we both decided to take private swimming lessons. After a few sessions, I was able to swim to the deep end of the pool. My instructor swam alongside me. I was nervous, but I knew she was there if I needed help.

Swimming with my instructor reminded me of the Holy Spirit’s role as parakletos, “One who is summoned to come alongside to help.” He doesn’t live my life for me. He’s just THERE. The word parakletos can be translated “Comforter.” Sometimes His presence brings comfort (John 14:16). Sometimes His presence brings understanding and remembrance of all that Jesus taught (John 14:26). Sometimes He brings truth and assurance (John 15:26).

Many times in life we have to do things even though we are afraid. However, we do not have to do them alone. The parakletos is by our side.


Read John 14:15-17. Jesus told his disciples that it would be better for them if he went away. What was Jesus’ explanation for sending the Holy Spirit to his disciples?

Read John 14:27. Why does Jesus tell the disciples they have no reason to be afraid? What was his gift to them?

Read 1 John 2:1 (KJV). What is another meaning for the word parakletos in this passage? Who is called the parakletos here?

Nancy J. Baker

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