posted on Jul, 3 2015 @ 05:03 PM
“The Advocate” is one of the names which John gives to the Holy Spirit in the final teachings of Jesus.
The Greek word is PARAKLETOS.
It gets translated as “Advocate”, “Counsellor” ,”Comforter”, and even (rather despairingly) as “Paraclete”.
But one of the merits of “Advocate” is that the Latin ADVOCATUS has the same root meaning as PARAKLETOS.
They both mean “Someone who is called to be by your side”.
The first introduction of the word comes when Jesus has just said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.
If the believer cannot do this on his own, he will need help.
“And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever” (ch14 v15)
But what does he mean by “another”?
This relates to what John says in his Epistle;
“If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. 1 John ch2 v1
The image is that we stand accused in his Father’s court, and Christ speaks up for us and defends us.
In the same way, one of the functions of the second Advocate is to speak up for us and defend us in a completely different court.
In the next chapter, Jesus begins warning them that the world will hate them and persecute them, just as it hated Jesus himself.
The world judges, and finally executes Jesus.
So the world will also want to judge the followers of Jesus.
This is the reason why the believers will need the services of an Advocate, to defend them in the world’s court.
“But when the Counsellor [Advocate] comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will
bear witness to me”. (ch15 v26)
This further develops our understanding of how the Spirit comes to us.
We already know from ch14 that the Spirit will be sent in the name of Jesus, and at his request, but there is also a sense in which Jesus himself
“sends” the Spirit.
The first function of the Advocate in the world’s court will be to act as a witness for Christ.
This may well refer to the promise made in the other gospels;
“When they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for
it is not you that speak, but the Holy Spirit”. (Mark ch13 v11)
There’s also the possibility of more direct influence on the minds of the critics.
But he warns them that the persecution will get worse.
The disciples of Jesus will not just be “un-synagogued” (APOSYNOGOGOUS), but they will even be killed.
The world will model themselves on the cat in “The Mouse’s Tail”;
“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,
Said cunning old Fury,
I’ll try the whole cause
And condemn you to death” (“Alice in Wonderland”, Lewis Carroll)
All the more need for the services of the Advocate.
In fact, as Jesus explains, his own departure is even to their advantage, for only then will they receive the Advocate whom he sends to take his
place. (ch16 v7)
There follows a series of promises (vv8-11) about the Advocate’s effect on the world.
Their meaning isn’t easy to grasp.
In the first place, there’s a translation problem; a choice between “he will convict” and “he will convince”. The Greek could go either way.
Modern translations hedge their bets.
Then each effect is followed by a reason, but the connection between the two is not obvious.
I’ve seen an explanation which I found convincing, so I’ll try to reproduce it.
The first key point is that the verb is “convict”.
This is the Advocate acting as an aggressive counsel for the defence.
He’s taking the classic line of discrediting the witnesses on the prosecution side.
It should be understood that the world is not just judge and jury and prosecuting counsel in this trial, but also the chief witness.
They accuse the church, and the Advocate counter-attacks.
1)“He will convict the world concerning sin, because they do not believe in me”.
The world seeks to convict the church “concerning sin”, because the church follows Jesus, and the world’s judgement has rejected Jesus as a
But this rejection was itself a sin, because the disbelieving world’s judgement upon Jesus was unjust.
So the Advocate can convict the world, on this point, because of their unbelief.
2) “He will convict the world concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you will see me no more”.
The world seeks to convict the church “concerning righteousness”, because the church follows Jesus, and the world’s judgement has crucified
Jesus as an unrighteous man.
But his resurrection and ascension (“I go to the Father”) overturn the sentence and show that this judgement is wrong.
So the Advocate can convict the world on this point, because there is no righteousness in their own judgement.
3) “He will convict the world concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The world seeks to convict the church “concerning judgement”, because the church follows Jesus, who has already been judged himself and
But the actual effect of the crucifixion is the judgement of the ruler of this world. (ch12 v31)
So the Advocate can convict the world on this point, because they themselves are following one who has been judged.
In summary, then, the effect of the Advocate’s work is to turn the world’s hostile testimony back against itself.
(This is part of his function of helping the church to understand and to declare the truth.)
The world seeks to judge and convict the church, but the world itself is judged and convicted.
Therefore the world’s judgement in the lower court has no validity.
And the world itself will come under judgement when the case reaches the higher court, which is the presence of the Father.