A Thought from the Bishop’s Chapel — Monday, May 18

When our Lord speaks of the “Advocate,” He is referencing the Spirit (cf. John 14:15).   Advocate is an English word, rich in meaning, which translates the Greek one, “Paraclete,” used in the manuscripts of the New Testament.    In some English translations the word Comforter is used.   Regardless, the word in Greek describes one who on our behalf intercedes, pleads, comforts, or defends.   We can also see where this word has a legal connotation, which is perfectly consistent with what our Lord says about the world.   After all, He says to His disciples, “[B]ecause you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you” (John 15:19).   The world accused Him.   The world will also accuse those who follow Him.

If the Christian takes seriously his or her commitment to Christ, then that person can expect the “world” to retaliate.   The Christian must not be intimidated.   The Christian will be rescued from the cunning accusations of the “world.”   Why?   Because the Christian will have a defender.   Our Lord says, “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me” (John 15:26).   Why will this testimony be important?   Because the follower of Christ can expect to be expelled and even killed as an act of worship (cf. John 16:2).   Strong words, but, of course, this is exactly what has happened to Christian believers, the great martyrs and saints, for twenty centuries.   And those same Christians are living witnesses to us that truth conquers in the end as the Advocate pleads the cause of Christ which is theirs as well.   “And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:27).