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The Comforter—Our Advocate

From the August 2008 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Is The Comforter that Jesus promised us all about comfort? Or is there something far more profound in that promise that we can count on? A closer look at how Jesus describes the Comforter reveals a special endowment that might surprise you.

Not that comforting isn't important. Jesus made this promise on the eve of his crucifixion knowing he was about to leave his disciples. They needed something to help them cope in his absence. In his exquisite farewell, he reassures them: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1, New Revised Standard Version.) In other words, "Believe that I will take care of you."

But Jesus himself was about much more than comforting. When he tells his disciples he is sending them "another Comforter" (John 14:16), he is signaling that this Comforter will fill his shoes when he is gone. But Jesus is not thinking of another person to fill his shoes. He explicitly tells them, "You know him [the Comforter], because he abides with you, and he will be in you" (John 14:17, NRSV). He also adds, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you" (John 16:7). Jesus knew that only when he was gone would the disciples be open to the presence of the Comforter within as the "Spirit of truth" (John 14:17).

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