Day of Pentecost, Year B: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15: The Advocate

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Day of Pentecost, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of John. I already wrote about the Acts passage for the Day of Pentecost, Year A.

In today’s Gospel text, Jesus is telling his followers about the coming of the Holy Spirit, whom he calls the Advocate and the Spirit of truth (at least in the translation in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible).

He says that the Advocate will testify (or in other words, advocate) on his behalf. His followers are also to testify about him. He explains that he didn’t tell them this before because he was with them, but now that he is returning to the one who sent him, he sees that they are full of sorrow. He tells them if he does not go, the Advocate will not come to them, but when he goes, he will send the Advocate to them. He says the Spirit of truth will guide them into all truth.

He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 16: 14-15

This is a rather complex passage for me. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible talks about the meaning of Advocate and testifying in relation to courts and legal matters, which makes some sense. As an advocate to speak on legal behalf of a client, the Holy Spirit is like an advocate–working in the hearts of Christians to help them know and follow the way of Jesus.