Jesus Christ before the ascension into heaven, told his disciples that it was to their advantage that he returned to Heaven, for it was only then the Father can send down the Counsellor to them. One may be tempted to ask what the role of the Counsellor is to us as Christians. (John 16:7)
What do we understand as being a Counsellor? It is a person who by privilege of knowledge, education or experience is in a unique position to advice, guide and help you achieve the desired results in life. In secondary schools, they are known as Career Counsellors. Usually, their jobs are to advise students in the junior secondary what subjects to select to follow a certain career in life. This is often based on the academic performance of the individual concerned; the counsellor uses the subjects’ grade to advice on career choice. Ultimately, the aim is for you to pass your ‘O’ level exams based on the subject you often excel. In the Church, the Counsellor is the Pastor or his assistant. He is there for your spiritual guidance, whenever you experience abnormal situations you can not ordinarily explain. He usually set aside his counselling days for people to bring their problems to him.
The contrast of these earthly counsellors to the one the Lord Jesus Christ promised to send in John 16:7 is that this heavenly Counsellor is available to you twenty-four hours of the day, seven days a week! Distance and space is not a restriction. What did Jesus Christ say would be the role of this Counsellor? (Verse 8) “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;”
The fact that all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), in the days before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Counsellor was the exclusive preserve of the holy men commissioned by God to represent him amongst His people; this were the prophets. When John the Baptist came as the forerunner of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Counsellor was with him revealing the truth about what is to come through him to men who cared to listen. Their conviction of the need to repent and turn to God from their sinful life was the work of this Heavenly Counsellor. Through John the Baptist, the Heavenly Counsellor was able to stare up the spirit of men against unrighteous living, a pre-cursor to the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the youthful age of thirty years old, John the Baptist’s ministry began to windup, while Jesus full ministry began (Matt. 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22). As he was baptised by John, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove and a voice came from Heaven saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Our Lord Jesus Christ was begotten to the care of the Heavenly Counsellor – the Holy Spirit, in the three years of his earthly ministry. His strength, knowledge, wisdom, power and authority were rekindled by the teaching of the Heavenly Counsellor, the Holy Spirit. The wilderness experience of forty-days and forty nights was an endurance test for what Jesus was to pass through on his earthly ministry.
As John’s access to the Heavenly Counsellor diminished, Jesus Christ ministry and power began to grow. The fullness of Our Lord’s ministry climaxed after the death of John the Baptist at the hands of King Herod.
In three years, Jesus fulfilled his ministry on earth and was crucified, buried and resurrected – thus defeating sin, unrighteousness and judging the evil ruler of this world, Satan. Man was totally redeemed by this singular sacrifice by Christ’s victory on the cross of Calvary from the strangulation of Satan. The Heavenly Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, departed to heaven at the completion of the Lord’s ministry, whilst on the cross of Calvary. Assured that Christ had what it takes to overcome death and defeat Satan in his domain (Psalm 24:7-10). The Holy Spirit confidently went back to His owner our Heavenly Father on the day of crucification. Satan had roped himself in by committing the spiritual murder of an innocent son of God, who knew no sin and no iniquity was found on him.
(Eph. 3: 9-10) “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,”
For the sake of his disciples, Jesus said after the resurrection in verse 7 of John 16; “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” This confirms that the Holy Spirit at that point was not on earth. Jesus was operating under His own divine authority and power, which he inherited from His Father in Heaven. What was going to be the relationship of the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit with Christians?
In John 16:13-15, Jesus Christ described the Counsellor as the Spirit of Truth; who will guide Christians into all the truth and will declare what he hears in heaven to us. Whatever the Spirit says to us is not of the Spirit own authority, but of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth that reveals the mystery of God’s plan in our lives. He knows the length, breadth, height and depth of God’s thinking concerning you and me.
The Holy Spirit was released into the world in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. (Act.2:1-4). Christ had told his disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem until they have been clothed with power from on high. This was the baptism of fire which John the Baptist talked about. (Luke 24:49-53) “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Seated on the right hand side of the Father, Jesus Christ asked Him to send the Holy Spirit as he had promised his disciples on earth. His presence is responsible for converting and convincing the world of the gospel preached by our Lord Jesus Christ.