16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—
Now we arrive at the first of several passages dealing with the Holy Spirit in the upper room discourse.
All three members of the Trinity are mentioned in this verse.
16 And I [emphatic] will pray [request] the Father,
Jesus would pray that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to be a presence among believers in His absence. The Father would send the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26) and Jesus would send the Spirit (Jn 15:26).
There are several Greek words for prayer, but Jesus used a specific term here meaning request. He did not implore the Father in prayer as the apostles would do. He always used request rather than “ask” when praying. The effect of His prayer was that the Father would give the disciples “another Helper.”
and He will give you another Helper,
The word “Helper” means counselor (Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). “Helper” is composed to two words: alongside and called. This Helper is a person called to the side to help another person. The Holy Spirit’s presence would replace Jesus’ physical presence after He returned to the Father.
The word “Helper” is a legal term indicating a person who pleads the case for someone else. The Holy Spirit actively speaks on the believer’s behalf. This word, then, has forensic overtones (Jn 16:7-11). In the latter verses the idea is more of a prosecuting attorney than a defense counselor. Although there are legal implications in this word, it is not limited to the legal sense but includes other ideas of strengthen or encouragement.
The translation of the word “Helper” as “Comforter” is no longer valid today because it communicates an idea that the term does not mean. Today the impression of Comforter is sympathizer. It conveys the thought of giving someone a warm blanket to keep them secure. This is not the meaning of this word; the idea of “Helper” is more of an Advocate, a legal friend. The best translation would be “Advocate.”
Note that the term “Helper” or “Advocate” is in the masculine, making the reference to a person. The Holy Spirit has personal attributes (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Ac 15:28; Ro 8:26; 1 Co 12:11; 1 Ti 4:1; Re 22:17).
The term Advocate occurs four times in the gospel of John (Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) and once in 1 John (1 Jn 2:1). It does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament. An Advocate is one who speaks on the behalf of another.
The term “another” means another of the same kind. It implies that Jesus was the first Advocate and that He would send another Advocate to His people. John also used this term for Jesus in 1 John 2:1. The Spirit is another of the same kind rather than a different Advocate from Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is clearly here a person and not a power. The New Testament ascribes personal attributes to Him (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Ac 15:28; Ro 8:26; 1 Co 12:11; 1 Ti 4:1; Re 22:17). His relationship to the Father and Son indicates the three persons of the Trinity are equal (Mt 28:19; 1 Co 12:4–6; 2 Co 13:14; 1 Pe1:1, 2). Each holds the same essence.
Note the words “will give.” The Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling of believers would not happen until some point in the future. The Father would give the Spirit and the Son would send Him (Jn 15:26).
Christians have two Advocates who plead their cause.
The believer has two Advocates: (1) Jesus who pleads our case to God the Father (He 7:25) and (2) the Holy Spirit who pleads the Father’s provisions for the believer. The Holy Spirit personally represents us to the Father as our Advocate. Jesus represents us as an Advocate in heaven (1 Jn 2:1). The Spirit represents the Father to believers. This is a closer relationship than the apostles experienced with the presence of Jesus in their lives.
We can expect the Holy Spirit to work on our behalf here in time and space. He will take up the role that Jesus had with the apostles while He was on earth. Jesus is our advocate in heaven, whereas the Holy Spirit is our present advocate.