In the gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus promises to send his disciples “another Advocate” or “Paraclete,” identified as the Holy Spirit. This Greek word “paraclete” literally means “one who calls out for another”, and could be translated as spokesman, mediator, intercessor, comforter, or a defence counsellor, or, as here, “advocate.” For whom will the Holy Spirit be the advocate? In 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called the Advocate before the Father for any person who sins.
The Holy Spirit is an Advocate in Jesus’ name for Christians, but before whom will the Holy Spirit defend us or present our case? Since there is no division within the three Persons of God, the Holy Spirit does not defend us before the Father. A little further on from our gospel passage today, we are told that the holy Spirit Advocate will teach and remind us of all that Jesus had done and spoken. Likewise in John 15:26, Jesus says the Advocate will testify to him.
The Holy Spirit then is an Advocate for Christians as they face the “court” of the world in which they live. The Spirit provides support and defence against the challenges Christians will face as they live the faith. Mark 13:11 (also Matthew 10:19-20 and Luke 12: 11-12) indicate that the Holy Spirit will speak for Christians and give them the words to say when they are brought before civil authorities for being followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit will not come merely for a visit but will remain in us forever, continuing to speak the truth of Jesus to us and through us. No moment could show so clearly the convergence of these two dynamics as the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost followed by their proclamation of Jesus to thousands of people in the streets of Jerusalem that same day.