A third thing we learn from Jesus in John 14:16-18 is that the Holy Spirit is "another counselor". The word in the Greek is paraclete. It literally means "someone called alongside". The word can refer to a lawyer or an assistant in a legal question, a person who provides encouragement, counsel, and strength. The word can also be translated as: helper, supporter, advocate, encourager, counselor, or comforter. Just as Jesus is our paraclete and pleads our case before our Father in heaven (Hebrews 7:25), so also the Holy Spirit is another paraclete who pleads God's case with us here on earth. Paul says in Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
When we think of the Holy Spirit as "Comforter" we may think of the Spirit as a warm blanket. But there is more to the Spirit than this. As Donald Grey Barnhouse once wrote, the Spirit "is a ramrod down your backbone to make you stand for the truth; to make you take the right side, even though it's the minority side. The comforter gives you strength to stand up in face of something that is evil and vile."
In 1066 the Normans invaded England under the leadership of William the Conqueror. This is commemorated in a work of art called the Bayeaux Tapestry. In one part of the tapestry a column of Norman soldiers are pictured on horseback. At the end of the column, the Bishop of Bayeaux is pictured (see above) holding a club in order to prod the last soldier in line. The caption reads: "Bishop Odo comforts the soldiers."
That may not fit with our particular picture of comfort. But sometimes that is precisely what the paraclete does. He urges us on to greater things for Christ and his Kingdom.
The really good news in all of this is, as Jesus says, that he has given us the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. God says something similar in Hebrews 13:5, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." The writer to the Hebrews goes on to say, "So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"