John 16:12-14 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (NIV)
Shock, grief, anxiety and ignorance make it difficult for people to hear anything new. Jesus recognised that the trainee apostles would be like that as they anticipated His departure, hardly understanding anything of what Jesus had said. More information at that point would simply overload them and risk distressing them further. However, they would not be alone in the future. The Holy Spirit would be sent to each of them in just over seven week’s time.
The Holy Spirit’s work would not be independent of Jesus; He would not bring a different gospel, for He is equally God, with the Father and the Son. The three persons of God speak with one voice for They are One. So, in Jesus’ absence the Spirit would continue to speak, reminding the apostles of what Jesus had said, and telling them what they could not bear to hear at that time. They would not stumble helplessly into the future; because the Spirit would instruct them. Every time the Spirit spoke, they would hear the voice of Jesus. They would know that their relationship with their Master was unbroken and unending – for which they would be profoundly thankful and give glory to Jesus.
We know what the Spirit said to the apostles; it is recorded in the Bible. That is how we know so much about the Christian life, evangelism, pastoral ministry, heaven, hell and the second coming. The role of those initial apostles (including Paul) was unique and foundational. Their job was to define how to live the ‘Jesus Way’. So when we want to know what God really thinks about a subject, we can all go straight back to the Bible and check. As we read the Bible we also need the help of the same Holy Spirit who guided the apostles. He enables us to understand the Bible and applies the truth directly into our own circumstance. So we are not left alone with a Book, as the One who inspired it is living within us! He will guide us into the meaning of what He has written. So let us ask for His help and then welcome the truth so we can act upon it.
Prayer: Wonderful God. I am so glad that I do not have to wonder what is true about Jesus, because Your Holy Spirit has guided the apostles to write the truth about Him. I am sorry for the times when I do not take Your Word seriously and make up my own opinion about what I would like You to say – ignoring Your Word which speaks directly. Please teach me that when I ask for Your help as I read, I should expect the Holy Spirit to make Jesus bigger and myself smaller. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.