I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
I think of it as an “aha moment”. It doesn’t appear in the shape of a light bulb over my head, but when I am reading the Bible it’s like the words leap off the page and burn their way into my heart. I feel as though the words were meant just for me. The aha moment can hit when I’m struggling with a matter; seemingly out of nowhere an insight from the Bible shows me the way. The light goes on! Such aha moments are the Holy Spirit coming alongside to make Jesus’ words alive.
In today’s text Jesus is telling the disciples that the Holy Spirit is coming “in my name”. That is, the Holy Spirit is coming as Jesus’ representative; His work is to make Jesus known. Just as Jesus came revealing the Father, so the Spirit will come revealing Jesus. The Spirit will “teach” the disciples (later to become apostles) by making clear the meaning of Jesus’ words and life. His teaching will include those difficult matters about which the disciples had so many anxious questions (John 13:36; 14:5, 8, 22). The Spirit’s work will not be to bring new revelation, but to unfold the meaning of what Jesus has already said. His work will always be to point us to Jesus.
Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit’s teaching has first application to the disciples. The Holy Spirit will literally “remind” them of all that Jesus said. The Spirit will teach them “everything” about those matters they did not understand. This teaching of the disciples through the Spirit results in the Gospels and New Testament letters. It is the Holy Spirit’s work within the disciples that guarantees the accuracy of the Scriptures.
But there is a secondary application of this text for you and me: the Holy Spirit is the teacher of any who would follow Jesus (I John 2:27). It is a wonderful thing to read the Bible and to experience the Holy Spirit giving understanding as we read.
The name theologians give to this teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit is “illumination”. It is as though the Spirit “turns on the light” as He helps us understand and apply what the Bible says. The Holy Spirit longs to lead us deeper and deeper into Jesus’ words. And He will, if we ask Him.
O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes, and make me see:
Show me the truth concealed within Thy word,
And in Thy Book revealed I see thee Lord.
– Alexander Groves
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?