“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. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (verses 12-15)
These verses cause me to rejoice – for two reasons. One has to do with “back then” and the other with right now.
Back then, the Spirit fulfilled this promise as he led these disciples (and others, too, including Mark, Luke, Paul, James, Jude) into truth that they captured for us by putting pen to paper (or rather, quill to papyrus). These writers recorded the events of Jesus’ life, giving us his words and works so that we, too, could “see his glory.” The things they wrote were not just human recollections and reflections, but rather Spirit-enabled accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry and its ongoing implications. Earlier Jesus had promised that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). Yes, Jesus’ teaching was memorable in its own right, much of it contained in stories with startling insights that were difficult to forget. But nonetheless, the fullness and breadth of the accounts we have in the Gospels are fully dependent on the Spirit’s enabling.
So, too, with the account of Jesus’ ongoing ministry in and through the early church, captured for us in the Book of Acts – Luke’s record of those events was guided by the Spirit. Further, the theological insights contained for us within the New Testament letters, written by Paul and others, are continuing examples of the Spirit guiding “into all truth” (verse 13). So, too, with the apocalyptic revelations given to the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos – insights impossible apart from the revelatory work of the Spirit.
I rejoice in this work of the Spirit back then. We would be lost without it. By his work he has led us into the glory of Jesus, just as he promised.
But the Spirit’s work doesn’t end there. He continues to actively work right now. It is his ongoing purpose and delight to guide us into all truth, making known to us the things of Jesus, bringing him glory in the process. He does it now. He doesn’t stop. He shines a light on the scriptures already given. He whispers into our minds and hearts, giving insights beyond ourselves. He is the voice of the shepherd guiding us. He draws from the infinite possessions of the Son. As we need it, he gives promptings regarding what’s ahead.
This aspect of the promise calls for ongoing relationship. The Spirit, as Jesus has said, is “the one called alongside to help.” So, lean into him. Keep your ears attuned. Stay in the scriptures daily. Maintain the conversation of prayer. Expect his ongoing involvement.
What a gift. Jesus promised: “the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” Be ready to receive.
Spirit of Jesus, I stand ready this day for you to lead and guide me into more of the truth of Jesus. Welcome.
Reflect: Consider how much you’ve already received through the Scriptures – this is the gift of the Spirit. Give thanks. He has more truth to guide you into today. Watch expectantly.