When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I that he shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.
These words of Jesus Christ are recorded in the 16th chapter of the Gospel account of the Evangelist, John. They are part of the long speech he made to his closest disciples, the eleven faithful apostles, the night they celebrated the Passover feast. They are extremely significant.
In the first instance, he reassures the apostles. He knows that he is about to be taken from them, and that the cross awaits – but they do not know this. Jesus makes clear that there will always be a divine presence with them.
To what purpose ?
To guide them into all truth. Not to provide spiritual experiences, nor even to perform miracles – though they will experience both as a result of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
But the Truth. Because they will be the human instruments to form the institution of the Church; and they will be the custodians of the truth – a truth which some of them will write down as books of the New Testament which we now have 2000 years later.
The truth is of the essence, not experiences, not miracles. The truth of Jesus teaching is to be taught and to be lived. That is the essence of Christianity. To know God’s truth and to live by God’s truth, not by man’s understanding of truth.
Man’s understanding of truth is wayward and unreliable. Its only reference point is man himself – man becomes the measure of all things as one Enlightenment thinker put it centuries later when the humanistic and materialistic assault on God’s truth began in earnest.
Many have put the church organisation first, not Jesus truth. Many have put their own interpretations of Jesus teaching first, failing to understand and live the original message. Yet others have tried to mix Jesus teaching with different teaching, and wandered from the reality which comes from knowing and understanding Jesus truth.
And so Christianity is denigrated in the eyes of unbelievers, and believers are considered hypocrites or self servers [and indeed many are … ].
Jesus had said earlier in this Gospel of John that the Truth shall set you free, that true disciples are those who keep his teaching – who obey and live it. That such will know the presence of God the Father in their lives.
In other words, Jesus claims to provide not just a life style, but the very presence and power of God our Maker in a real way in our lives on this planet, regardless of any heaven later when we die in this world.
And this should be understood by the detractors and opponents of the faith, and especially by those who turn it into a religion. It is not just words, or a view of life, but a reality experienced and known by its obedient adherents.
And it is all predicated on the Truth Jesus spoke and which the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to write down as the New Testament.
The truth God speaks to us is the way in, not ritual nor seeking for experience, nor wanting proof from God, but the acceptance of Jesus word as Truth, and living by that Truth.
And the Holy Spirit will minister that truth, and he will exalt Jesus, not himself.
In this consumerist and materialistic age obsessed with pleasure and self this must be emphasised. Too many are being seduced by a teaching of the Holy Spirit promoting miracles and experience, a ‘Holy Spirit’ to which we pray and which we adore.
Jesus taught the opposite about the true Holy Spirit. He will exalt Christ – not himself – and he will remind us of Jesus Christ’s teaching. Only when we accept this understanding of the Holy Spirit can we know the true power of the true Holy Spirit.