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 On the night of Jesus betrayal, he speaks to his disciples concerning his departure.  It was of course for them a time of great confusion and uncertainty.  Into this confusion and uncertainty, he speaks to reassure his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans but rather would manifest himself to them.  In response to this one of his disciples wonders how he can come to them but not to the world.  Part of Jesus’ answer to this question is that the Holy Spirit will come to them.  Jesus further says that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit will be to teach them “all things” and “bring to remembrance” what Jesus had said in his earthly ministry.  How should we understand this two-fold teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit?  This statement raises several important questions.  Who is Jesus talking about that the Holy Spirit will do this for?  What does “all things” mean?  What does “bring to remembrance” mean?  How does this apply to us? To answer these questions, we should always remember that these promises were given first to the disciples in the situation they were facing.  Jesus is saying to the twelve that the Holy Spirit would come to them in particular and teach them.  It is always important when reading the Bible to keep the original audience in view. 

As modern readers we tend to jump to quickly to personal application.  The reason why this is so important is that they would be the eye witnesses who would then also be used by God in the transmission of “the things that have been fulfilled among us” through both the spoken word (preaching the gospel) and the written word (writing an orderly account).  The ministry of the Holy Spirit would be critical as these disciples become apostles and heralds of announcing the Gospel of God in the event of Jesus death and resurrection.  The teaching ministry of the Spirit to the disciples would assure a correct rendering of these events.  This is important for us because we have received the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” as Jude puts it.  With that in view what does “teach you all things” mean?  We should understand this to mean that the Holy Spirit will teach these disciples all the things that the life, death and resurrection mean.  Unless they had this divine ministry, they would miss its significance. 

In a most poignant conversation two disciples speak with Jesus on the Emmaus road as they struggle to make sense of the things that had transpired.  At the end of the conversation Luke records this, “And beginning with Moses and all Prophets he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  This is what the Holy Spirit will continue to do as the disciples begin to fill their apostolic role – announcing and teaching the Gospel in both spoken and written form.  This is very important for us because we are reliant upon the written revelation concerning the life and ministry of Jesus.  It’s through their words that we stand on the faith “delivered to the saints.”  Examples of the significance of this would be Luke 1:1-4, Galatians 1:6-9.  What about the meaning of “bring to remembrance?” Most notably this refers to their witness as they recorded for us an account of the Christ event.  The Holy Spirit guided the process as the New Testament was being formed so that the church would have, as Paul calls it, “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone . . .” 

Finally, how might we faithfully apply these truths to ourselves.  One of the key ministries of the Holy Spirit is as teacher.  He continues to teach the people of God about “all things” concerning Jesus.  In I Corinthians 2:12 Paul says, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”  This is the ministry of the Spirit to you as a believer.  God the Holy Spirit teaches you and me the things freely given us by God in and through Jesus.  This is what growing in grace is about.  Finally, what about “remembering what Jesus said.”  Since we are not writers of scripture, we should understand this to mean that he will help us remember the things we have studied in the scriptures.  The Lord will not give us knowledge we don’t have but he will remind us of what we have learned.  This is what makes reading, studying, digesting, memorizing, meditating on and listening to and praying through the word of God so important.  Remember the words of Jesus before Satan, “man (or woman) does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Today may I urge you to renew your resolve to delight yourself in the word of God for it is your life and may the Spirit continue to teach you the things freely given you by God.  

With affection,

Pastor Paige