Life In The Spirit Glorifies God
John 15: 26 — 27 and 16: 12 — 15.
Our text combines two readings about the role of the Holy Spirit. Verse 26 and 27 of Chapter 15 are complex but contain wonderful truths. The core of Jesus statement is “I will send the Spirit from the Father, and he will be a witness for me just as I expect you to be witnesses for me, witnesses of the truth”. Jesus, in the first instance, is referring to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost: his gift to the Church. This is the day when the breath of God came into the framework already existing, and completed the union of the disciples with their Lord and with one another in him.
The Spirit and the disciple are tasked with performing the same mission together.
Secondly: From John 16
When Jesus declares in verse 12, “I have much more to say to you”, he is developing an exciting idea in the minds of his hearers. He is saying, in effect, that no difference can be made between things he has taught orally, and those taught later by the Apostles aided by the Holy Spirit. This is very important in understanding the place of Scripture in the Church, and the fact that it does not contain all that God has revealed to mankind (John 21: 25).
Then in verse 13 he returns to his theme begun in verse 26: “….when the Spirit will not merely teach but guide you into the truth so that you see it from within and not as an onlooker”.
In the same verse Jesus gives us a beautiful picture of the inner workings of the Holy Trinity. “The Spirit will speak only what he hears. Therefore, because he proceeds from the source of all truth, the Father, he can guide you into all truth.”
These words give the disciples present, and future generations of believers great confidence that they would be safe from deviation provided they too remained ever listening to the Word from the Father and carrying out all that he commanded. Those who seek the truth can rest assured that they will be lead into a full apprehension of the Truth. Thus we can say that Christian revelation is not a passive reception of understanding. Our spiritual understanding will depend also on our zeal, searching, effort, commitment, application, listening, attention and (take note) the priority we give to God’s message in our daily lives.
When we go to read verse 14, we may get the impression that Jesus’ revelation of God’s love was incomplete, or imperfect, which the Holy Spirit would supplement. This is not so. The revelation of Jesus is a full and perfect revelation, but it is imperfectly received. Thus the Holy Spirit illumines the heart to bring home to it the things of Jesus Christ. Thus the Spirit does not so much bring new knowledge as the power of Jesus’ word, which is ever new in the process of confronting fresh ranges of hearers.
Our reading closes with Jesus reminding us of the most amazing heritage into which we are born again. If we would but listen to what he is saying, take it to heart in silent wonder, and let it rule in our lives, the whole world would hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
“Israel, if you would but listen to me!” (Ps 81: 8)
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