John 14:25-26 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But 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.”
Sometimes I’m a little dense, and my head is a little too thick to get what God is trying to say to me in his word. I understand all the words in a passage, but not what the whole group of them taken together consecutively is trying to say. I could tell you the details of a Bible story, but at the end of it I’m not sure what the point is supposed to be.
Didn’t the Twelve Disciples often need that kind of help? Jesus teaches them, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat…” And later on his disciples have to come to him and say, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” They heard the story. They just didn’t get it. Now, Jesus promises, they will have the Holy Spirit to teach them what things mean and what they need to know.
Sometimes we may understand what the words say. We just don’t want to accept it. Here, too, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. Remember the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, or in the upper room the night of Jesus’ resurrection? They have all the evidence that Jesus has risen. But in the upper room, even with Jesus standing there in front of them, they are struggling to believe it. So Luke tells us, “Then he opened up their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” There are things I believe from the Scriptures, not because they seem so right to me, or I like them, or my experience confirms them, but because that’s what the Bible says. Jesus gives us his Spirit, not just to break through hard heads, but hard hearts as well. The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, “will teach you all things.”
Then Jesus promises, “… and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” How do we know Jesus? How do we know what he did and what he teaches thousands of years later? Isn’t it because these men in the room with him that night wrote it down and taught it to others? But how could they remember the details of three years of Jesus’ ministry, and keep it all straight, so that today we have four gospels, four separate biographies of Jesus’ life in our Bibles, that fit together like this? It wasn’t plagiarism. It wasn’t the exceptionally gifted memories of the writers. It was the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, who reminded them of everything Jesus said to them.
You and I won’t be writing new books for the Bible anytime soon. But the Spirit has planted the words of Jesus in our hearts and minds. Maybe some passage has come spilling out of your mouth at an opportune time, something you didn’t even know you knew by heart, and you wondered, “Where did that come from?” You are comforting someone who just lost a loved one, and you find yourself reciting the words of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” not just a verse but the whole thing, or Jesus words to Martha before he raised Lazarus from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Maybe you are beating yourself up, struggling with your own guilt, finding it hard to believe that God can forgive you this time. Suddenly you find yourself thinking about Luke 15, and Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. You remember Jesus saying that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. You think of that anxious Father looking down that road, waiting for his wayward son to come home, and then wrapping his son up in huge, forgiving embrace even before he can get out his words of apology. You recall Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” You are comforted and convinced that you are forgiven.
So do not let your hearts be troubled if you and I can’t see Jesus and go to him visibly now. He has sent you his Holy Spirit, the Counselor, who teaches you and reminds you of everything that Jesus said.