“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:25–26, ESV)
Jesus had not yet gone to the cross. He had not yet been resurrected and left His disciples, and they did not really understand what was to lie ahead. Nor did they understand many of the things that He had said about things that had not yet happened. But Jesus knew that once He left them to return to the Father that they were going to need some answers and some help putting all of the pieces together in relation to what they had seen. Knowing this He told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was going to come sent by the Father in the name of Jesus to help them with all of these things.
In particular with the disciples this was going to be critical because they were the ones chosen by Jesus to get things going after He left. They were the ones who spent time with Jesus and who would be relied upon to communicate what they had seen and heard. And they were the ones even who were going to be used to record even for us today the very word of God.
This function of the Spirit is particularly noticeable in the study of John’s gospel as he regularly inserted commentary about things that were going to happen but had not yet happened when he wrote of what Jesus said and did. Later in the same evening Jesus told His disciples, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26–27, ESV) And then He said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7, ESV)
Being with Him they were seeking to understand, but there was going to be a time when they would see things much more clearly through the work of the Holy Spirit. They would truly know why Jesus came and would be charged with sharing that message with others. They were to be the primary witnesses to whom many would listen and be saved. They would be the foundation upon which His church is built.
Paul wrote in Ephesians, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22, ESV)
The Spirit would work through Jesus’ chosen disciples to build His church and to record His Word. Peter tells us, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21, ESV) and Paul wrote to Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed. The Greek word used is theopneustos. When I first saw this word I didn’t need to open a Greek dictionary. I immediately thought of tools I had used which were powered by air—pneumatic tools, and I saw the prefix “theo” and I knew that the word of God was literally God breathed or breathed out by God. Just as Peter had said, these men were carried along by the Spirit. And in order for all of this to happen the Spirit had to come.
While we subsequently are not those use by God to write His word because we weren’t there from the beginning like His disciples or even Paul who was personally confronted by Christ, we do have the same Spirit in us and the Spirit brings the word of God to life for us. The write of Hebrews wrote, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV)
The ministry of the Spirit is vast and this is only a small glimpse, but this glimpse sets the foundation for what we know. It was through the work of the Spirit that these chosen men of God built upon the work of Christ and laid for us the foundation of our faith and it is the Spirit who gives us understanding such that we believe also.
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:16–17, ESV)