“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-15)
The Holy Spirit not only convicts the world of its sin, of righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11), but He also accomplishes a number of other ministries. Jesus stated to the eleven disciples that He had many more things to tell and teach them but that they could not bear or understand them at that particular moment. Jesus then introduced another series of statements regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Notice that Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit in the masculine gender. He refers to the Spirit of truth as He. The Holy Spirit is never referred to in Scripture as “it.” What is it that the Spirit of truth will do on behalf of all of Jesus’ disciples through these men who Jesus would call apostles?
First, the Holy Spirit will guide the apostles into all the truth. This refers to the Spirit’s ministry of producing through the apostles the New Testament Scriptures. See 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. The complete canon of Scripture will be a product of the Spirit’s ministry but not the Spirit alone. The New Testament reflects the authority of the entire Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father will tell God the Spirit what He will teach about God the Son.
Second, the Holy Spirit will declare to the apostles the things that are to come. The things that are to come, in this particular context, include the substitutionary atonement by Christ on the cross, the resurrection, the ascension and the soon return of Christ. The New Testament Scriptures are the fulfillment of this promise.
Third, the Holy Spirit will glorify the Son. This would occur as the Spirit illuminated the minds of the apostles in order to produce inerrant and inspired writings concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. As one pastor explains, “The Spirit worked in the apostles’ minds so that they could perceive, understand, and teach about the Savior.”
One commentator writes, “Jesus was not promising that new special revelation would continue until His return, for that would miss the uniqueness of the Apostolic office. The Apostles were directly appointed by Christ to speak in His name, bearing His authority. And plainly, the Apostles understood themselves to have an authority that other disciples of Jesus do not. (All followers of Jesus can be called disciples—even us—but not all followers can be called Apostles. All Apostles are disciples but not all disciples are Apostles.)”
Take the opportunity today, as you read the Scriptures, to give praise and thanks to God for the Word of God which the Holy Spirit of God wrought through the prophets and the apostles of God.
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!