“All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
As we go deeper into our walk with Christ, we see that the walk is a mysterious one. Perhaps you have sensed that yourself. Have you ever tried to explain what it means to follow Jesus? Our words can only ever get us part of the way there. There is joy and contentment, but there is pain and hardship too. How can all of those things exist at once? How do we begin to express the breadth of this experience? We can come close, but in the end it feels like we are grasping at something that isn’t quite meant to be grasped.
This is, I think, how God intended for it to be. In John 16:12, Jesus tells his disciples that they aren’t ready yet for all of the things He wants to share with them. I wonder if the disciples felt patronized by that statement. Come on, Jesus. Don’t you think I can handle it? But Jesus knew that the life He had called them to would defy their ability to express it. There was simply too much.
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It’s almost enough to make us give up the whole thing. But in verses 13-15, Jesus explains further. Since He won’t be there to tell them everything they need to know, the Holy Spirit will step in and take that role. It will be the Spirit who guides them in truth, and who will help them to understand the things that words alone cannot express. The Holy Spirit, through God the Father, gives us access to the very heart of God. When we live every day with the Holy Spirit, we experience what cannot be explained. It is just one more way that God draws us into Him.
Even now I feel the limitation of words. The exact nature of how Jesus relates to the Father and to the Holy Spirit feels ambiguous to mortal humans. If centuries of Christian thought has been unable to explain that adequately, then a short article will certainly not suffice. But even if words fail us, we know that the Holy Spirit never will. He is always faithful to speak to us and share with us the deep truths that words alone cannot explain. We have only to be faithful and trust in Him to do the same.
Written by Nate Owens, Asia-Pacific Regional Communications Coordinator