Summary: God is always with us through the Holy Spirit. We need to depend on the Spirit, trust in his truth, and serve like him.
Noting the Constant Presence of God
Today is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity--God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit--is one of the great mysteries of the faith. Our brains struggle to fathom one God in three persons. We have different images to help us. As a kid, I learned that water can also be experienced as ice or steam; the same substance in three manifestations. Or you may have different roles you play: wife, mother, grandmother, friend, sister; or husband, father, grandfather, brother, son. You are one, yet manifest yourself in different roles. These are all images to try to help us understand the Triune God of the Bible.
Michael Jones uses the picture of a relay race. God the Father has spoken to people in various times and ways throughout the Old Testament. Then, he hands the baton to his only begotten son Jesus who runs with it as he teaches and performs miracles for three years. In today’s setting, Jesus is preparing for his final moments on earth. His arrest is imminent. Then will follow his death, resurrection, and ascension. And he knows that, only in going, can he send the final team member of the relay, the Holy Spirit, who will bring to mind all that Jesus has taught the disciples and continue to help them along in their daily lives.
A couple of chapters earlier, Jesus had shared with his disciples about this Holy Spirit. In John 14:17, he promised, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” We saw last week at Pentecost the fruition of this, as the Holy Spirit entered into every believer to stay, and enabled them to do what they could not do on their own. Ever since, the moment you become a believer, the moment you say yes to Jesus and enter the family of God, Jesus sends his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, into you.
As I thought about what today’s verses say about the Holy Spirit’s work, I came up with three actions we can take. First, we need to ...
1. Depend on the Holy Spirit’s help
Jesus told his followers in verse 12, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Jesus was probably talking about his coming trials. We know from scripture that he repeatedly tried to prepare his disciples for his death on a cross; yet they continually refused to believe it. They had in their minds a different sort of Messiah, a militaristic hero that the entire nation longed for. Jesus knew they weren’t ready to hear more at this time, but they could take it in as they looked back at the cross. After all, hindsight is 20/20.
For us today, we don’t have the same problem as the disciples, although certainly there are some things we are probably not ready to hear. The Holy Spirit speaks those things in bite-sized bites that are palatable with what we can handle. Sometimes you may feel you are at the end of your rope, that you can’t take any more. Know that the Holy Spirit is there with you, in that moment, to help you bear up and make it through another day.
I believe it is simply impossible to live the Christian life without the help of the Holy Spirit. He is your constant guide, your champion, your reminder of God’s presence in your life 24/7. He is your conviction when you drift from God’s best, when you follow sin’s destructive path. And he is the one who warms your heart as you return to the God of your youth. Count on the daily presence of the Holy Spirit as if your life depended upon it...because it does! Secondly,
2. Trust God’s truth as the truth.
Jesus said to them, in the first part of verse 13, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” For these disciples, this scripture was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit helped them write what we call the New Testament. Even before the New Testament had come together, the Apostle Peter wrote, in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Two chapters later, Peter referred to Paul’s letters at the time as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:16). We are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as the divine author of these scriptures we read today.