A Divine Teacher – Part 1
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13 NIV)
Who better to teach us about God’s Word than the person who wrote the book? But is it possible that the Holy Spirit is a better teacher than even Jesus? The short answer is yes, because only he can teach us from the inside out.
I took geometry during my sophomore year in high school, and for the life of me, no matter what that teacher said, I couldn’t figure it out… None of it made sense. Then about two months into the semester, the teacher got sick and a new teacher replaced him. Under her tutelage, suddenly the light went on for me… I had to give credit for my newfound understanding to the new teacher. It was the way she explained things that helped me understand geometry.
Many times I read the Bible, and I get stuck. I can read the sentence before me—the subject, the verb, the object—but I don’t see the spiritual meaning for my life, nor does it find a place in my inner person. It’s just a mental exercise. Does that ever happen to you?
Two thousand years ago, the disciples had Jesus as their teacher, though they called him by the more commonly used term of the time, rabbi. But even they had problems understanding what Jesus taught them. There are countless examples of Jesus saying something and the disciples completely missing the point. They just didn’t get it. In fact, one of them even argued with him, saying, “No, you won’t go to the cross. I won’t let that happen.” Jesus would teach them about trusting God, and in the next chapter, we see them not trusting God. Jesus even used himself as an example during a lesson about humility. During the Last Supper, Jesus showed himself as a servant of the Lord and washed the disciples’ feet. Yet during that same dinner, the disciples argued about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27).
But Jesus promised that when he died, another teacher would come and help them to properly digest spiritual truth. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you” (John 16:12-14).
Jesus not only told them a better teacher was on the way, but he also said the new teacher would convey truth that he couldn’t pass on at that time. In other words, Jesus was saying, “I have more to say, and the new teacher will be the one to teach you about it.” He said, "The Spirit will guide you into all the truth,” and this included applying the message to the hearts of the disciples. Then the meaning of Jesus’ life and death, faith, hope, love, the power of prayer, and much more would all be made crystal clear to them.
To be continued…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Spirit Rising)
Read John 16:7-15.