The 16th Chapter of the John comes to mind most frequently when we think of Jesus giving us the Holy Spirit. Here it is:
John 16:12-15 NIV
“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 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 bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
Jesus spoke these words just before he was turned over for crucifixion. This was probably the last time he had alone with the original eleven apostles. He clearly says that the apostles could not understand many of the things Jesus wants to tell them. The way these words are framed it appears that the “Spirit of truth” is very subservient to Jesus and not an equal member of the Trinity as commonly shown today. It sounds like the Holy Spirit is just a mouthpiece for Jesus. Putting that aside we come to another aspect of the Holy Spirit that needs to be addressed. Most think that the Holy Spirit is just that, a spirit and not a being. Of course being portrayed as a dove just re-enforces that idea. But Jesus, and the apostles in the book of Acts, clearly refers to the Holy Spirit as “him”. This would seem to indicate that he is a being.
To raise another basic question was the mission of the Holy Spirit only to come to the Apostles or is he meant to be our counselor as well? That is, is the Holy Spirit around today to guide us through our lives with the lessons that Jesus said we were not yet ready for? Could we still be learning things that we were not yet ready to learn even in the future? Of course, we will investigate this much more in the coming posts when we study what the book of Acts says about him.
Let’s look at a couple of other places in the Gospel text that talk about the Holy Spirit.
“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
It looks like these two sets of verses probably reported the same incident but with some different words and possible meanings. Of course Matthew was there to hear these words from Jesus. Luke’s version was probably relayed to him via a third source so maybe that may be the cause of the variation. I can only guess whether Luke’s source was an eyewitness. But I am getting off track here. This reference to the Holy Spirit is much different than the first one I cited. Is Jesus talking about two different entities? I just don’t know. The only way I can reconcile these stories is to take where Jesus calls the spirit “the Spirit of Truth” and say he is talking about “truth” here then maybe this makes sense. But then “truth” is not a person as Jesus clearly stated in the first verse? Taking that aside, he might be saying that if you deny the truth you are denying the Holy Spirit. One of the study Bibles I use refer to this as someone who would attribute to Satan the miracles done by Christ. In many of today’s Christian denominations we espouse that no matter what your sin is Jesus forgives you. These verses seem to say that at least for this sin you are not forgiven.