25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. NAU
Jesus and the disciples were in the upper room after the Last Supper. Although Judas had walked daily with Jesus, he now had gone to betray his Lord. While He was abiding with them, Jesus had taught them many things. Soon Jesus would not be physically present with the disciples. Therefore, He comforted them with the announcement that the Father would send another Helper. This Helper, who is the Holy Spirit, would be sent in the name of Jesus to teach the disciples.
The Holy Spirit
Jesus identifies the Helper as the Holy Spirit and tells us what He will do. The disciples, no doubt, drew much comfort from these words. They would not be left alone, but would have an advocate with them.
The Helper is the Holy Spirit. In his gospel, John uses title Holy Spirit in 1:33, 20:22, and here. The Holy Spirit is holy. Thus, any relationship with the Spirit will have an impact on character. With regard to the title, Wescott (p. 209) makes this point: "The moral character of the Spirit as fashioning the life of the Church is added to the teaching power of the Spirit (vv. 16, 17), as the Revealer of Truth."
Sending the Spirit
Jesus says that the Father will send the Holy Spirit in His name. Given this, the disciples can fully trust the Spirit. They can rely in all circumstances on the Spirit to lead, guide, and teach them.
First, Jesus says that the Father will send the Spirit. Later, in John 15:26, Jesus says that He will send the Spirit from the Father. Thus, both the Father and the Son send the Spirit. Morris (p. 656) states, "What he [Jesus] is saying in both places is that the Spirit's mission derives exclusively neither from the Father nor the Son. It comes from both." We serve a Triune God. In a sense all three Persons are in involved in any of the Divine activities.
Second, Jesus says that the Father will send the Spirit "in My name." Morris (p. 656) writes: "this verse shows Him to be closely related to both the Father and the Son. He is to be sent by the Father, but in the name of the Son." It is clear that the Helper will represent Christ. Just as the Son represents the Father, so the Holy Spirit represents Christ. As Howard maintains (p. 712), Christ:
is the Father's envoy, with full authority to declare his mind. So now the Father will send this other Paraclete with full authority to declare under fresh conditions the message which Jesus taught within the terms of the incarnate life.
The Spirit's Mission
The mission of the Spirit, as presented in verse 26, is twofold. He will teach you all things and He will bring to remembrance all that Christ said. The first clause stresses the comprehensiveness of what the Spirit will teach. The second clause puts the emphasis on what Jesus already said.
First, the Spirit will teach the disciples all things. Jesus speaks (verse 26) about the Helper (compare 15:26, 16:7, and I John 2:1) then identifies the Helper as the Holy Spirit. Earlier (John 14:17) Jesus had described the coming Helper as the Spirit of Truth (compare 15:26, 16:13, and I John 4:6). Verses 25-26 build on John 14:16-17. Here, Jesus stresses that the Holy Spirit is a teacher.
According to Morris (p. 152), "Christ's Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete of the future church, was not a new Spirit but the Divine Spirit itself, invested with a new mission." The Spirit's mission is to teach the disciples "all things." As Morris (p. 656) says, "this "probably means ‘all that you will need to know.'" The teaching centers on Christ.
Wescott (p. 208) writes: "The purpose of the Mission of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Christ, to make clear to the consciousness of the Church the full significance of the Incarnation." Rea (p. 138) comments expand on this thought. He states: "The Holy Spirit would come to teach Christians "all things" (14:26a), everything that is necessary for their salvation and fellowship with God and for the work of witnessing (compare Matthew 10:20; I John 2:27)."
Two, truth is at the heart of all the things that the Spirit will teach. Previously, Jesus said (John 14:6), "'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'" Elsewhere, Jesus identified Himself as a Helper (I John 2:1) and as a teacher (John 13:13). In John 13:13 He said, "'You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.'" Jesus was the truth and taught the truth to the disciples.
Second, the Holy Spirit will help the disciples remember what Jesus had said. Morris writes (p. 657): "Notice that the things of which He will remind them are the things that Jesus has spoken to them. In other words the Spirit will not dispense with the teaching of Jesus. The teaching to be recalled is His. Rea (p. 138) writes: "Part of the promise included bringing to remembrance the very words Christ spoke (John 14:26b), thus explaining how Mathew Mark, Luke and John could write down the actual teachings of Jesus years after His ascension."
The Spirit's teaching obviously includes the illumination and application of what Christ said. According to Westcott (p. 208):
As compared with Christ, the Paraclete fulfils a double office: He teaches and He recalls Christ teaching. His work indeed is to teach by bringing home to men the whole of Christ's teaching. The revelation of Christ in His Person and work was absolute and complete, but without the gradual illumination of the Spirit it is partly unintelligible and partly unobserved. Comp. xvi. 13; I John 11. 20, 27.
Similarly, Keener (p. 979) states: "After Jesus was glorified, the Spirit would bring to remembrance his teachings and works and help believers understand them in light of Scripture (2:22; cf. Luke 22:61) and know how to apply them (16:4; cf. Rev. 2:5)."
Keener (p. 979) makes another point with this comment: "In this context of the paraclete, 14:26 probably means that the Spirit will give wisdom in the hour of testing before the court of ‘the world,' bringing to remembrance the polemic of the Fourth Gospel for use in debates with the hostile synagogue leaders and those influenced by them.
As the Spirit of Truth, the Helper (John 16:13), "'will guide you into all the truth.'" This raises the issue as to whether on not the Spirit is revealing any new truth today. The canon of Scripture is closed, but the Spirit guides into all truth today. We will discuss this issue further in our comments on this verse.
Although the earthly presence of Jesus will be taken from the disciples, they will have another Helper who is the Holy Spirit. This presence of the Spirit assures the progress of Christ's mission and the integrity of the message. Moreover, the disciples can take great comfort from the presence of the Spirit. They will not be left alone, but will have the powerful presence of the Spirit with them all the time.
George M. Flattery
For Further Study
Barnes, Albert. Barnes's Notes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983.
Burge, Gary M. The Anointed Community: The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987.
Hendriksen, William. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1961.
Howard, William F. The Interpreter's Bible. Abingdon Press, pp. 712-713.
Keener, Craig. S. The Gospel of John, Vol. 2. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003.
Lenski, R. C. H. St. John's Gospel. Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1942.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans, 1971.
Rea, John. Bible Handbook on the Holy Spirit. Orlando: Creation House, 1998.
Robertson, A. T. Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vols. 1-6. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930.
Swete, Henry Barclay. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament. London: Macmillan and Company, 1910.
Wescott, B. F. The Gospel According to St. John. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971.
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