“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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 have said to you. John 14:25-26
I think I am typical of today’s believer when it comes to the Holy Spirit. I look on Him as a teacher, adviser and counselor. Like many sometimes I am receptive to Him and at other times I may ignore or even shut Him out when what He is saying to me conflicts with what I want to do.
But in the first century when Christianity was starting the Holy Spirit had another task that we can sometimes take for granted today. It was the Spirit working through men that gave us our Bible. Though the disciples had spent nearly every day for three years with Jesus they did not fully understand all His teachings. Also, trying to remember all that was said and done over the three years is next to impossible. These men most likely did not keep a journal and unlike today not every event was recorded.
The Holy Spirit opened their minds so they could recall the events they had witnessed as well as the words spoken by Jesus. Without the workings of the Spirit we would have had incomplete and quite possibly inaccurate accounts of Jesus ministry. Instead we have four accounts that harmonize in relating Jesus ministry to us, the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Wait, you might say, how did Mark and Luke get a memory refresh? They were not with Jesus. Well, early church Fathers wrote that Mark’s Gospel is from peter’s perspective and Luke tells us that he went about gathering the eyewitness testimony and putting it in order. They Spirit was there to guide Mark and Luke also making sure we did indeed have an accurate account.
The Spirit guided and inspired them but each gives us an account based on their own witness. Rather than take away from the message the different accounts speak to the reality of the events recorded. In the Gospels we see the differences we would expect if four different people are relating events they were eyewitnesses to. In eyewitness accounts we expect differences in details due to the different perspective of the individual witnesses. When eyewitness accounts should be questions is when they agree in even the tiniest details. That smacks of collusion, of people getting their stories straight.
The Spirit still works in us today, guiding us toward our eventual destination. Remaking us into new creations. And yes, helping each of us remember what Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit’s mission has not changed, He still guides us and councils us and He helps us remember. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Have a blessed day,