“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you in all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.”
The Lord Jesus promises His apostles a Helper, the Spirit of truth. This is no ordinary Helper that they will receive, but He “who proceeds from the Father.” A divine Helper will assist those whom Jesus has called to follow Him and those whom He has commissioned. This Helper who comes will have great abilities and specific functions to fulfill.
That is what the Lord Jesus promises to the Twelve in the Upper Room. They hadn’t exactly known why they would need a Helper, since they had Jesus with them. But Jesus says: “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent Me. . . .” Jesus tells His apostles that He is leaving them. Yet during His absence, they still have a commission to obey. So they will have the ability to do this, Jesus sends them the Spirit of truth from the Father.
The departure of Jesus and the commission of His apostles are what the Church has celebrated during the past weeks. You heard Jesus say to the Twelve: “Repentance and forgiveness should be proclaimed in the Christ’s name to all nations, beginning from
The events of Pentecost which the Church celebrates on this day are the fulfillment of that promise. The Holy Spirit arrives to the Twelve, and they are able to do amazing things: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Spirit of truth empowered Christ’s followers, so they could fulfill their Lord’s will. They do what Jesus commissioned them to do. For you heard the response of the Pentecost crowd who experienced the actions of the apostles: “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” The Spirit of truth works in the apostolic message.
That is what the Holy Spirit is all about. He does not empower people for His own glory or to show off His abilities. Jesus says: “He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Spirit’s work is done to accomplish the will of the Father: that people would believe in God the Father and His Son whom He has sent. The Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Life, but ultimately that life is only found in those who have come to believe in the words and works of the Incarnate Son of God. Without such faith, there is no life in people.
How does that life come to people? By the proclamation of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name. And that is how the Spirit of truth has come to work in you. Recall Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit’s operation: “When He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” This is the conviction that has come to you through your reception of the apostolic message of Christ’s words and works.
Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict “concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” So the Spirit has convicted you. His work in the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins revealed your unbelief. As the words and works of Christ were made known to you, there is a realization that you were unbelievers, sinners estranged from the Lord God. That Spirit-given realization allows you to say those famous words of the Catechism: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him . . . .” But as the apostolic message reaches you, that same Spirit of truth calls you to faith in Christ.
Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict “concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer.” So the Spirit has convicted you. His work in the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins revealed your lack of righteousness. As the words and works of Christ were made known to you, there is the realization that you are unworthy, sinful and unclean, again in the words of the Catechism: “We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and deserve nothing but punishment.” But as the apostolic message reaches you, the Spirit of truth reveals to you the truly Righteous One, Jesus Christ,—though you have not seen Him—and makes His holiness your own.
Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict “concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” So the Spirit has convicted you. His work in the proclamation of the repentance and forgiveness of sins displayed your redemption. As the words and works of Christ were made known to you, there is a realization that you were enslaved by the ruler of this world. But now you can say: “Jesus Christ . . . is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil . . . .” As the apostolic message is brought to you, you are given with a new Lord and Master in Christ.
All of this is the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the world. It is what brings salvation to you. That is why Jesus says about the Spirit: “He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak . . . .” The conviction “concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” was not the Spirit’s innovation; rather, it was the application of the truth which God the Father had already revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. The Spirit of truth bears witness about the Son by making known what the Father has accomplished through His Son. This is precisely what Jesus says: “[The Spirit] will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.”
The declaration of Christ’s words and works is what reached the people in
By the proclamation of Christ’s words and works, the Holy Spirit becomes the Lord and Giver of Life for you. What Ezekiel saw in his vision of the dry bones of
Like the bones Ezekiel saw, like the Twelve in the Upper Room, like the thousands in
All this has been declared to you, so that you may be made a disciple and believer of Christ. All this has been declared to you, so that you also may bear witness—“telling in [your] own tongues the mighty works of God.” All this has been declared to you, so that you may receive the full benefits of salvation, as the Lord God states definitively: “You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.” So the Lord God has spoken, and so the Helper, the Spirit of truth, has made known for you to believe on this Day of Pentecost.
T In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.