A Guide to All Truth
Text: John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15
Pentecost Sunday, B
“Information is the currency of democracy” Thomas Jefferson (maybe) wrote. The 21 century was hailed as the dawning of the information economy. Where information would be more valuable than manufacturing. But is it true? The sum total of all our species’ information is available to every single person anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. We are drowning in information. Has it replaced the need for material goods or made our democracy better? Obviously not. “Information is not knowledge” Einstein wrote. Or as we Christians might put it: What the world needs is Wisdom, to make sense of the information. Wisdom separates real news from fake news. Opinion from facts. Lies from truth. Understanding and applying the Truth ... that is wisdom. And that is the work of the Holy Spirit for He is the Spirit of Truth.
26[Jesus said:] “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me … 16:13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the 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. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Holy Spirit is sent by the Son ... He is the Spirit of the Son to guide us into all the Truth. The Holy Spirit proceeds not only from the Father, speaking only what He has been given to say, but also from the Son, giving all glory and honour to the Son for His work of redemption. The Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified.
And He is glorified because He is our Guide into all Truth. But the Truth is not always easy to hear. 8And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
The Truth that this world (and us included in it) must know is that:
(v9) it is not righteous but trapped in the worst of sins: unbelief (refusal to trust God). The obvious actions you see time and time again on the evening news, the double standard by which Christians are ill-treated around the world and right here at home, the fact that the solution to every problem we face as a human species involves us doing something that only makes things worse all show that things are not getting better. This world is trapped in sin and spiraling badly.
But so are we, yes even us Christians. When we follow the words of the world instead of the Word of God. When we trust in princes to save us instead of our Lord and Saviour. When we abandon the gifts of God for our salvation and replace them with what exactly? Are we not just as guilty? Maybe more so, for we know better. That is not wisdom but the very definition of foolishness. We need to be convicted of our sin of fear. Convicted of our sin of apathy. Convicted of our sin of unbelief. And that is what the Holy Spirit does through the preaching of God’s Law. Convict, not just in a legal sense, but expose to shame before all with the hope of bringing the world to its senses and to repentance.
For the Holy Spirit convicts people of these truths so that they will no longer be part of the world but become Christ’s disciples
Because the second Truth into which the Holy Spirit must guide us is that (v10) Christ alone is righteous. He alone among us walked blameless before God the Father. He alone never once sinned in a single thought, word or deed. He lived a holy and perfect life - a life of complete Truth – to fulfill God’s Law on our behalf. And having been the spotless Lamb without blemish or defect, He then offered Himself up for our salvation. His glory was the cross, even as it is our shame. His crown is our thorns, His royal bed our tomb.
But then, having done all things necessary, He was raised again to life and comes to us and the whole world with the promise of eternal life in Him. And this Truth changes everything. This one single resurrection fact redefines every piece of information you receive. Suffering is no longer just a bad thing. Death is not an insurmountable thing, this life is not all there is, and the value of every other person takes on eternal implications and joyous possibilities.
And that leads us to the third Truth into which the Holy Spirit must guide us and this world. The knowledge that (v11) everything this world worships is doomed for this world apart, from God, is following one who is condemned and guilty. That is why none of our solutions solve anything. They only make things worse. That is why no matter how much “better” things get the more miserable everyone becomes. That is why the more information we gather the more foolish we seem to become. Information isn’t knowledge and knowledge still isn’t wisdom.
But Jesus Christ is all Wisdom. Jesus Christ crucified, died, buried, risen and ascended ... Jesus Christ coming again in glory from His throne before the Father. Coming again to set all things right. Jesus Christ reclaiming what is His own by love and by blood. That is the truth into which The Holy Spirit must guide us over and over and over again. And He does it through the words of the prophets and apostles and the Son of God Himself. He does it through Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. He does it through the Means of Grace in the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Christian Church.
And all that the Spirit does to guide us into that Truth is not a promise of new revelations, but the promise that we Christians, like the Apostles before us, will finally understand how Christ’s death and resurrection apply to Church after Pentecost and in the time of pandemic. A clearer understanding of God’s Truth as we make our way joyfully and contentedly into His future.