Cultural Jesus · Interpretation · Understanding

What Jesus Probably Didn’t Mean – John 16:13-14

Decades ago, when I was just a youngin’ in the Lord, I was befriended by a mature believer. Golly, it was so long ago, I forgot his name, and yet his witness has stuck with me.

He was a safety shoe salesman, hocking his wares from construction site to construction site in a large panel van. He covered an immense geographical region, and was often on the highway. As we got to know each other, he would find me occasionally reading my little New Testament, and would speak of his experiences with God.

One passion Frank had (let’s call him Frank), one passion he had was to speak in tongues. Now remember, I was very young in the Lord, and primed for any teaching. I had little to no discernment and found I gave men much freedom in their influence over me. (In other words, I didn’t test the teaching like I am instructed to!). I was entranced by his witness, listened to his stories and enjoyed his friendship very much.

Frank would drop by and tell me glowing stories of the Lord personally teaching him mysteries that were modern day messages directly from God, directed for him, and all he could reach. He was so charismatic (I mean that in both his personality and theology), it was hard to not be swept away with the excitement.

Until he spoke of a time he was driving down the 401 (North America’s busiest freeway), between Windsor and London Ontario, and he was “slain in the Spirit”. Wow! What does that mean Frank?

He described the rapturous utterances he spoke, of his shaking uncontrollably, and of his visions. His visions, that required his eyes to be closed. While on the busiest highway in North America. While travelling 100 km/hr. In a large panel van!

Golly. Something just don’t sound right!

He spoke of the Spirit guiding him into all truth and of the mysteries the Spirit was revealing in the last days, of the Spirit working through the gift of tongues to bring about revival and renewal, of the Spirit Spirit Spirit.

Enter George.

I have spoke of this fine believer in an earlier post. (See Story Time – Christian Accountability – Obey) During one of my visits with George, he spoke of a “shy” member of the Trinity, a member of the trinity that seeks to be in the background. What heresy am I hearing now? Golly, what is a young believer to do with so many influences?

George wasn’t in the habit of telling me magnificent stories of personal revelations, of visions and utterances. He simply sat down with me, and opened up the Word to the following passages.

“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. – John 15:26

13 When 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. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-14

George looked at me, and spoke of the witness of the Spirit to be of Jesus, not of the Spirit. Whoa – coming from my time with Frank, it only made sense that the Spirit would speak of itself – how could we as believers not admit the message, visions and utterances were not from the Spirit? Why, that is simply logical, reasonable and popular!

But George challenged me with the written Word, and not with his feelings or his personal testimony in this area of faith.

Did Jesus want us to focus on the Spirit of truth? Is His message to His followers to focus on the Spirit, or to judge the source of the message by the content of the message. In other words, if it bears witness to the Savior, and glorifies Him, it is from the Spirit. The Spirit is the “shy” person in the Trinity, seeking to show off Jesus, and not Himself.

Golly, even though the Spirit has the authority of the Godhead, Jesus reveals that He (the Spirit) will not speak of His own authority. During this age of the Body of Christ, the Spirit mimics Jesus’ self humiliation while He was on the earth, and steps back from any attention grabbing, in order for all the glory to go to the Risen Savior.

My friend – consider your focus, who you are looking to. Looking for the gifts of the Spirit is misdirected, has caused trouble in the church before and will cause divisions in the Body today. It is abundantly clear in the written Word, that the Savior is the Lord, and that as we look to Him (and no other) that we will understand His will and know the truth.

But be warned. To walk as He walked includes a humility and servanthood that is not popular amongst many in the church, many who are supposedly providing glorious messages that God personally provides to them. Those who provide messages directly from God actually become the focus of the message, and the Lord is simply a means to an end for these messengers. I am convinced that the mystical messages are at least a distraction for the believer, for any mystical message that speaks the same as the Bible is unnecessary, and any message that speaks differently than the Word should be rejected.

His message has been given to us. Crack a Bible and read it. Keep your eyes on Him. And let the Spirit do what He desires, and not what you want!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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