John 16:12-16 The Spirit Enlightens!


Jesus was delivering His farewell discourse to the disciples. He informed them that He was going away, but they should not be troubled. Jesus would send the Helper to comfort and encourage them.

The world would be hostile to the disciples. Just as the world persecuted Jesus, so it would persecute them. However, the Helper would confront the world. He Helper would convict and convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Now, in our text, Jesus encourages the disciples by telling them how the Spirit will illuminate them. The Helper, who is the Spirit of Truth, will enlighten the disciples and guide them into all truth. Armed with the truth, the disciples can confront anyone.

One, the Spirit enlightens us by helping us understand and obey Christ.

In verse 12 Jesus states: “‘I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.'” Although Jesus had been with His disciples for three years, He has much more to say to them.

Some things He has not told them because they could not bear them. Here, Jesus may mean that without the coming Helper, they cannot perceive and understand what He says. Or, He may mean that they cannot fully obey the revelation they receive until the Spirit comes.

Actually, both points are true. The Spirit helps us perceive and understand the truth. In addition, He helps us obey and live out the teachings of Christ. Our part is to be fully committed to Christ and to be responsive to the Spirit.

Two, the Spirit of Truth enlightens us by guiding us into all truth.

In verse 13 Jesus declares, “‘But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.'”

The Spirit guides us in the path of truth as well as leading us into new vistas of truth. Another way of saying this is that the Spirit guides us with regard to all aspects of truth. We must consider both commentary on truth already revealed as well as new truth. Indeed, the Spirit of Truth deals with everything that has to do with the truth.

Jesus declared that the Spirit will disclose thing to come. For coming prophetic events, we now rely on the Word of God. While the Word was being written, the Spirit enlightened the authors. However, things to come are not limited to future events. According to Swete, the coming things are:

The things of that great and untried life which was about to open before the Church at Pentecost and to reach its perfection at the Second Coming; the things of the new age, the dispensation of the Spirit; and, less distinctly seen, the things of the more distant future when God shall be all in all.

Three, the Spirit enlightens us by glorifying Jesus.

Jesus declared, “‘He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” The Spirit will glorify Jesus. He does this by disclosing the message of Jesus to the disciples.

Jesus and the Father are united in what they say. Jesus declares, “‘All things that the Father has are Mine.'” What Jesus has is not something apart from what the Father has. What they have together is identical. The Spirit, in turn, takes of what Jesus has and will disclose it to the community.

Four, the Spirit enlightens us by making the presence of Jesus known to us.

Jesus will see the disciples again. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples on various occasions. They would see Him several times before His public ascension, ten days before Pentecost. Now, we look forward to seeing Him again when He returns to earth.

Moreover, Jesus made it plain that the Helper will come to the disciples. On Resurrection Sunday evening, Jesus bestowed the Spirit. He exhorted the disciples to “receive” the Spirit. Jesus imparts his permanent presence through the Spirit. Thus, the Spirit not only enlightens us with truth, but He also makes the presence of the Truth, Jesus Himself, known to us.


Like the disciples, we are confronted with a hostile world. If we had to face this world alone, we would not be able to withstand its opposition. But we do not face it alone. We are enlightened and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth leads us into all truth, empowers to convey truth, and makes the presence of Christ known to us at all times. As a result, we are victorious!

Copyright © George M. Flattery