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.
In these Jesus deals with a question that would have been in the minds of the disciples, which is, ‘How could they remember everything that Jesus had said to them?’ It is obvious, given the questions that were asked by Philip, Thomas and Judas, that they were in a state of ignorance regarding the meaning of the words of Jesus. He informs them that this would be one of the roles of the Holy Spirit once he had come to them as Jesus’ representative.
A few qualifications must be made regarding this statement by Jesus. First, he does not mean that the disciples are going to become omniscient, that they will literally understand all things. There are many things that Christ’s disciples will not know. For example, they do not know the future or do they know who among the unconverted will become Christians.
Second, Jesus did not entrust the future knowledge of the church to human minds. I suppose we could assume that the best group of people to pass on the message that is about Jesus and was taught by Jesus would be those who had spent three years with him. Undoubtedly, there is a sense in which that is the case. But their experience of Christ in itself was not sufficient. Their testimony is not merely the result of personal reflections on their time with Jesus. The fact is that their knowledge of Jesus is given to them by the Holy Spirit.
Third, while the Spirit is not going to teach all knowledge to the disciples, he is going to teach them everything that Jesus had taught them. This is a warning to us not to divide the various teachings of Jesus into primary and secondary matters. While it is the case that a person can be saved without knowing everything that Jesus taught, it does not mean that we can dispense with any teaching that he gave. The same can be said about the entirety of God’s Word.
The denial of this truth can be very subtle. There are individuals who prefer doctrine over against practice and there are those who prefer practice as over against doctrine. A person may like to discuss deep doctrine but fail to visit a lonely believer; such a person is ignoring the necessity of obeying the ‘all things’ of Jesus. On the other hand, a person may engage in works of mercy and never take part in learning the doctrines of the faith. That person has also failed to obey the ‘all things’ of Jesus.
This statement of Jesus is a description of a spiritual or Spirit-filled person. It illustrates for us the meaning of a balanced Christian life.