But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Do you have a good memory? I don’t think I do. I remember all sorts of details related to my life, but I’m pretty sure I forget far more than I remember. That’s why reminders are so helpful. Give me a photo album of my wedding day, and the memories will come flooding back! Show me a cell phone video of my oldest daughter taking her first steps and you might catch a tear rolling down my cheek as I stroll down memory lane.
This past Sunday at Living Shepherd we began the New Year asking ourselves the question, “Why Church?” The answer was simple. “Because we get to hear God’s Word!” But that’s where you might ask the follow-up question, “How do you know the Bible IS God’s Word?”
Now there’s a question! And the answer begins with the memory of Jesus’ disciples—it begins with the fact that Jesus promised his disciples that he was not going to leave them reliant on their faulty memories of all the things he said and did. They were going to receive a much needed—God-given—reminder.
That’s a perspective changer, isn’t it? how often don’t we read the accounts of Jesus miracles or hear him preach as we read the Gospels and think, “Those disciples were soooo lucky! They got to see him do, WHAT?! They heard him preach with their own ears!? It would be soooo much easier to be a Christian if I was in their shoes...”
But then you think it through a bit more. You’ve all gone to school. How much do you remember from the English class you took during your first year of high school? How much do you remember from high school in general? How much do you remember from College? How about from last year? How much do you remember from yesterday? Even if we had the honor—the privilege of witnessing everything Jesus said and did during his time on this earth, would those experiences have made it easier to be a Christian one year later? How about 5 years later? 10 years later? 50 years later?
Jesus understands how human beings work. And that is really Good News. He understands that our memory is scarred by sin and never perfect. The most vivid memories one day may be nothing but faded glimpses the next. So Jesus doesn’t leave the disciples with only memories of their time with Him. Even though they did hear Him teach and preach—even though they were eyewitnesses of his miracles—their God wasn’t about to abandon them. They didn’t have to rely on those memories alone throughout their ministry and for the rest of their lives. God Himself would help them all the way.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The disciples would not be relying on their own faulty memories while they taught and wrote the Word of God! They had God’s perfect memory and His perfect will giving them the words to teach and write!
And that’s just it. Even for those who did get to witness Jesus do all these amazing—AWESOME—things, God didn’t leave them to rely on their own memories as their source of confidence going forward. It’s not as if these men were chosen for their supreme intellect, understanding and long term comprehension. Jesus didn’t choose highly educated scholars to be His first missionaries. He chose fishermen and a tax collector just to name a few. He chose men who wouldn’t be able to draw attention to a lifetime of study or impressive pedigree. He chose men who would have to lean entirely upon Him. Those men were witnesses of the Messiah. They witnessed all the miracles, including His resurrection from the dead. They witnessed all his teaching and heard him proclaim the forgiveness of sins for all nations. And finally, they saw Him ascend into heaven right before their eyes. They saw him as he was lifted up to sit at the right hand of our Heavenly Father; the same place He sits today ruling over all things. The disciples witnessed all those things with their very own eyes. They heard Jesus teach with their very own ears. And with power from God, they passed along a perfectly accurate record just for you and for me! That testimony is so accurate—it’s more credible—more reliable—more relevant than anything you or I can pick up with our 5 senses.
And so as we begin this New Year and ask the question “Why is church a part of our lives?” one of the answers has to be this—TO WITNESS! Every time you come to church it’s one more opportunity where you know you’re going to get to witness something AWESOME! When you hear God’s Word read it’s as if you’re standing right there—witnessing everything God wants you to see. We hear Jesus teach and preach! We see the miracles! We see Jesus suffer. We see him die. We see him rise! We see him ascend into heaven where he sits in glory until that day he comes to take us to be with him!
Blessings on your weekend!