‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you forever.
If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him
and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own;
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you
while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father shall send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.’
Throughout his time with the disciples Jesus taught them. As they grew in knowledge the disciples would also have become aware of how much they did not know about Jesus and the Father. After Jesus left them they must have felt deeply the loss of Jesus as their teacher.
Before his crucifixion Jesus had told the disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit “who will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you”. Because they were not aware of the events that were to unfold, Jesus’ words probably did not have meaning until they recalled them much later.
The words of Jesus are very clear about the role of the Holy Spirit as teacher – the Holy Spirit teaches us. For the disciple of Christ there is a very personalised formation and learning process which is mediated by the Holy Spirit, often without our awareness of the Spirit’s involvement. Life events, moments of inspiration and insight, words we hear and things we see all “work together unto good”, teaching us about Jesus and the Father, eternal life, and about ourselves.
It is the Holy Spirit who is the agent behind our growth in knowledge and wisdom. To understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives we need to take time to reflect upon what is happening in our lives and actively seek to understand what we are learning.
Our relationship with the Holy Spirit as teacher is a two way process – a personalised learning process which shapes us spiritually according to the degree to which we are prepared to interact with the teacher and the lesson. A teacher is most effective with an engaged learner.