When Jesus began teaching, everyone was surprised because He taught with authority, which was not how other rabbis taught. Others made reference to previous views on the Scriptures summed up in sources like the Talmud and the like, but while they were learned, they couldn’t teach the Scriptures like they wrote the words. Jesus did, because He was the origin of it all.
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. – John 3:31-34, ESV
Part of the other issue is that those who were teaching did not have the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, those anointed by God would have the Holy Spirit for a time, but it wasn’t permanent. When that person’s specific role in the Kingdom of God was done, the Holy Spirit would lift from them and they were “normal” again.
John, the Gospel writer, reminds us that this is not the way for those who believe in and belong to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is our seal of redemption for salvation. He is how God marks us for Himself: He does it with Himself. The Holy Spirit is also our teacher and guide. Some folks lament that they couldn’t be like Jesus’ disciples who walked with Him, however, we have God Himself with us in the Holy Spirit. He does not leave us.
Without the Holy Spirit we are no better than anyone else when it comes to understanding and interpreting God’s Word. John draws a distinction between earthly and heavenly wisdom. With the Holy Spirit we have access to heavenly wisdom. John further pushed the point home by telling us that we have access to the Holy Spirit without measure.
Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to be an active part of your life? Are you going to Him with Scripture and attempting to learn and understand it more? Are you turning to Him for guidance and wisdom? The Holy Spirit is what sets the Christian apart from the non-Christian. We must let Him have authority over us. We must let Him lead us.