John 14:26 King James Version (KJV)
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This is one of my favorite verses. I imagine the three and a half years of Jesus’ earthly ministry and how confused the apostles must have been during that time.
The apostles were Jews. They’d grown up in Jewish homes, reading the Torah and hearing the stories of the great prophets. They weren’t scholars, but even fishermen knew their Torah. They were looking forward to the coming of a great Messiah who would restore Israel. The first Messianic prophecy in the Bible is in Genesis 3:15 where God warns Satan that the Messiah was going to “crush his head”. There are prophecies throughout the old testament about the savior who was coming and he was going to be a KING. So, what did the Jews of the time think of when they thought of a King? David, perhaps? Or even Saul, who was a mighty warrior. At the time that Jesus was born the Jews were under the thumb (fist, even) of Rome and how they looked for that Messiah to come who would come with a mighty army and overthrow Rome!
Did Jesus come with a mighty army? Not so much. Here was this son of a carpenter who came preaching “love your enemy” and he was being called Messiah? The apostles followed him, and I think they hoped that as time went by he would start to rally an army or something and fulfill the prophecies they were longing to see come to fruition. Mind you, there are also prophecies in the old testament about the “suffering savior” that would be crucified, but I think they suffered from the same thing that we suffer from today – selective hearing. The selective hearing probably also kept them from really processing some of the things that Jesus said to them; that he was going to suffer and die for them, and that the Father would send the Great Comforter to be with them always.
Jesus told the apostles that it was better that he should leave – because then the Holy Spirit could come. Jesus, in the flesh here on earth could only be in one place at a time, and only with the finite number of people who were physically there with him. The Holy Spirit, however, could be everywhere, with all people who would accept him. Jesus spoke of this Holy Spirit not as an it, but as a him. He’s the third person of the Godhead. Does he have a name, like the Father is called Yahweh, and the son is called Jesus? If the Holy Spirit does have a personal name, it’s not something that we know right now. Jesus, before his earthly, flesh incarnation was known by other monikers, such as “the Word of God” and “The Angel of the Lord”, for example.
I often demonstrate the idea of the Godhead by using an egg. It’s an egg. But how many parts does a single egg have? Three. The shell is like the Father, holding everything together. The yolk in the center is like Jesus. The egg-white in the middle is like the Holy Spirit. One egg; three parts. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Word has been around since the beginning. In the Creation story – Genesis 1:2 – we see that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. All through the Old Testament we see the Spirit of God moving on people – King Saul, for an example when he began to prophecy. But, it isn’t until Jesus begins to speak of him in the New Testament that we start to understand that he’s a person who can comfort, and can teach and can remind. He always points back to Jesus in all that he does. He comforts, but he also convicts. That feeling we get when we’ve done something wrong? That’s the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit give us power. During Jesus’ ministry here he garnered only a handful of true followers. When the apostles had the power of the Spirit at Pentecost, Peter – who had denied Christ three times – spoke, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and converted three thousand people!
When we give our lives to Christ, we’re baptized with water, and with fire! We’re baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit comes to live in our hearts. Having a relationship with the Spirit means that he is accessible to us all the time. If we’re doing God’s will, the Spirit works with us in a powerful way. He guides our steps, he gives us the words we need, he reminds us of everything Christ taught.
The Spirit gives us gifts. First Corinthians 12 says this; 4 There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. 5 There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. 6 There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.
7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8 To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.
Again, we see the Spirit referred to here as he.
Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit working in you? I have. Every day. It’s something I pray for more of, every day.
I’ll share a little story or two with you about some pretty amazing experiences I’ve had, courtesy of the Holy Spirit and his gifts to me… tomorrow….