While Jesus was on earth, He promised that when the disciples were arrested and brought before the authorities to testify, the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say. They would not need to worry about “what to say or how to say it.”
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. – Matthew 10:16-20
At times, the work and role of the Holy Spirit is mysterious in the life of the believer. Because of the mystery involved, we often neglect or fail to grasp the magnitude of what it means that the Spirit of God has indwelt us as believers. For various reasons, some churches are a bit “light” on teaching about the Spirit while of those that place more of an emphasis on the Spirit some misrepresent the work and expression of the Spirit.
This devotional will not be exhaustive or conclusive. I have much to learn about this topic and even if I knew more could not hope to synthesize it in a few hundred words. My hope here is to point us to a few scriptures about the Holy Spirit that will begin to help us grow in our understanding of this marvelous mystery.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” – Matthew 3:1-6
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Matthew 3:11
“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” – John 13:1
This phrase, “he loved them to the end” is powerful. A little later that same night Jesus says,
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13
During the Triumphal entry, this scene occurs when Jesus sees the city.
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” – Luke 19:41-44
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’
He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – Luke 17:5-6
The answer Jesus gives to the apostles’ request seems interesting. They ask Him to increase their faith and He responds by telling them that if they have faith even as “small as a mustard seed”–a very small seed–they can tell a tree to “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” – Luke 15:1-2
Jesus was perfect, but His righteousness did not drive sinners away, rather it drew them towards Him. Those who would not have been accepted by the Pharisees and who would have been driven away by their self-righteousness were welcomed by the only one who was truly righteous.
As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here. – Luke 11:29-32
The sign of Jonah refers to the connection between the three days Jonah was was in the belly of the great fish and the three days Jesus would be in the tomb before He rose from the dead.