This Sunday, we went back to John 14:16-18, before Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit first came upon the disciples), to when Jesus first promised His disciples the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Little understanding of the Holy Spirit can cause dryness in the spiritual life of the church, but from the passage in John we understood the functions of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is what allows us to speak to the hearts of the people (when someone preaches, they definitely wouldn’t be able to do so without calling on the Spirit). We know from reading forward from John that the Holy Spirit would finally come upon the disciples at Pentecost. And like the Ascension of Christ, there are three reasons as to why we still celebrate the Pentecost.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit (v16)
Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come as a comforter; in Hebrew, it’s ‘paraclete’ (and in Greek, ‘parakletos’), meaning called alongside. Like how a pair of soldiers would go into battle, watching each other’s backs, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come to us as a comforter in the same way that Jesus was a comforter to all when He was on earth. We can actually know from comparing 1 John 2:1 and John 14:16 that both Christ and the Holy Spirit are our advocates (Jesus, our advocate in Heaven and the Holy Spirit, our advocate in our hearts). What’s most important about this promise is that this same promise for the early church is promised to today’s church.
The Person of the Holy Spirit (v17a)
When Jesus describes the Holy Spirit to the disciples, He uses personal pronouns, declaring that the Holy Spirit is a personal being; a person (if we define person as someone with a mind, emotions and will). The Holy Spirit too had a mind (Romans 8:27), emotion (one example in Ephesians 4:30) and will (1 Corinthians 12:11). So it’s not a question of, “how do we attain the (Holy Spirit as a) force?” But, we now ask, “how can He (the Holy Spirit) use us?”
The Presence of the Holy Spirit (v17b)
Finally, we know that the Holy Spirit has existed from the very beginning. In the Old Testament, some people carried special responsibilities to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. But we know that the Holy Spirit could withdraw itself from those certain people (Psalm 51:11 and Judges 16:30). In the New Testament, post-Pentecost, we know that the Holy Spirit abides in the church and in the individual (John 14:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19).
So, we believe that there are many reasons to celebrate the Holy Spirit. But perhaps the thing that is most worth celebrating is that the very same power that raised Christ from the dead can be at work today in our church and our lives (1 Peter 30:18).
Dear our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
Thank You that You came down to the Earth; that You died and rose again; and that You promised Your people the Holy Spirit. Thank You for bringing us a comforter, an advocate and a spirit of truth to be with us until You return again.
In Your mighty Name,