One of the most amazing references to the Holy Spirit and His work is found in the last half of John 14. Of particular note is John 14:16, “And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.”
This commentary emerges from a very tender scene. Jesus is passing His last evening with His friends. They are sharing a meal together. He knows it is the last , but they have not been listening so don’t have a clue. It is, in a sense, a farewell of great proportions for the disciples will not see Jesus again in His same form. As with significant farewells, the one about to leave has in mind the most important things. For Jesus, it is discussion of the Holy Spirit who He promised would come to abide with them after He left.
Jesus’ words do not constitute the first promise of the Spirit’s coming in the Bible. It is worth tracing:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 “I will put my spirit within you.” The effects of this was to be the people would keep God’s laws and statutes.
The prophet Joel promised a grand coming of the Spirit (Joel 2:28, 29). This promise is so grand it lingers in the minds of believers as a vibrant hope. Not only does its fulfillment presage the coming of the Kingdom in its fullness, it predicts all kinds of supernatural activity like dreaming dreams and prophesying. Furthermore, this activity appears to go almost pandemic.
John the Baptist announced the coming of the Holy Spirit when he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. He said that while he (John) baptized with water, the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). It is interesting to note that water and fire are two great natural purifying agents. The Spirit is involved in the purification and re-generation of the heart, so the analogy is fine.
When Jesus told of the coming of the Holy Spirit, John said that the time for the Spirit had not yet come because Jesus had not yet been raised to glory. (John 7:39)
There are two point to consider here. First, in one sense the Spirit had already come, for it was already at work in the world and in Jesus; ministry. In another sense, the Spirit was yet to come. After Jesus left, the expectation was that the Spirit would be manifest in greater presence and power, and the Spirit would abide with believers to the end of time.
We may conclude, then, that the period of time subsequent to Jesus’ departure, is to be seen in a particular way as the age or time of the Holy Spirit. It is astonishing to realize that because of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit, we are more advantaged by Jesus’ absence than by His actual presence.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why is the holy Spirit allowed a freer hand now than before Jesus’ ascension?
- How do you think people can best advantage themselves to the blessings of the Holy Spirit in this age of the Spirit?
- How does the Holy Spirit go about doing His cleansing work?
- In what way shave you experienced the Holy Spirit as Comforter?
- In what ways can people do the work of the Holy Spirit?