Wouldn’t it be great to have Jesus standing right next to you and walking by your side every step of each day? I know that Jesus is alive, and He promised to never leave or forsake us; but I am talking about physically, in the flesh, having Jesus right here with us! Wow! That would be amazing. Imagine how much easier it would be to not participate in things we know are wrong. Imagine how encouraged our churches would be if Jesus showed up as a special guest speaker. Remember the “WWJD” slogan? If Jesus was still in human form and walking with us, we could just ask Him what He would do! What could be better than having Jesus right here with us?
Jesus’ disciples must have been thinking the same thing in John 16 when Jesus started talking about going away. As they are trying to register all of this, Jesus says, “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don't, the Advocate won't come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you” (NLT).
Who is this Advocate? In other translations, He is called the Helper or Comforter. If we look earlier in the book of John, we find out who Jesus is talking about: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth” (John 14:16-17a).
This Advocate is the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus is telling His disciples that He needs to leave so that God can send the Holy Spirit to the disciples. And He tells them that it will actually be better for them to have the Spirit of God than to have Jesus walking with them. Jesus says later, “…when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26).
One of the last things that Jesus instructs His followers to do is to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luke 24:49).
And so, on the day of Pentecost, a group of Jesus’ followers gathered together, and the Holy Spirit comes in with the sound of a mighty rushing wind. The Holy Spirit enables them to speak in other languages. There were people from all around the nation who spoke different languages; but through the Holy Spirit's power, they were able to understand what Jesus’ followers were saying!
Peter, one of Jesus’ followers, stood up and spoke to everyone about Jesus; and through the Spirit’s power, testified about Jesus, just like they were promised. Peter told about how Jesus was crucified, buried, raised to life, and is now sitting at the right hand of God. He showed how Jesus was the real Messiah Whom they had been looking for. He told the people to leave their own agenda of selfishness, and be baptized so they too could receive the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:14-41).
This day was the start of a gathering of people who would represent Jesus on this Earth. They would be called His Body. They would act as His hands and feet. They would be His witness to a world who was still looking for the Messiah. And all of this came through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 12, we read about gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to people. In verse seven, we are told that He gives us gifts “so we can help each other.” This chapter tells us that these gifts vary greatly. Some people have some gifts while others have other gifts. It tells us that the gifts are as diverse as the people who make up the Body of Christ. Just like our body has many parts (they do not all serve the same function), the Body of Christ is made up of people who have varying gifts from the Holy Spirit. But the purpose of the Holy Spirit still remains the same—to build up the Body and to be a witness for Jesus.
Are you in the Body of Christ today? Do you desire the gifts promised by Jesus and delivered by the Holy Spirit? If so, why? Do you desire them to be a witness for Jesus? Do you desire them to build up the Body of Christ? Just as 1 Corinthians 12 opens when introducing the gifts of Holy Spirit, “I don’t want you to misunderstand this.”
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come. He promised that the Holy Spirit would be better for us than having Jesus walking right beside us. These things are all true and we should desire these gifts. Not only should we desire these gifts, but also the power of the Spirit that was promised to us. Romans 8:11 tells us, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
It is God’s desire that we live as a testimony to Jesus. It is God’s desire that we build up the Church—the body and earthly representation of His Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit can help us, comfort us and empower us so that we can help, comfort, and empower others. All this is for the Glory of God!
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” -- Ephesians 3:20, 21
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