Jesus didn’t teach much about the Holy Spirit. But He lived in the power of the Spirit. As He prepared to leave, He instructed His disciples on the Spirit. The greatest transition in ministry was soon to occur.
The disciples felt devastated, but they would not doubt once this exchange took place. So great would be the influence of the Spirit that they would never wish Jesus back. What was Jesus offering in the Upper Room that could supersede His presence?
- LIVE WITHIN US.
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16,17). Jesus had been with them for three years. “With” tells us the relationship of the Holy Spirit to people under the Old Covenant; “in” describes the new, as Ezekiel prophesied: “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees…” (36:27).
The radical benefit of having God choose to live in our bodies cannot be overestimated.
Throughout the Old Testament God had chosen a place to dwell, first the tabernacle, then the temple. When Jesus came, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” If you wanted God, look for Jesus. But now Jesus said that God would be personally present where His people were. The same God who lived at the tabernacle would now be living inside. Radical!
- COUNSEL US PERSONALLY.
When Jesus spoke about “another Counselor,” He used a now famous New Testament word, “paraclete” in English, to talk about a primary role of the Spirit. Means many things: coach, comforter, trainer, helper. The Paraclete goes one-on-one, defending, encouraging, exhorting when we need a kick, and counseling when we need a clear path.
- TEACH US ACCURATELY.
Jesus said that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25,26). No teacher can make that claim. The Spirit has infinite access to information about us, God, the world. We desperately need the Spirit, more than any teacher, pastor or mentor. The Spirit within is always close, instructing and guiding into greater truth.
- MAKE CHRIST OUR CENTER.
Jesus further said that “when the Counselor comes…he will testify about me” (15:26)…He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (16:14). The great mystery of the Gospel, hidden for centuries, but now about to be revealed to those ready to receive it, was: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), made real through the empowering Holy Spirit. “For me to live is Christ.”
- CONVICT THE WORLD.
“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). We were commanded to let our lights shine and allow the Spirit to do the convicting. Good news! This happens powerfully in times of revival, like now!
- GUIDE US EFFECTIVELY.
“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (16:13). Our inheritance in Christ includes the guidance of the Spirit: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). We prove our adoption into the Father’s family by the guidance we receive through the Spirit’s internal GPS.
Paul closed his second letter to the Corinthians with this benediction: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!” Grace empowers, the love of God captures us and gives us identity. The fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit makes it all work. Every Christian activity (prayer, worship, outreach, and compassionate care) takes place through partnership between you and the Holy Spirit. Halleluia!