Helping you understand the Christian faith
Jesus – no matter what you think of him he is man who has shaped our history and is shaping our future. He was born a Jew in Bethlehem, Israel.
Just before Jesus left this world he said “wait for the gift my Father promised – the Holy Spirit”.
So what or who is the Holy Spirit?
Well the Holy Spirit is another part of God and plays a huge part in our life as we learn to be a follower of Jesus.
You can think about the Holy Spirit as being the presence of God.
Throughout the Biblical narrative we can see that God’s intention was to be with us from the beginning. Once we created separation he continued to work towards restoring that.
One of the first times God’s presence appeared in a tangible way was with the Israelites on their journey to the land God had promised them. The Bible says the presence of God came with wind and with fire and it stayed with them in a place call the Tent of Meeting – where only one person was allowed to interact with the presence of God on behalf of his people.
This pattern continued throughout the Old Testament until King Solomon was building a temple where they created the Most Holy Place to give a permanent place for the presence of God to dwell with them. When this was created the presence of God filled the temple – again with wind and with fire.
The Israelites had hoped the presence of God would remain permanently in the temple – but as the years progressed the temple became defiled by their idolatry and injustice and God eventually purposed that the temple was destroyed.
This bring us to Jesus – who was also called Immanuel – that literally means God with us. Once again God was walking on earth with humanity – but Jesus was still one man limited to being in one place at a time.
Towards the end of His time on earth He started talking about needing to go so that the Holy Spirit can come – and this brings us to a part of the Bible found in Acts chapter 2.
Its here that the Holy Spirit came. Once again the writers describe this moment as the presence of God coming with wind and with fire – but this time – rather than being just about one person and one place – it was for all of us.
Paul wrote in one of His letters that we are now the dwelling place for the presence of God. When we give our life to Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
God always wanted to dwell with his people and through Jesus he has now made a way for this to happen.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit guides us into truth (John 16:13), he is our counsellor and teacher (John 14:26), he leads us (Rom 8:14) and is there for us in times of weakness and prayer (Romans 8:26).
As the Spirit of God dwells within us – our life is a Christian is learning to hear and respond to what he is saying to us.
When John was writing to some of the early churches he said that if we want to be a follower of Jesus we need to live like Jesus lived. Jesus own words were that if we look at his life we will be able to do even greater things than he has done.
When you stop and think about that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Jesus raised people from the dead, healed thousands of people, cast our demons, walked on water, fed thousands of people from a few loaves of bread and some fish, turned water into wine, loved people who were outcasts of society and so much more
But it's because of the Holy Spirit that we can do all the things that Jesus did and more.
Jesus said that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (acts 1:8) – that’s the same power that Jesus had – a super natural power that allows us to live like Jesus in this world.
We have to remember though that the purpose of this, is to point people towards God. We take the presence of God wherever we go.
Jesus called us to go into the world and be his witness and in some ways – if we call ourselves a follower of Jesus and don’t live a life that reflects his power – then what kind of witness are we being?
Describe what you think the Holy Spirit is?
Do you think the Holy Spirit is active in our world today? Why or why not?
Why do you think Jesus described the Holy Spirit as a gift?
What are the parts of Jesus’ life that you want your life to look more like?