From Joel to Jerusalem: Jesus and the Spirit
From Joel to Jerusalem: Jesus and the Spirit –
Pentecost Sunday 27/5/05
Bristol Road Baptist
Quote: “If the Spirit was removed from our church today, would we notice any difference?”
Pentecost – from Joel to Acts…
“And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28)
These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…
The promise was that God would send his spirit on all people, not particular people at particular times (Joel 2). But we can’t just jump from Joel to Jerusalem in one theological leap. We get there via the gospels and Jesus. Summed up in John 1:32f:
…John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34
The Spirit on Jesus became the Spirit of Jesus…
The Spirit on Jesus…
The Spirit is particularly spoken of as relevant to Jesus at some key points in his life:
1. His birth (Luke 1:35 - The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.). The Spirit is the agent of Jesus birth. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus would never have been born.
2. At His Baptism (e.g. Luke 3:21) When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” The Spirit comes on Jesus at the commencement of his public ministry (v23). Without receiving the Spirit in this way, He could not have conducted his ministry.
- His temptation. (e.g. Luke 4:1f) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Immediately after the Spirit descends on Jesus, the Spirit leads Him to the desert for a time of testing (by God) and temptation (by Satan). The presence of the Spirit is not simply about encouragement (“You are my Son… with you I am well pleased”) but also about testing as preparation. (Lesson for you?)
4. His ministry (e.g. Matthew 12:28 if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.). Jesus ministry was one of ongoing spiritual battle in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now of course Jesus’ life and ministry was unique, but I think it is still appropriate for us to note the fact that if Jesus was so reliant on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit both for his earthly life and the ability to do what his Father had called him to do, how much more you and I! We’ll come back to this in summary when we’ve looked at the other part - the Spirit of Jesus.
The Spirit of Jesus…
Let’s come back to our text in John 1:33-34
‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
There is a very important issue here with respect to the spirit being the Spirit of Jesus.
Notice John writes, “he will baptise with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is the one giving/baptising. Recall Jesus said to the disciples before his ascension, in Luke 24:49,
49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Jesus is the one dispensing, giving out the Holy Spirit. That is very significant. As you might expect, in the OT only God gave his Spirit. The Spirit was given at particular times and places for particular tasks. At Pentecost the Spirit is being given to all people, but is given by Jesus. To Jewish ears this was blasphemy, because only God could give His Spirit, but to the believer this is stunningly encouraging. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Jesus precisely because Jesus is God. That’s why, among other reasons, John writes, back in 1:33-34, I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” The sending of the Holy Spirit proves that Jesus is who he said he was – God incarnate, God with us, God drawing us to himself, God saving us and equipping us. And that leads me to the wider point of the Spirit of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is not just the Spirit of Jesus because he was sent by Jesus but also because he will resemble Jesus.
We see this in the latter chapters of John...
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
For the word counsellor there, other versions of the Bible have “helper” or “comforter” to describe the Holy Spirit. What is significant is that Jesus calls the Spirit another helper/comforter… What Jesus means is “another me”. As we read through Jesus’ words in John it becomes abundantly clear that He and the Spirit bear significant similarities. Take John 14:26:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26
“When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. John 15:26
We could look elsewhere in John and see that both Jesus and the Spirit are said to be Holy and truthful. Both will convince and convict, and both are rejected by the world. So the character and work of the Spirit equates with that of Jesus. The Spirit will be Jesus’ direct representative on earth.
· The fact of Pentecost assures us about Jesus! He wasn’t just a good man with a cosy message. The sending of the Spirit proves to us that Jesus is God. He rises above all the philosophers, all the great teachers and leaders of the world, not only in dying for our sins and being raised from the dead, but by giving the Spirit to help us, comfort us, assure us and empower us. What a great encouragement!
· Because he bears the character of Jesus, we have a yardstick to measure by. John would later write to Christians,
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3
What the Spirit says will always point back to the truth of Jesus. If the Spirit apparently teaches or leads you in a way contrary to Jesus you can be sure it isn’t the Spirit of God. The little wristband WWJD is a good measure of the Spirit’s teaching and leading.
· We must be careful to respond to the person of the Spirit. (He, not a “holy it”!) He speaks: …as the Holy Spirit says…(Heb. 3:7…) He speaks to us. The spirit turns a sermon into a message. I give a sermon, but what is the Spirit saying to you?
· We can learn from the “Spirit of Jesus” that we are in no way disadvantaged by living 2000 years after the action! Sometimes we say and think “Wouldn’t it have been good to see Jesus, hear him preach, be at Pentecost etc…” Because we have the Spirit of Jesus, we have all the help, teaching, comfort, blessing that any believer ever had. In fact, in a sense more. This is the better day because the universal Spirit of Jesus has come into the world. Every continent, every language, every nation can learn about and follow Jesus. All because Jesus received the Spirit and gave the Spirit.
Back to our question, ““If the Spirit was removed from our church today, would we notice any difference?” That’s hypothetical and therefore not the real question…
Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.