Holy Spirit reveals Christ, empowers us to know Him and through this knowledge change attitude, desires and feelings to live His life and reflect His glory and perform His deeds.
“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” (Acts 3:6) is the gift that Apostle Peter offered to the beggar, who was born lame, at the Temple gate. As a result of this gift “he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the Temple with them- walking, leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8). Apostle Paul and Barnabas, healed in the similar manner, a cripple from his mother’s womb, in Lystra and the priest of Zeus, the local deity, urged people to offer sacrifices to them on the plea “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men” (Acts 14:9-15). How could a person, lame from birth, be healed in a moment and that too by ordinary men?
“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father” (John 14:12). Once we understand the power in which Lord Jesus performed all those miraculous deeds, we may be in a position to claim application of this verse in our lives. The Lord did not need to repent of any sins, yet He went for baptism to John the Baptist to ‘fulfill all righteousness’ and then John saw “the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:15-16). It is only after this event that the Lord commenced His ministry work.
In Genesis also just before the creative process starts “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” and God’s command the entire process of creation on the earth proceeded smoothly. The Holy Spirit is the flowing out of the power of God to implement the Divine wishes and it is only in this power that all authority flows out. In the Old Testament period, the Holy Spirit phase was “on the individual” and in the sinful man the Spirit of God was external to him. Thus whether it was Samson, Elijah or any of the other prophets, the Spirit of God was always poured out on them. This could only change after the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, since redemption from sin was achieved for man and in this new man the Spirit could dwell in him.
This power of the Spirit is, the very presence of God, and is omniscient. As per God’s eternal plan the chosen ones are led to Christ Jesus by The Spirit to know Him. After His resurrection the Lord during His first encounter with the followers “He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Later, however, He commands them “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which he said, you have heard from Me. For John baptized you with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). What is the mystery in that He breathed on them and still asked them to ‘tarry in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit?
As at the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends on us and the promise of ‘eternal life’ is fulfilled with the fruit of the tree of life- Christ Jesus is planted in us, in our spirit. This is the first stage of anointing in the Spirit. The sinful nature of man is not changed and he continues in his life as before, the only difference being the Holy Spirit pointing out the sin. The seed has to be carefully nurtured through regular fellowship for it to take root, to have a deep root and grow. At Baptism we are planted into Jesus and He in us, through meditating on the Word, the roots take form giving stability. At Pentecost, all those gathered “were all with one accord in one place” and ‘the sound of a rushing mighty wind filled the whole house’. This is the “Empowerment phase” and the second stage. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given by the Lord, as required for His work, to each individual working for His kingdom.
All the gifts given to man are for glory of God and the Psalmist is clear “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). The gifts of the Spirit are for Divine glory, for man is an ambassador of God, representing Him on the earth. From this second stage, man through further maturity moves towards exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. The transformation process of man into Christ’s image and likeness is the result. This is the third stage where ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ starts getting manifested and from inward looking of self glorification, the evident change is on building up others.
The fourth and the final stage of empowerment by the Holy Spirit is total focus on Christ and every other thing becomes secondary. It is in this stage that Paul declares “what things were gain to me, these I have counted as loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7). He counts his lineage, training under Gamaliel and being a Pharisee of no value before the knowledge of Christ. John the Baptist simply states the superiority of Jesus “whose sandal I am not worthy to loose”. John, being filled with the Spirit has attained that phase of spiritual growth where he says “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This is the stage of oneness with God that our Lord has prayed for “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us” (John17:21). The oneness then places the heart, soul, mind and body; all of a person himself at the disposal of God in tune with His will to do it and to glorify Him.
The power of God leads us then to be sincere in all relations- be it earthly relations or heavenly. Apostle Peter had disowned Christ but after being filled with the Spirit was ready to face punishment for preaching the Good News. Yet in Antioch, he fears the condemnation of Jews and “before certain men came from James, he would eat with the gentiles, but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision” (Galatians 2:12). At another stage of his life after deeper roots having been established, this same Peter assures “resist the devil, and he will flee” for the power working is not ours but the Lord’s, for he had now attained that level of confidence in this power.
This stage then leads to the feeling in Apostle Paul “to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:22). His surrender to this unity with Christ is finally complete when he asserts “I am already being poured out as a drink offering” (2 Timothy 4:6). The fine floor and wine, presented with the animal being sacrificed, were only as accompanying the main sacrifice and in their own self, they had no significance. Paul submits himself as only an accompaniment to the main atoning sacrifice of Lord Jesus and accepts his own insignificance before Him.
It is in this togetherness that the revelation to Apostle John about the Lord’s kingdom and future coming are directly shown and he could keep those things secret what was not to be written about. Then there is no self, no ego, no gain or loss, no power and no gifts but just the reflection of the glory of God. There is no condemnation of anyone not even Satan and Jude could reveal “Yet Michael, the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said ‘The Lord rebuke you” (Jude :9). In that oneness there is forgiveness and forgetting, rather seeking of blessings for the persecutors.
Christ Jesus is keen to have this level of fellowship with us, ready and “knocking at the door” to eat and share with us, to empower us to do ‘greater works’.
What more can God do? Are we ready?