The Gospel Of John — Part 17
May 1, 2010 1499
Jesus and the Holy Spirit
JESUS PROMISES THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus, limited by his human body, could not be with everyone at the same time, so he promised to send ‘another Counsellor to be with you for ever— the Spirit of truth’ (John 14:16-17). God, invisible and unlimited, would replace God, visible and limited (John 16:7). The omnipresent Spirit would come:
- To be the disciples’counsellor forever (John 14:16).
- To teach the disciples everything they needed to know for their mission (John 14:26).
- To remind the disciples of everything Christ had said to them (John 14:26).
- To testify about Jesus (John 15:26).
- To convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement (John 16:7-8).
- To guide the disciples into all truth (John 16:12).
- To bring glory to Christ through making his sacrifice known (John 16:14).
The ministry of the Spirit should never be divorced from the ministry of Christ. The Spirit’s ministry is but the next phase in the plan of salvation— the application of the benefits Christ won by his life and death for all mankind. His work would be primarily through the twelve apostles, counselling them, teaching them, reminding them and guiding them, as they grew in understanding of the truths of salvation.
Slowly, but inexorably, the Spirit led the Twelve to the understanding that the kingdom Christ established by his death, was a spiritual, and not a literal kingdom. And slowly but surely the Spirit led the Twelve to understand that the gospel had to be proclaimed to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Both these issues were major obstacles for the infant Church, but led by the Spirit they overcame them and went on to fulfil ‘Mission Impossible.’
It is a sad fact that new churches grow rapidly under the guidance of the Spirit, but soon become locked into a static state by leaders who wrest control from the Spirit and take over the ‘steering wheel.’ We have seen this in the Luthern Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, etc. No denomination is exempt. The same thing happened within the early Church.
THE WORLD WOULD BE DIVIDED INTO TWO
Jesus went on to say, ‘Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me … he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.’
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’
Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’ (John 14:19-23).
In these verses Jesus points to the great division that would be created in the world by his death; his cross would be a sword that would cleave the Earth in two: Believers in Jesus and non-believers. This was foretold in the destinies of the two men who were crucified with Jesus—two men who typified every person on Earth. They were both great sinners, one repented and accepted Jesus by faith; the other, refusing to repent, rejected Jesus. And, under the ministry of the Spirit, all mankind will be divided on the same basis.
The crucified criminal who accepted the Lord said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:42-43).
By his death Jesus established his kingdom (Paradise) on Earth that very day. His death opened the door to his kingdom for everyone who wishes to be a citizen of it (Rev. 5:9-10), and the repentant criminal became the first to cross the threshold. All believers can boldly enter, because Jesus’ blood has paid the price of their entry (Heb. 10:19-20). There is room there for everyone whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10, 13-17).
A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM
The kingdom Jesus established at his first advent is a spiritual, concealed kingdom. It will become a literal, revealed kingdom when Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven, but until that time—as Jesus told his disciples—the King will remain concealed (2 Thes. 1:7). The world would not see him anymore (John 14:19) until it says, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Matt. 23:39). The spiritual citizens of that kingdom would also remain concealed until they are revealed at the coming of Jesus (Rom. 8:18-19). There are many citizens of Christ’s kingdom among Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Shintos etc., just as there are many non-citizens in churches and cathedrals all around the world. The Day of Christ’s coming will reveal who among the people of Earth are citizens of heaven (Rom. 8:19).
Christ’s kingdom is not a visible place on Planet Earth to which we can go, for here we do not have an enduring city (Heb. 13:14). Christ’s kingdom is life in the presence of the Father and Jesus through the Holy Spirit (John 14:23-24; Heb. 12:22-24). The ‘mansion’ or ‘dwelling place’ for those who love and obey Christ is the presence of God himself. He alone is our tabernacle (Rev. 7:14).
Only those who love and obey Christ will see him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27); the One who dwells in the midst of his people (Matt. 18:20). To the rest of the world he will remain invisible, working through his Spirit on Earth, until he returns in glory.