Posts Tagged John 14: 16

Immersed

Acts 1: 4 – 5

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

John the Baptist was the voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord,” (Matthew 3: 3). He announced the coming of the Messiah and prepared the way of his coming. “As for me,” he said, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” (Matthew 3: 11).

I don’t know if there is any more misunderstood spiritual directive in the whole Bible as this. I think it may be so challenging, in part at least, because there is nothing physical in this baptism. The practice of water baptism is easy to recognize and follow because there is a physical element involved. Whether a person is sprinkled, dunked or has a pail of water poured over them, we understand the principle involved.

This idea was baffling for the early church believers as well. Even John the Baptist said, “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit,” (John 1: 33). John didn’t know exactly what to expect either, but he knew God had spoken about this new baptism and how to recognize he who would author it. As we see from this scripture, the first phase of this new paradigm was for Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit. God identified the Holy Spirit baptizer to John the Baptist as the one upon whom the Spirit remains.

Fast forward – Jesus has come, gone to the cross, was buried and arose. After his resurrection he appeared to his followers. After greeting them, “He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” (John 20: 22). Are some of the circles beginning to close for you? Jesus has taken us right back to breath. After this he appeared to them again and told them not to leave Jerusalem but rather to await for that which the Father promised. Then he spoke today’s verse. The Apostles were commanded to remain and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

This baptism is recorded in Acts 2, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance,” (Acts 2: 1 – 4). Don’t you find this exciting? It makes me want to shout. Can you picture how elated the Apostles were that day?

This became the new normal for the Apostles. They now had a revelation of what was spoken in the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry. No longer was it theology for them. This baptism in the fire of the Holy Spirit became their reality. Later when Peter was called to minister to the Gentiles he saw the same outpouring of the Spirit on them whereupon he remarked, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 11: 16).

I would fail you if I didn’t include the Apostle Paul. Paul came to understand this new baptism as well or better than anyone. In fact, if you run your search on the Spirit in the New Testament you will get a feel for how well acquainted with the Holy Spirit Paul was. Related to the Holy Spirit baptism, “He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying,” (Acts 19: 2 – 6).

Paul divulges that there is a new baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a free gift from the Father. None the less, there appears to be something required of us. Otherwise, all of these faithful believers would have automatically received the gift when first they believed. When they heard from Paul about the baptism of Jesus in the Holy Spirit, they must have asked to receive the baptism right then because the next thing that happened is that Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them.

This baptism is for all of us too. Our Father promised thousands of years ago that He would pour out His Spirit to every person. No one is left out of the promise. John the Baptist came and prepared the way for Jesus proclaiming that Jesus would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus ushered in the Spirit saying, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,” (John 14: 16). We know that Jesus does not lie and we have the evidence of Acts 2 that He and the Father have fulfilled their obligation. There is nothing left but for us to bathe ourselves in this anointing from God and be showered with the Holy Spirit of God.

Fill ‘er Up!

Ephesians 5: 18

Be filled with the Spirit.

If you thought yesterday’s scriptures and the miraculous acts of ordinary people was something, just wait until the New Testament revelation of the Holy Spirit unfolds for you. We saw from the Old Testament scriptures how the Spirit would settle “upon” individuals. When the Spirit came upon people, they were emboldened and empowered. People who were moments before afraid became great leaders, prophets and miracle workers under the power that came upon them with the Holy Spirit.

The story of the New Testament is quite different though. In the New Testament, a different word appears in the context of the Holy Spirit working with and through people. Whereas the Old Testament regales us with stories of the Holy Spirit being “on” people, the New Testament transitions us to the Holy Spirit “infilling” us. He is now in us rather than upon us. There are only three Old Testament scriptures about someone being filled with the Spirit while there are twelve New Testament scriptures about being filled. Likewise, there are very few New Testament scriptures about the Spirit being upon a person. One notable exception is Jesus.

In Matthew 3: 16 is the account of Jesus’ baptism. When he came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended and alit upon him. Shortly thereafter, Jesus was led, by the Spirit, into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan. Luke’s description of this event says Jesus was “filled” with the Spirit (Luke 4: 1). So, which is it? Did the Spirit alight upon him, as in the Old Testament or did he fill Jesus? I believe the answer is that Jesus, again, is the exception to the rule. Jesus was an Old Testament Jew, but he ushered in the New Testament. In this sense, he was the bridge between how the Holy Spirit interacted with people in the Old Testament and how we are supposed to interact with him now.

At Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit descended and rested upon him. That language is clear and consistent. A short time later Jesus is described as being filled with the Spirit. In the intervening time Jesus bridged the gap between the Old and the New. He was the conduit through which the Old and New Testaments were reconciled. In him, the Father found the unity of paradigms which orchestrated the fulfillment of His promise to Israel, namely, the pouring out of the Spirit.

We have the greatest of all situations in Christ. He told his disciples that it was to their advantage that he depart because in his leaving he would send us another helper who would be with us and in us forever, the Holy Spirit (John 16: 7, John 14: 16). In this new dispensation the Spirit does not rest upon us for a time and then leave. He is with us and in us all of the time. He is as close as your next breath. In fact, you and he can be so intertwined that he is part of your DNA and that is where we want to go.

The Holy Spirit is who made Jesus the miracle worker he was. It was the Holy Spirit which made Jesus so attractive that he could simply say, “Follow me” and people would leave their occupations and follow him. The Holy Spirit was the power of articulation that gave Jesus perfect teachings and wisdom in his speech. How do I know? “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner (John 5: 19). Now, the one who empowered Jesus to do all that he did, is available to us. We can be as intimately intertwined with the Holy Spirit as Jesus was which means that we can be led as Jesus was led and we can do everything he did (John 14: 12).

(See Also: Exodus 31: 3, Exodus 35: 31, Micah 4: 8, Matthew 4: 1, Luke 1: 15, Luke 1: 41, Acts 2: 4, Acts 4: 8, Acts 4: 31, Acts 6: 3, Acts 6: 5, Acts 7: 55, Acts 11: 24)