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The Promise of the Holy Spirit – John 14:15-31

This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.

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“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 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. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here. John 14:15-31 (NKJV)

One of the hallmarks of the Gospel of John that distinguishes it from the other gospels is the in-depth discussions of the Holy Spirit. All the gospels mention the Holy Spirit, but none of them provide as much insight as John.

In my book from the Holy Place Series Understanding the Holy Spirit, I described the significant gap in our modest approach to the Holy Spirit today compared to the central priority the Holy Spirit held in the church of Acts and these final words of Jesus. Too often, we think of the baptism Holy Spirit as a collection of manifestations, signs, and wonders, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Jesus is not talking about miracles or signs and wonders in this passage. He is talking about experiencing and revealing the nature of God.

When Jesus presented the Holy Spirit coming upon us, He linked the significant event with loving and obeying the commandments of Christ (v. 15), an intimate relationship with God (v. 18 and 20), the love of God and revelation (v.21), understanding (v.26), and peace (v. 27). He described a new way of life that the Holy Spirit could usher in once the cross and resurrection were complete. This new way of life is called the Kingdom of God!

Along with the misplaced low priority given to the Holy Spirit in the lives of many Christians today is a misunderstanding of what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means. While the New Testament describes many visible manifestations associated with the Holy Spirit, that was not the key focus of the early church. The Holy Spirit empowered believers to see and live life differently. They could operate from a spirit-centered reality rather than a flesh-centered reality.

I like the way the New Living Translation translates these words of Jesus in verse 17

He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:17 (NLT) 

The arrival of the Holy Spirit meant the world split into two people groups, those who looked for Him and those who did not. Those who saw the will of God and those who did not care about the will of God.

This new operating reality for the followers of Christ means the Holy Spirit gave them direct access to the heart of God to learn how to live. Connected to that knowledge and understanding, they could obey and grow in light and life and manifest the ways and nature of God.

As the world gets darker, the Kingdom of God gets brighter because of the presence of the Holy Spirit!

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JB Shreve

JB Shreve is the host of the JB Shreve podcast and the End of History podcast channels. He is the author of multiple books.

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