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  • Brad Swope

The Holy Spirit: God's Agent of Change

On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus spent one final evening with his disciples around the Passover table. John captures the evening for us in John 13-17. It is perhaps one of the more important sections of scripture, as Jesus downloads vital things that his disciples would need to know in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. That time included the Lord’s supper, his commandment to love each other as he loved them, an invitation to abide in him, and his high priestly prayer—among other things. But this is also the time Jesus openly discussed how he will not be with them that much longer.


In John 13:33, he flatly states, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.” But then Jesus comforts them by describing the new way the Father would care for them in John 14:15-20. The Holy Spirit was not a new idea to the disciples. One might say they knew the Spirit had always been the agent of change when God acted. But here, Jesus signals that the role of the Spirit will increase in the days to come, in fact, Jesus says that this new arrangement was preferable to him staying on earth in John 16:7. At that same time, Jesus told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they’d been “baptized” by the Holy Spirit.


The disciples did what Jesus asked—for 10 days after the ascension, a small band of 120 dedicated followers, had gathered daily to pray and to wait for what Jesus had promised.


During the feast of Pentecost, God poured out his Spirit just as Jesus had promised, as we see in Acts 2:1-4. On Pentecost, we pause to reflect on why God poured out his spirit as he did, identifying three crucial roles of the Spirit in God’s redemptive program. As we see what the Holy Spirit does, we will find ourselves deeply grateful to Jesus for sending us the Spirit for all the things the Spirit does for us.

  1. The Spirit is the truth bearer whose job is to testify and reveal God’s truth to humankind. (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)

  2. The Spirit brought about the birth of the church. (Acts 2:2-4)

  3. The Spirit has the responsibility to transform his people from the inside out so that they can become his mature followers. (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Ephesians 3:16, John 14:26, Ephesians 1:17)

That leaves only this last question: How can we interact more with the Spirit?


Luke 11:9-13 says to ask for more of the Spirit. As you ask for more of the Spirit’s guidance, you then must watch for the Spirit’s prompting. One of the best ways of capturing what Christian maturity is, is to say it is growing into a conversational relationship with God by the Spirit. We begin to ask, watch for, sense and then respond to the spirit’s prompting in our lives. As we follow the Spirit's leading, our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit.



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