Reflections for the Week of Sunday May 20, 2018 Pentecost (Whitsunday)

Gospel: Jn 15.26-27; 16.4b-15. Jesus tells His disciples that He is returning ‘to Him who sent Me’ and Jesus will send the ‘Advocate’ in His place. The Advocate will convict the world of sin because of unbelief; will witness that the Son is going to the Father, and that the satan has been condemned. The Spirit will testify on Jesus’ behalf and lead the disciples into all truth.

This text refers to the Spirit as the ‘Advocate’ which is Latin for ad+vocare–to call to or to call alongside which is the exact meaning of the Greek word ‘paraclete’. The Spirit had been with the disciples during the three years of Jesus’ ministry because Jesus was filled with the Spirit. Now Jesus will send His Spirit to be in the disciples. This will enable the Lord to be with all His disciples and believers wherever they may be, simultaneously. This will fulfill a number of Old Testament prophecies. Jeremiah says He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and will write it on their hearts so they will know the Lord and He will forgive their sins (Jer 31.31-34). Ezekiel says He (God) will clean the house of Israel from all their iniquities and from idols and will give them a new heart of flesh and a new Spirit and will remove their hard hearts of stone (Ezek 36.22-31). Dt 30.6 says YHWH will circumcise your hearts…so that you will love the  Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul , so you may live.’ In Joel 2.28-32 YHWH says He ‘…will pour out My Spirit on all flesh…and it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (cf. Rm 10.13). Thus the gospel promises are fulfilled in that the Lord ascends (Ascension Day, Thursday May 10, 2018) to take His place next to the Father on the throne of the universe, and the Father and the Son send the Spirit to dwell within God’s people. The Spirit transforms His people by the renewing of their minds (Rm 12,1,2) and leads them into all truth (Jn 16.13) and glorifies the Lord Jesus. He brings about the new birth (Jn 3.3-21), gives faith in God (Eph 2.8,9), causes believers to be adopted as children of God and to cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ (Rm 8.15; Gal 4. 6). The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God (Rm 8.16) and ‘if children then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together’ (Rm 8.17). He takes away our sinful status and gives us a new status as saints. He begins to sanctify us by giving us the desire to live lives pleasing to Jesus, so that our present justification (declaration of being righteous members of the covenant family) will enable us to be saved at the Last Day (Phil 1.6) to everlasting life in the renewed heaven and earth with the Lord (Rev 21,22) in resurrection bodies. When the Holy Spirit comes into us, we are given a new quality life which is what is meant by ‘eternal life’, and we are enabled to bear suffering without despair. The Spirit pours out the love of God into our hearts so we can fulfill the great commandment, the Shema (Dt 6.4,5), to love God, and Lev 19.18 to love our neighbors. The Holy Spirit gives us, if we cooperate with Him in seeking them, the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5.22,23)..

Memory Verse: [I, Paul] do not cease to give thanks for you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ , the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Eph 1.16-18).


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