October 31, 2020
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
What if Jesus is not enough?
If Jesus is not enough, then there must be more. Is this not what he is saying in today’s text?
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you;
Jesus, without the Holy Spirit, is not enough. Or am I missing something? Sure, we can talk about the Holy Spirit’s role to point to and magnify Jesus, but is it not right to say that apart from the Holy Spirit, Jesus is not enough.
It reminds me of that occasion in Ephesus when the apostle Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
Remember what they said? They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).
So here we have a church who believed in Jesus, but who had no idea of the Holy Spirit. The big question is: Were they even the church? Clearly, Paul considered their belief in Jesus as inferior and not enough.
Believing in Jesus is not enough. We must have the Holy Spirit. In the great Apostles’ Creed we affirm, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Do we mean by this that we affirm the reality of the Holy Spirit, or we assent to the truth of the Holy Spirit, or are we placing our real trust in the Holy Spirit?
So what if Jesus had never gone to the Father? What if he had never ascended? What if he were still here in the same sense he was on earth following his resurrection and prior to his ascension? Would we not still remain in an inferior and even incomplete state with respect to our relationship to him? He would be with us, but not in us. And maybe that’s the point I am laboring to make. It is not enough for Jesus to be with us. He must be within us. And without the Holy Spirit, he cannot be within us.
I am coming to believe, as many of you, that the great awakening we long for will not so much be an awakening to Jesus but an awakening to the Holy Spirit, who is the only one who can truly awaken us to Jesus.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who leads us to the Father and who gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you that without Jesus we don’t know you and without the Holy Spirit we don’t know Jesus. Bring us into this holy mystery in an ever-deepening way that our lives might be filled with the Holy Spirit and so witness the reality of Jesus to others. It is in his name we pray, amen.
1. So Jesus is enough, but apart from the Holy Spirit, is he really?
2. Do you believe there is more to knowing Jesus than you presently know?
3. What holds you back from a fuller knowing of and relationship to the Holy Spirit?
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