Section 5: The Holy Spirit
Week 3: The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of Jesus
Day 3: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Jesus’ Ministry
As we saw yesterday, the Holy Spirit was at work throughout Jesus’ entire life. But the Spirit’s power was probably most evident in Jesus’ public ministry. Through the Spirit, Jesus was able to preach with a power and authority the people had never heard before (Mark 1:22) and to work miracles they had never seen (John 9:32). As the power behind Jesus’ ministry, the Spirit could have drawn attention to himself. But he didn’t.[i] The Spirit’s role is to bring God’s plans to completion. And because God’s overarching plan is to bring all things under Christ (Eph. 1:10), the Spirit doesn’t want the attention focused on himself. He wants it focused on Christ.
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George buys a Calzone. After paying for it, he drops some money in the tip jar. The guy behind the counter turns away at exactly the same time though. If money falls in a tip jar but no is there to see, does it count as a tip? George doesn’t think so. So he tries to fish the money back out of the jar, gets caught, and winds us being banned from the restaurant. Why would George do such a thing? He wanted credit for the tip.
Too often we’re George. We want to get the credit, even when it comes to ministry. I hope you’re getting something out of this study, for example. But I confess there’s a part of me that wants you to say, “Wow! He’s so smart. So witty. So handsome.” (Can you even tell what a person looks like just by reading something they wrote?) Such concerns shift the focus onto me, though, where it doesn’t belong.
From our perspective, we probably feel bad for the Holy Spirit. Shouldn’t he get some of the attention, some of the credit? But he doesn’t care about that because he knows, in God’s overarching plan, it’s not about him getting the credit. It’s about pointing people to Christ. And he happily works out that plan. We shouldn’t feel sorry for him. We should follow his lead.
Read John 16: 12-14
What does this passage say the Holy Spirit will do? When God moves through you, are you ever tempted to take the credit? Part of it? Who does the Holy Spirit ultimately want to get the glory?
[i] Bruce A. Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationship, Roles, and Relevance, Wheaton: Crossway Books (2005) Ch. 5 eBook.