Section 5: The Holy Spirit
Week 3: The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of Jesus
Day 5: The Holy Spirit’s Role After Jesus’ Ascension
The Holy Spirit took an active role in Jesus’ life. Jesus submitted himself to the guidance and authority of the Spirit in order to fulfill his mission. Things changed, though, when Jesus returned to the Father. As Cole puts it, “the bearer of the Spirit becomes the bestower of the Spirit.”[i] Before he left, Jesus told his disciples he would send the Spirit to be with them and empower their ministry. As a result, Jesus’ ascension did not signal the end of his mission. He had come to save humanity. To make that happen, the gospel needed to spread to the very ends of the earth. The Spirit would come to carry on the mission in his stead.
The book of Acts is a testimonial to that fact. Jesus commissions the disciples to spread the gospel and promises the Spirit will come upon them in power. On the day of Pentecost that promise is fulfilled. It is no coincidence the gospel then quickly spreads from Jerusalem to Samaria, Judea, and beyond just as Jesus said it would. We’ll have an opportunity to talk about the Spirit’s work in that regard in more detail next week. For now it’s sufficient to note that the Father sent Jesus to redeem humanity, and with the coming of the Spirit, that mission continues seamlessly after Jesus’ ascension. This fits perfectly with what we know about the Spirit. He brings the plans of the Father and the Son to completion.
Given what we’ve said so far, summarize the Spirit’s role in general?
Does the Spirit’s role help you understand why Jesus would send the Spirit rather than remain here himself? If so, how? Does it give you confidence to know that the Spirit is here to carry on Christ’s mission?
[i] Graham Arthur Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Wheaton: Crossway Books (2007), Ch. 8 eBook.