Wednesday, January 29, 2014

He will Bear Witness About Me

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27)
“He will bear witness about me.” This is the job of the Holy Spirit. He points to Christ. He points to the cross. The Spirit is called the Helper, not the Savior. Jesus is the Savior, not merely “The helper.” Jesus is the one who became man. Jesus is the one who suffered the fate common to all man to save them from their worst trouble in life, death. Jesus is the one who defeated death and rose again from the dead for our justification. Jesus is the one who gives us his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. And the Spirit brings us to faith in him. The Spirit bears witness to him, because the Spirit has done none of these things. The Spirit has not condescended to death. I don’t care how many dove laden crosses you see, the Spirit never took on our flesh and died on the cross for our sins. The Spirit honors the man who did. He bears witness about Jesus Christ. And wherever the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, there is the Holy Spirit working and calling by the gospel, creating and sustaining faith and richly forgiving your sins and gathering his church.
Where the gospel is proclaimed, there the Holy Spirit is at work. The odd thing is, that you can speak about the Holy Spirit without proclaiming the gospel, without talking about Jesus Christ and him crucified, and when you do this it is doubtful that the Holy Spirit is there at all. The Holy Spirit doesn’t like to draw attention to himself, because he has been sent to bear witness to Jesus Christ and not himself. The Holy Spirit’s primary task is not to shower us with charismatic gifts of tongues, or healing powers, he doesn’t even come to give us the gift of administration, (which I think might be the highest gift he can give a servant of the church after faith) but to point us to Christ. If other gifts are given by the Holy Spirit they are not given for the sake of giving super powers to people, they are not given to draw attention to him, but so that we might be able to better bear our crosses in service to Christ and one another that through us he would bear witness to Jesus Christ, as Jesus tells his disciples they will do also because they have been with him from the beginning.
They have been with him from the beginning. This could be said of the apostles. It was one of the requirements for being an apostle. They witnessed to what they had seen. The Spirit was sent to help them in this task. Not anyone could be an apostle. They had to be chosen by Jesus Christ for this specific task and the Holy Spirit would then help them to accomplish this task.
So the Holy Spirit is given to us. He isn’t given willy nilly, but in proportion to the task set before us to do the things that God has asked of us that bear witness to Jesus Christ. He is given to us in many and various ways in life, but always in view of pointing to Christ and him crucified, and never to draw attention to himself.

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