Dispatch One Hundred Seventy-Four

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Thirty-Eighth Bundle
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JOHN 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

4b “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

What is the primary task of the Holy Spirit according to the New Testament? Before we answer that, let’s back up to ask what the Holy Spirit is up to in the larger witness of the entire Bible. It was the Spirit of God that hovered over the primordial waters of Genesis. The Spirit of God was understood to be the vital principle active in the budding, leafing, flowering, fruiting, pulsing, breathing, and procreating diversity of living things.

On Sinai, it was the Spirit of God that descended in thick cloud and thunder with the commandments for political order and prosperity. Through the prophets this same Spirit spoke words of advocacy on behalf of the poor, orphaned, and outcast. We remember Joel, who envisioned the day when the Holy Spirit would be released upon all flesh, with hope born anew in the hearts of people everywhere regardless of age, sex, or social standing.

As revealed in Jesus, the Holy Spirit was shown to be earnestly searching for a deep and universal faith of the human which was also a fundamental faith in the human, in what the human can become and accomplish in the name of love.

In such broad strokes we can discern a kind of progression in the work of the Holy Spirit through the course of time. Creative energy, vibrant abundance, moral conscience, human compassion, universal salvation, and unconditional forgiveness – there is a clearly observable forward advance to this adventure of the Spirit.

The New Testament itself is ecstatic in the belief that with Jesus (Spirit = unconditional love and forgiveness) history has reached its fulfillment. And although a final and complete redemption is perhaps still a ways off, even now creation and we ourselves groan inwardly from the labor pains of a new day dawning.


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