Theology 101: Paraclete Promises (Part 3 of 4)comment (0)
June 26, 2014
By Jerry Batson
Having made two references to the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete in John 14, Jesus gave a third Paraclete promise in John 15:26–27. He made a Trinitarian connection by saying that the Spirit would be sent by the Son from the Father (v. 26). This is precisely what Peter explained in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out upon the waiting disciples. “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:33). The exalted Son was pouring out what the Father was sending.
Sent to bear witness
Having earlier assured the disciples that the Spirit would have a teaching ministry, as we saw last week, Jesus added that the Spirit also would have a witnessing ministry. The focus of the Spirit’s witness is Christ. Jesus put it this way, “He will bear witness about Me” (John 15:26).
The Holy Spirit does not seek the limelight. He is among us and within us not to exalt Himself. Sometimes Jesus’ followers elevate the Spirit to a prominence that the Spirit neither desires nor seeks. Rather when we honor the Holy Spirit in His assigned role, we find the Spirit directing our attention to Christ. If we make much of the Spirit, and we should, we will make much of Jesus in our living, teaching and witnessing.
Not only does the Spirit bear witness to Christ, Jesus added, “And you also will bear witness” (John 15:27). The earliest human witnesses were the disciples, who had been with Jesus “from the beginning.” They had watched Him and listened to Him. They had learned from His words and His works. Jesus inaugurated the Church’s human witness through those disciples. The apostles understood their responsibility and opportunity to be Christ’s witnesses, according to the summary description of their work in Acts 4:33 — “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all.”
Not only were the original disciples to be witnesses, every believer is a witness. This is not an option; we are witnesses. The only variable is the kind of witnesses we are — positive or negative, faithful or negligent. Just as the Twelve bore witness to what they had seen and heard, so we are to bear witness to our personal experience with the Savior. Thus Jesus envisioned a witnessing partnership composed of both the human (believers) and the divine (the Spirit). One of the high honors of being Christians is that of being in a witnessing partnership with the Holy Spirit, seeking to call attention to Jesus in order that others may know Him as Savior.
Interestingly the Bible ends with an invitation for people to come to Christ. That invitation must be issued by the human-divine partnership. Revelation 22:17 puts it like this, “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’” The Bride is the Church. The Spirit is the Paraclete promised by Jesus. It is a dual witness that invites people to come to the Savior. The Church cannot effectively invite people to Christ apart from the divine Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will not usually invite people to Christ without the human instruments who partner with Him to say, “Come.”