Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Jesus Promises The Holy Spirit

What Happened

During the last week of His earthly life, Jesus knew that he would be betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified. It was all a part of His Father’s plan to reconcile man to Himself. The Gospel of John contains a very long dissertation, in which Jesus talks to His disciples about things that are to come.

Jesus knew His time was short, but He also understood that the disciples would not fully understand. They had grown attached to Him. But Jesus wanted them to know that when He had gone, they would have a counselor to teach and guide them.

Why it matters

God does not leave His people high and dry. Jesus was with His disciples for a short period of time, but he did not abandon them. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, was sent to believers to guide and comfort.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples became Apostles and spread the good news throughout the known world.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, people today continue the ministry of Jesus, doing that which they never imagined they were capable of doing, or making decisions to serve mankind, rather than pursuing a life of comfort and prominence.

Bible Verse

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.

7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

John 16:1-15

Why it matters to you

Followers of Jesus receive the Holy Spirit and, just as Jesus said, the Spirit guides and informs. The Spirit helps people to understand God’s Word. The Spirit brings illumination and meaning to the information in the Bible.

The Spirit helps people discern information and cast aside misinformation. The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages. The Holy Spirit is the gentle hand of God that guides and protects as we follow Jesus.

Description

Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching his disciples personally, to prepare them for the task of carrying on His ministry.

The promise of the Holy Spirit was an essential piece in their preparation, as Jesus encouraged his followers to look ahead, look to the benefit of others, and trust that God would always be there for them and assist in their efforts.

What you may not know

The Holy Spirit had always been involved throughout history. Long before synagogues and churches, long before the written word, long before any formalized practice of faith was established, people had an innate sense that God was there we them and in control.

What prompted and guided Noah when he built the ark? What was it that guided Abram out of his home to a land that God had chosen for him?

Who informed the prophets to make prediction of events that would not happen until centuries after their deaths?

The Holy Spirit was at work from the beginning and in all things of God.

The Triumphal Entry

Jesus enters Jerusalem

What Happened

It was the time for the Passover, so Jesus and His disciples went to Jerusalem. The reception Jesus received was grand indeed, as people spread palm leaves and cloaks over the rode as He entered. The large, cheering crowd welcomed Jesus, who immediately recognized the sadness of the moment and as He approached Jerusalem, He wept in sorrow.

He knew that the city would come to ruin because they did not recognize God’s coming to them personally. By 70 AD the temple would lay in ruins, as the city was completely overtaken by the Roman army.

Why it matters

For a short moment, during a very busy week in Jerusalem, Jesus was greeted as a king. Caught up in the emotion of the moment, people worshiped the Messiah’s entry into the city. This would all change too quickly.

His entry illustrates His true standing as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but the emotional reaction is shallow, like the adulation for a movie star or celebrity.

What matters here is the truth of who Jesus was and is, something that got lost in the shuffle as the events of the week progressed. His entry was triumphant, but by the end of the week, He was tried, beaten, dragged through the streets of the city, and crucified.

Bible Verse

37 When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Luke 19:37-38

Why it matters to you

Interestingly, there were people who greeted Jesus like a rock star of His day and were excited upon His entry into the city, but many of those same people turned their backs on Him in just a few, short days.

Bowing to the political will of the religious authorities, they went from cheering His entry into the city to shouting for his crucifixion. The truth didn’t matter. They got caught up in public opinion and were easily swayed. People today are not any different.

Description

Just as crowds had gathered across the country to see Jesus, they were waiting for Him at the gates of Jerusalem. For those who regarded Him as the Christ, there was cheering and the spreading of palm leafs on the path where He rode into town on the back of a colt.

Shouts of “Hosanna” (acclimation and praise) greeting Him along the way. The triumphant entry did not escape the eyes of the Jewish elite. They wanted Jesus arrested and prosecuted, as they considered Him a huge threat to Jewish laws and traditions.

The Romans were actually not that interested prosecuting Jesus, as long as there was law and order and no disturbances. When Jesus went before the governor Pontius Pilate, the Roman leader could find no fault with Jesus, under Roman law.

But the Jewish elite insisted that Jesus be found guilty. Pilate tried to avoid the miscarriage of justice by offering to let the crowd choose between the criminal Barabbas and Jesus. The crowd chose to have Barabbas go free and shouted for the crucifixion of Jesus.

What you may not know

It was customary for Jews to go to Jerusalem for the Passover and visit the temple to make their sacrifices. The city would swell in population during the week.

Passover was a great opportunity for merchants to make money, selling doves and animals for sacrifice, or changing money at the temple for people who came from distant lands. The commercialization of Passover angered Jesus, who in a fiery rebuke, overturned the tables of the money changers.

In much the same way today, the commercialization of Christmas has all but taken out the true meaning of the birth of the Messiah.

The events of the Passover week were watched carefully by the religious authorities, as any disruption of business would be an expensive inconvenience. They gave His disciple Judas Iscariot 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus and help the guards arrest Him.

Even though Jesus attracted crowds, His appearance, according to the prophet Isaiah, was ordinary. Because He didn’t stand out, they needed someone to identify Him for the authorities.

Sermon on the Mount

Jesus at the sermon on the mount

What Happened

Jesus had been going from town to town in Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and healing the sick. Word traveled fast and crowds would gather. One day, when he saw the crowd gathering, he went to a mountainside, sat down and began to teach.

His disciples were with Him and listened along with the masses. The account is a quote from beginning to end, not a report. Matthew, inspired and directed by God, gave his account.

Why it matters

The Bible is a handbook for the human condition, and in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to the human condition. It was a message for all people, regardless of their walk of life, in all places and for all times.

The sermon brings out the differences between the strict legalism of the Jewish tradition, and the new way of faith and trust in God. God as our Father is highlighted by His sermon.

Jesus knew that he would someday be sacrificed, making this message even more poignant. His gentle, loving invitation for people to come to God is in direct contrast to the harshness of Jewish law.

Bible Verse

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mathew 5:3-10

Why it matters to you

The Sermon on the Mount is about the ethics of the Kingdom, as Jesus talks of purity of heart and the standards of righteousness before God. We are taught the “Lord’s Prayer” in this dissertation and Jesus teaches about God’s Law. It is a gentle, but very clear illustration of God’s expectations.

Jesus tells the people that he has not come to abolish the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. He added that until heaven and earth are gone, every letter of the law is in place. Jesus gives an invitation to ask God and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.

Those who seek God will find Him, but it is an individual journey. Each person has their own, unique relationship to God.

Description

The main thrust of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was to herald the Kingdom of God. Jesus offers eight blessings, known as the Beatitudes, which are later chronicled in the Gospel of Luke.

Jesus talks of his fulfilling the Law, which is essential to man’s chances of being in God’s Kingdom. Man cannot, by his sinful nature, fulfill the Law. Therefore, God had to do it.

Just as God had supplied the sacrifice to Abraham and spared Isaac, God spared man and sacrificed His son. He talks of social issues, such as murder, divorce, taking oaths, caring for the needy, loving your enemies, not judging others.

What you may not know

The writer of this Gospel, Matthew, was writing to Jews, as evidenced by his references to Jewish Law and his using the term “Kingdom of God.” As a tax collector, Matthew was given a quota to collect for the Romans. Anything above that quota was his to keep.

The irony is apparent, as this beautiful Sermon on the Mount is shared by a Jewish outcast, one who was hated by society. Matthew is writing to prove to Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.

Jesus Testifies to the Samaritan Woman

Jesus with woman at the well
Jesus Testifies to the Samaritan Woman

What Happened

Jesus was walking through Samaria and sent his disciples to get food. He went to a well outside the village of Sychar located near the ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. The well was Jacob’s well, and likely more than 1900 years old from the time God created Israel.

It was mid-day and Jesus was tired. He sat at the well. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked her for a drink. (John 4) She was shocked by this, because Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other.

They had an amazing conversation and Jesus told her things about her life that only God would have known. She was completely captivated by his gentle approach to the events of her life.

Excited about the good news He had shared with her, she ran to the village and told everybody about the man she met and his message. That marks the start of Jesus’ public ministry.

Why it matters

The good news that Jesus preached was not exclusively for the Jews. He took in the undesirables, like a tax collector and a Zealot, but his message was for the world. No matter what the circumstance in someone’s life, Jesus showed the way into God’s Kingdom.

The Jews and Samaritans were enemies, so a Jew would not talk to a Samaritan, let alone minister to them. But Jesus chose the woman at the well to bring his message of salvation to the Samaritans.

That same message would later be carried to all nations, all types of people. God cuts through all the insignificant details that separate one person from another, and unifies.

Bible Verse

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

John 4:7-10

Why it matters to you

The woman at the well was an outcast. She had five husbands and was living with a man. She was at the well at mid-day when no one else was there because it was so hot. Most of the women would go to the well in the morning, but she was an outcast among her own people. She went alone.

The message Jesus gave her was so liberating and so exciting that she ran back to town and told everybody. There is no social situation that God cannot overcome. In God’s Kingdom, there is no separation, no social strata. She was a part of the community again.

Description

Jesus cuts through the life history of this woman and gives her “living water” that will never cause her to thirst again. It would have been very strange for a Jew to talk with a Samaritan.

Jesus began his conversation with her by asking for a drink of water. He then got her to open up to him and tell of her husbands and of the man she was currently living with.

Throughout this amazing conversation, Jesus never rebuked her, scolded her or judged her. He shared the message of salvation with her, and openly identified Himself as the Messiah, something he had not shared with anyone, publicly, to that point.

What you may not know

Samaritans are Semitic people, like the Jews, only separated by political and social barriers. Samaritans only red the first five books of the Bible and rejected the prophets. Israel had been divided in two. Of the 12 tribes, 10 were in the north and 2 were in the south, the south was called Judah.

Samaria was the capitol of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 12). There was animosity and war. The people of the north would no longer travel to Jerusalem to go to the Temple because Jerusalem was in Judah.

Northern resident had set up their own idols. When the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, the Samaritans were their adversary in their attempts to rebuild Jerusalem. That was a source of great hatred. Jews called the Samaritans dogs and half-breeds.

This is what makes Jesus’ choice to begin his public ministry with an imperfect woman from Samaria so interesting and meaningful.

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

Jesus with Disciples

What Happened

After being tempted in the desert, Jesus began his public ministry. There was no mass communication at the time, no newspapers, television or internet. Jesus needed to assemble a team to do the work. He called poor working men for the most part, men who were not educated or well connected in society.

They may not have been the most qualified, but they were willing to follow. They were “teachable” and eager to learn. His first two disciples were Peter and his brother Andrew, who were working at the time, casting their net into the lake (Sea of Galilee).

The brothers dropped what they were doing and went with Jesus. Others would follow as word got around. Jesus would hand pick these men and did so according to the plan of God the Father.

Why it matters

People are often reluctant to serve God by being an active part of a ministry. They do not feel qualified. Jesus said “follow me” and communicated rather effectively that this ministry would be about Him and not about the abilities or inabilities of his followers.

It was an invitation for seemingly insignificant men to be a part of the greatest movement in human history. God’s unfolding plan was coming to it’s most dramatic chapter and regular people, ordinary men and women, would follow the plan. God was in control.

It was all by design. Most of them were willing followers, but did not understand what was really going on. Some doubted Jesus. Still another would betray Jesus to the religious authorities, who would turn him over to the Romans.

Some who were the most unlikely people to play a significant role in the ministry were men who made the greatest impact.

Bible Verse

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Matthew 4: 18-22

Why it matters to you

God uses regular people to do His work and advance his Kingdom. It’s not how smart, or how rich or how important they are. It’s all about a person’s willingness to follow and serve.

The disciples that Jesus selected were not at all impressive, but like other men that God has called, they were willing and obedient. They learned “on the job” and asked a lot of questions. Jesus was a patient and thoughtful teacher, allowing them to be themselves.

Description

After being tempted in the desert, Jesus returned home, to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He spotted two fishermen and called to them to follow. That was the beginning. From there, he gathered ten others to follow him and be a part of his ministry.

They were: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James Zebedee, John, Levi (Matthew), Philip, Nathaniel, Thomas, James Alpheus, Judas Alpheus, Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot.

What you may not know

In Israel, during the time of Christ, it was customary that only the best and brightest would study to be a Rabbi. Students came to the Rabbi and were selected according to their abilities, and of course, their ability to pay for the educational opportunity.

The students would live with the Rabbi, study every move and mannerism, and in many cases become a kind of clone of the teacher. Jesus, on the other hand, took the opposite approach. He gathered from poor fishermen, who were rough around the edges and not educated.

He even called a tax collector, who was the scourge of Jewish society, a social outcast. He also called a Zealot, who was fiercely against the Roman occupation of Israel and the Zealot would have hated the tax collector.

He selected ordinary men to do an extraordinary job.

The Baptism of Jesus

Baptism of Jesus

What Happened

John the baptist had been preaching in the wilderness for several months. Jesus was just beginning his public ministry. He had been living in Nazareth with his mother and earthly father Joseph, working as a carpenter.

When it was time for him to begin his public ministry, it was necessary to go to John, whose ministry would soon come to an end. He met John at the Jordan River and was baptized.

John foretold of Jesus, who would now begin to usher in the Kingdom of God.

Why it matters

Jesus did nothing out of impulse. It was all by design. It was all in obedience to God, His Father. People heard the preaching of John and were hearing the message. Jesus, although fully God, was also fully man.

Therefore, he would do what others did in submitting to baptism. John was actually taken by surprise and said that Jesus should, by rights, baptism him. Jesus declined and said He would be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. In front of the people, Jesus was baptized.

Bible Verse

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.

John 1:29-34

Why it matters to you

Jesus did not need to repent for sins, because he was without sin. He did not need to be baptized at all, but did it as an act of obedience. Baptism does not wash away sins and is not a necessary element for salvation. It is an act of obedience to God.

Baptism is important because it is a public confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew writes that people should be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, is our high priest, and as a man, he was obedient.

Jesus does not ask anything of us that he is not willing to do himself. Interestingly, Jesus was baptized as an adult, a believer. He was not baptized as a baby, but taken to the Temple to be presented for circumcision.

Description

John had been out in the wilderness, preaching to the people about the need to repent and turn to the Lord. His preaching was fiery and often offended the religious authorities. John even rebuked the king, an offense that would later cost him his life. But John was preparing the way for the Messiah, and boldly proclaimed Jesus as the promised savior.

John was reluctant to baptize Jesus, telling Jesus that he should be the one to baptize him. Jesus told him to proceed and submitted to the baptism. John knew that his ministry must decrease and that Jesus was one the people should follow.

This was the changing of the guard, the handing of the torch. John had foretold of the coming Messiah, and now Jesus the Messiah was here with us. It was the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry… the ministry that would change the world.

What you may not know

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and six months older. John was the son of Elizabeth, who was either a cousin or an aunt to Mary.

John was a kind of miracle baby, as Mary and her husband Zechariah, a priest, did not think they could have children. But God had other ideas. John, in obedience, would be the man God used to tell people of the coming of the Messiah.

In the beginning was the Word…

The Bible

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The Most Important Book

The Bible is an amazing book. It’s the most important book in human history. It defines existence. It is our story, regardless of race, gender or national origin. It’s God’s revelation of Himself to His creation.

No other book in human history has had the kind of scrutiny, has been debated more, or has been the cause of as much social upheaval.

The Bible represents ABSOLUTE TRUTH about how we were created, why we exist and how we should live. Although parts of it were written more than 3400 years ago, it is completely relevant for today.

The Bible represents COMPLETE LOVE, because God is willing to communicate to us through His word. He shows us how to live through His Law, and because of His mercy, He sends His only Son to us so that we can live forever with Him.

The Bible represents UNAVOIDABLE JUSTICE for all. He rights the wrongs that have been committed by the world, delivering the perfect penalty to those who deserve it.

The Bible represents an INFINITE RESOURCE that we can study our entire lives and still find new and exciting revelations in, every day.

Bible Verse

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1

Description

The Bible is the manual for human life. It gives insight and clarity into human behavior by examining man’s psychological makeup, and like no other book ever written, explains why we are the way we are. It is the story of how we came into being, but more importantly, WHY we came into being.

The Bible is not a history book, yet its history is accurate and at times strikingly detailed. It is not a science book, yet its scientific information is solid. It is the story of the relationship between God and man, written over a 1400 year period by over 40 different authors.

The Good Book

By some, the Bible is considered “the good book,” while others consider it to be the inspired word of God. Some consider every word to be the literal truth, while others view it as truths contained in stories of people. Its wisdom is undeniable, and its commandments are the basis of all Western Law.

For some, the Bible may seem too difficult to understand and therefore not useful for practical, every day matters. Still others consider it vital to those mundane aspects of human life and rely on its guidance and directives to avoid calamity.

For some it’s all about religion, rules and regulations, and how to act. Some others view it as the gentle teachings of a loving parent. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, but translated into nearly every written language on the globe.

To set one important fact in place before you go any further, we not trying to prove the existence of God. For the followers of the Bible, namely Jews and Christians, it is a matter of faith more than fact, despite the overwhelming evidence it presents.

The Bible Chronicles Israel and the Life of Christ

The Hebrew texts of the Old Testament chronicle the amazing development of Israel, and the land that God promised to His people. For Christians, the story in the New Testament continues with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, written about by the Prophets.

The books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, are one continuous story. Old Testament writings are considered by many Christians to be the very foundation of Christianity, essential to the faith and of equal importance to the New Testament writings. More specifically, Christians see the entire Bible as being the story of Jesus and God’s plan for mankind. It is God’s unfolding plan that can be seen beginning in the opening chapters of Genesis. As the history unfolds, so does insight into the nature and character of God, as he uses human events to shape the future of the world.

God Does Not Change

Human nature never changes. Science and technology certainly do, as does culture, but human nature is the constant. This is important to know because what was true of men and women 6000 years ago, is true today. The emotions are the same, the aspirations the same and the motivations are the same. It’s like the old saying, “the more things change the more they stay the same.”

The accounts of the Israelites in the desert can be easily applied to the motivations of people today, no matter what country they live in. That’s what makes the Bible amazing. It’s amazing because God was the inspiration and God does not change. He is the same—yesterday, today and tomorrow. The people he created are likewise the same and will be tomorrow.

We will try to give you reliable information and at times direct you to authoritative places to gain more knowledge and insight. We do not claim to be apologists (defenders of the faith), nor do we want you to consider our point of view as non-negotiable.

Read The Bible

We invite you to read the Bible for yourself and make up your own mind about what it means. God gave us free will and invited us to use reason to understand the relevance of His word. We just want to meet you where you are at and help your along your spiritual journey.

This site is a brief summary of an enormous topic, and will give you an introduction into the Bible. It is very likely to become the most important and enduring book of your life.