Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Question of Christ and the Spirit

In John 16:7, Christ said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."

What did Jesus mean when He said that the Holy Spirit would not come unless He went away?

Wasn't the Spirit with men before Christ died? As I've mentioned before, in Psalm 51:11 David begs God, saying "do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." And there are numerous other examples of the Spirit in the Old Testament:

Speaking of Israel in the wilderness, Nehemiah 9:20, "You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst."

Speaking to Moses about seventy elders of Israel, Numbers 11:17, "Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them: and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone."

Speaking of King Saul before he rebelled against God, 1 Samuel 11:6, "Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused."

Speaking of Prophets who told of coming salvation, 1 Peter 1:11, "searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow."

So, since we know the Holy Spirit was working with and in men before Christ came, what did Jesus mean by His statement in John 16:7?

Could it be that God would send His Spirit in a new and more powerful way? A special outpouring to equip His church with the gifts of the Spirit? Could we be living in a blessed time during which Christ bestows the greatest strength upon His people through His Holy Spirit? What do you think?

Happy Sabbath! God bless you and keep you!

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