“THOSE WHO LOVE ME WILL KEEP MY WORD, AND MY FATHER WILL LOVE THEM, AND WE WILL COME TO THEM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH THEM.” JOHN 14:23
In Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 the scattered persecuted Christians proclaim their faith in Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. Philip proclaimed Christ in a town of Samaria to the Jews and Gentiles. Even as God revealed Himself through Philip’s preaching, their fear was turned to joy and Philip was able through the power of the Holy Spirit to render health in mind, body and spirit to those that believed in Jesus. They accepted the word of God and were baptized by Philip. Peter and John were then sent to Samaria to lay hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Simon a magician himself believed and was baptized; so great was the influence of Philip on Simon that he was then constantly in the company of Philip and was astonished at the miracles that took place. Gifts of the Spirit are not something that can be purchased as Simon thought; nor should one desire them for one’s own glory and edification. Simon learnt from Peter that the Spirit freely acts in wondrous ways to glorify God and to spread His Kingdom.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are in accordance with the needs of the particular Church, so we need not crave for a particular gift. For example the gift of prophecy today, may be characterized by the gift of speaking with assurance and having the ability of stressing a message in a way that, that particular community or individual recognizes the voice of God. The Spirit continues to work to this day in many believers who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit work for the good of humanity and bear fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control and are truly witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
The psalmist in Ps 65:1-7, 16, 20 extols the glory of our wondrous God whose deeds never fail to astound us and whose love is never, ever withheld from us.
1 Pet 3:15-18 Encourages us to live a good life even if it entails suffering, because Christ Himself suffered, innocent though he was. If we want to be His witnesses, we need to follow in His footsteps that we too may hope to be raised to life in the Spirit and share in Christ’s eternal inheritance.
Jn 14:15-21 Jesus in his Farewell Discourse prepares His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. This passage begins and ends with love. Jesus says that if we love Him we will keep His commandments; and the Father, at Jesus request, will send another Advocate. The first Advocate, Jesus as man, could be in only one place at one time. But now that He has sent the other Advocate after His departure, His Spirit is given not just to the disciples but also to each of us believers down the ages, no matter where we are.
The Greek word ‘Parakletos’ means Comforter, Advocate, Counsellor and Helper. Advocate is one that speaks on our behalf or one who defends us. The other Advocate now makes us, mature revealers of God’s love. If the Father and Jesus have made a home with us, we already share the joys of His Kingdom right here on earth.
Are we willing to love Jesus and keep His commandments?
Are we willing to live a good life, even if we must suffer to do so?
Are we going to let the Holy Spirit work in us in wondrous ways to glorify God and build His Kingdom?