The last time Jesus saw His disciples He led them up to a mountain and gave them final instructions and direction. He commissioned them to go out into all the world and share the good news of His life, death, and resurrection to every human being on the planet.
It was a solemn moment, fraught with so many emotions and weighted with a sense of purpose and destiny. But perhaps the most powerful thing about that short time on the mountain was a statement Jesus made that is recorded in Acts 1:8.
Here Jesus says to his disciples, “But you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” NKJV
Jesus plainly told His disciples that in order for them to accomplish the plans He had laid out for them they needed power. Divine, supernatural power, and before they set out on their mission they were to wait for that power.
The source of this power was the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send His Spirit to them so that they might be empowered for the task ahead of them. After watching Jesus ascending to heaven the disciples walked down the mountain and gathered together in an upper room.
They settled in to wait for the power that Jesus had promised but they weren’t idle while they waited. The single most important thing they did while they waited for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit was to pray.
They prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit, they prayed for themselves, they prayed for each other. In fact, they spent the next 40 days in almost constant fellowship and prayer. At the end of those 40 days of soul searching and fellowship something amazing happened.
Jesus sent the power of the Holy Spirit to them. The Spirit swept over them like a mighty rushing wind and settled over them like tongues of fire. The entire experience was energizing and it equipped the disciples for the work ahead of them. Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. In the same way that He called the disciples to serve Him, He calls each of us to serve Him by fulfilling the specific plans He has for our lives. But before we can do this, He gives us the same instructions and promises He gave the disciples.
He tells us that we need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us follow Him because without the influence of God’s spirit in our lives, we can never have God’s wisdom, or strength, or courage to endure what lies ahead.
Jesus gives us three functions of the Holy Spirit in the book of John. These functions are essential to our spiritual health and well-being.
In John 16:13 Jesus says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;” It is the Holy Spirit that leads us into truth, that helps us to know the difference between truth and lies. And the truth is essential to succeed in life.
Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Interestingly this Bible verse is the motto of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America. Truth is an essential part of life and only the Holy Spirit can lead us into truth.
The second function of the Holy Spirit is to offer us comfort. In John 14:16, Jesus says, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another helper, that He may abide with you forever”
It is the Holy Spirit that offers us comfort during the hard times of life and Jesus promised to send us this gift whenever we need it.
The third function of the Holy Spirit is conviction. Jesus says in John 16:8, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to recognize sin and its consequences.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is vital to our walk with Jesus. The disciples recognized this and prayed unceasingly for this gift leading up to Pentecost. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit too. We need to ask God to send us this gift so that we can experience guidance, comfort, conviction, and the abiding presence of truth in our lives.