I have two friends who didn’t know one another until recently. I have long thought that they reminded me of one another and that it would be a great idea to introduce them to one another. Last week I finally did something about it. I made lunch for the three of us.
In the interim, I thought and prayed about what to tell them about one another. I wanted them to like each other and, knowing that they wouldn’t have but a few hours to talk, I wanted to give them the best chance to get to know one another quickly. So, after praying about it, I told each of them this truth about the other one: she has a deep commitment to Jesus, has learned to hear His voice, hungers for the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and strives to obey Him with her life
The lunch was a success. They did instantly like one another and conversation was rich. We even prayed for one another before they left. What a joy!
The next day I was reading in my Bible during my devotional time and came upon John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus in Matthew 3:11. “As for Me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” In every gospel, John’s introduction is quoted again. (Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:26-34) Every gospel introduces Jesus as the One Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
John was the cousin of Jesus. They had grown up together and knew one another. John wanted people to know Jesus. He wanted them to have a relationship with Jesus, and John knew that Jesus would not be around very long. So I’m sure He considered carefully and prayed about what the people would need to know about Jesus in order to want to get to know Him. What was the most important thing they needed to know in the beginning about Jesus?
At the end of Jesus’ time on earth, after his crucifixion and resurrection, He told His followers to go and “make disciples of all nations”; but He also told them “but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) He told them, “to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the HolySpirit, not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4-5) Jesus quoted John the Baptist’s introduction again so that the first thing that was said about Jesus after He began His public ministry and the last thing that Jesus said about Himself as He was being taken up into heaven were the same: Jesus came to baptize believers in the Holy Spirit. Wait for it. That fact and exhortation must have great importance!
John the Baptist and Jesus, knew something that we need to be continually reminded of: we can do nothing of any value, accomplish nothing of any lasting consequence, without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Put simply, we need God. We need God to save us from hell, to heal us, protect us, deliver us from evil, and guide us through the maze of our personal lives. But we also need God to enable us to live for Him, to have a part in advancing His Kingdom, to effectively touch the lives of others.
Jesus Himself said, “I can do nothing on My own initiative …” (John 5:30). He told the first disciples, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing…” (John 6:63). It would seem, then, that the healthiest, most effective Christians are the ones who live their lives in the most dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ followers gathered obediently in Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit. They waited and prayed for 40 days. Then the Holy Spirit came. (Acts 2 tells the story in detail.) After that, whenever people accepted Jesus, they were also given opportunity to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 8:17, Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:1-6) Disciples of Jesus knew that they needed the power of God working in their lives by the Holy Spirt in order to live for God.
The same is true for us today. I don’t need to be smart, creative, intelligent, persuasive, competent, skillful, or articulate. What I need is the Holy Spirit indwelling my body! All of those things will be accomplished through me by the Holy Spirit, as needed, as I walk in obedient dependence on Him. May the cry of our hearts in 2012 be, “Come, Holy Spirit!”
Cultivate the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Introduce someone to Jesus today.