THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit has been a controversial subject for many years. Some believe that a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit the moment he or she is saved. Others believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from salvation. I believe in letting scripture interpret scripture. Without getting caught up in the controversy, I would like to begin by quoting Jesus about the nature of the Holy Spirit. (As a matter of fact, while I thinking about the purpose of the Holy Spirit and wondering what verses to use, I opened the Bible to John 14: 16 and saw the sub-title “Role of the Spirit.”)
The Holy Spirit resides in the followers of Jesus. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you“ (John 14: 16-17 NASB).
The Holy Spirit reveals the Messiah by opening our minds to God’s Word. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14: 26 NASB).
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, which leads to repentance, and enables us to live righteously in obedience to God’s Word. “But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God’s judgment” (John 16: 7-8, GNT).
The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth and glorifies the Son. “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come. He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you” (John 16: 13-14, GNT).
In John 20: 21-22 (NIV) when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Resurrection, He said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
it’s interesting to note that in the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples to wait for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but before that event occurs on Pentecost, He breathes on them and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Capadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2: 1-4)
The first mention of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is in Matthew 3: 11. John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (NIV). (See also Mark 1: 8 and John 1: 33.)
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection, and said, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24: 46-49). Notice the references to “witnesses” and “power.”
Between His Resurrection and Pentecost, Jesus appeared to his disciples over a forty day time scan. In Acts 1: 4-5 He said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John Baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (NIV).
Next, Jesus informs his followers that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will empower them to spread the Gospel. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8 NIV). As in Luke 24: 46-49, the key words are “power” (through the Holy Spirit) and “witnesses.” Jesus’ followers need the power of the Holy Spirit to witness effectively.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ witnesses were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to speak in languages unknown to them so that Jews who had come to Jerusalem from other countries to celebrate Shavuot could hear and understand them. This miracle led 3000 people to repent and accept Yeshua as Lord and Savior in one day.
THE TOWER OF BABEL IN REVERSE
Genesis 11: 1-9 recounts a time when everyone spoke the same language. They settled in Babylon and started building a tower to reach the sky. God stopped the project by mixing up their language so that they couldn’t understand each other then he scattered them.
At Pentecost, Hebrews and proselytes, who were scattered among the nations, came together and understood what the followers of Jesus were saying.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was never meant to divide believers but to unite them into “one body.” In 1 Corinthians 12: 13 (KJV), the apostle Paul taught that “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Hebrews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
Future posts will include: What does it mean to be “filled with the Holy Spirit?” What are the gifts of the Spirit? What is the fruit of the Spirit?