It has been said that describing the Holy Spirit is like describing the wind. We know it’s there because we can feel it. We can see its effects in the trees and on the water. But what is the Holy Spirit?
Perhaps a better question is who is it? And if it is what the Bible says it is, how can we have a relationship with something we cannot see?
Part of the reason I think we struggle with the idea of a Spirit is that we have an image of God in our minds. At the very least we know that his voice sounds like Morgan Freeman. We also think we have a pretty clear image of Jesus. He’s Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ, right? Rugged good looks, long flowing hair, and piercing blue eyes. He’s kind. He’s accessible. He’s got our back. We can’t really picture what a Spirit looks like. And how can the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be one in the same?
It’s Resurrection Day. The last time Jesus’ disciples saw him he was hanging on a Roman cross. Suddenly he steps into the room. Can you imagine the electricity in that place? Imagine the emotion. Imagine the outbreak of joy, laughter, and tears. High fives all around, Jesus is back! He’s right there! But Jesus doesn’t spike the football. Instead, he tells them that he is going away. “Peace be with you,” he said.“Receive the Holy Spirit.” And he breathed on them.
“…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever— 18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
Jesus was passing the baton. He was telling his closest followers and friends that there was to be an exchange of persons to be their helper. Other translations call it an advocate, friend, or better yet, comforter. In fact he tells them, “If I don’t go away, the helper will not come to you.”
The spirit is ours. In the same way that water is liquid, vapor, and ice, we have one God, three persons. It was true in the first century. It is true today. I know it sounds like church, but it’s also a huge promise. Jesus didn’t leave us like orphans. He’s here to comfort, encourage, and guide us. He’s here to heal us.
Like the wind, we don’t understand it all, but we don’t understand a lot of things. It doesn’t stop us from believing in them. It doesn’t stop us from having faith. And faith can change us.
By Curt Harding
More: What We BelieveOriginally Posted: Feb 9, 2012