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On Pentecost Sunday we remember how our Lord sent the Holy Spirit to be with his disciples. Speaking before his crucifixion he told his disciples: “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7).

Then immediately prior to his ascension he said to them “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).

Two things stand out:

1. The coming of the Holy Spirit was dependent, not upon the piety of the disciples (most of them deserted him when he was arrested), but upon the action of the exalted Jesus.

2. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers his disciples to be his witnesses.

But that is not all, Jesus also said that in the person of the Holy Spirt he himself would come to his disciples so they would not be left as orphans (John 14:18). He said that the Holy Spirit would bear witness to him alongside of which his disciples would also bear their witness (John 15:26-27), adding that the Holy Spirit would give them what to say when they were brought before the authorities (Luke 12:11-12), and that the Holy Spirit would teach them and remind them of the things he had taught them (John 14:26).

Finally, let us remember Peter’s assurance to those who responded to his preaching on the Day of Pentecost when he said that the promise of the Holy Spirit “is for you and your children (probably his Jewish audience) and for all who are far off (probably Gentiles), for all whom the Lord our God will call” (all those who would respond to the gospel). This underlines the fact that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for all believers, “all whom the Lord our God will call.”

In light of these great promises, let us respond first with grateful thanks to God for sending his Holy Spirit “to be with us forever” (John 14:16), and second by asking the Holy Spirit to empower us to be faithful witnesses to Christ as we seek to live for him.


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