Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth … I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:15-17; 25-26 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The Spirit is the key to successful living on this side of the cross.”
In recent days we have learned about the doctrine of dispensationalism and of progressive revelation. So now we understand that when Jesus came, He ushered the human race into an entirely new era of history that would be unlike any other. We also learned about the doctrine of substitution, and how it could be that the death of Jesus on the cross was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. When Jesus came, He changed everything!
So, try to imagine the shock and dismay of His closest followers as Jesus tried to explain to them that soon He was going to die on a cross (Mark 8:31). The Jews had waited so long for the promised Messiah to come! And now that He had finally arrived, after they had waited for a thousand years, they were being told that He was about to be killed, and that He would then arise from the grave after three days, but after that He would ascend back into heaven and leave them all over again! It was more than they could comprehend or accept. That’s why, in Matthew 26:33 and in John 13:37, Peter boldly declared that He would defend Jesus, and even die for Him, in order to prevent such a thing from happening. And it’s why, in the Garden of Eden when they came to arrest Jesus, Peter pulled out a sword and began to fight on His behalf.
Yes, His closest followers understood that Jesus was ushering them into an entirely new era of human history, and they were in awe of what was happening, but at that point they had little understanding of what the nature of that new era would be. They didn’t really understand who or what the Holy Spirit was and what a pivotal and vital factor He would be for life on this side of the cross. From the day of Pentecost onward, the believer’s relationship with the Holy Spirit would be the key to successful and victorious living in the kingdom of God on earth, but they didn’t understand that yet. That was a concept that was only beginning to be introduced in the days when Jesus walked the earth in His human body, but it is a fully-developed reality for us today.
In the passage we read today, Jesus began to develop in His followers a rudimentary understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and what His role in the lives of Christians would be. In the days to come we will explore this teaching in much greater depth, because the Spirit is the key to successful living on this side of the cross.