The Spirit of God
How Do We Recognize Jesus?
When John the Baptist saw Jesus walk toward him, he told the people, "Look! There is the Lamb of God! He will forgive the world's sins!"
Then John told everyone, "God sent me to baptize the people in water. I didn't know who I was looking for until God told me, 'You will see my Spirit come down on and stay with a certain person. He will baptize people in the same Spirit.' Well, I saw God's Spirit come down like a dove from heaven. And it stayed with him. So, I have seen what happened and I tell you now. This is God's Son!"
Based on John 1:29, 32-34
In the gospel of John, another John, the Baptist, had a problem. He did not know who God had sent to save his people. Then, he saw Jesus and announced to the crowd, "Look! The Lamb of God!"
Now John knew. This man named Jesus would die for the sins of everyone, just like the animal that the priests in the Temple sacrifice for the sins of the people. The animal took the place of the worshipers at the Temple. Jesus would take our place.
But, why Jesus? John saw the answer. God had poured his Spirit into this man. The power of God was in Jesus. And he would share that power with his followers.
John saw the Spirit in Jesus. But who invited John to recognize Jesus in the first place? God's Spirit. The third person of the Holy Trinity, invites us, like John, to recognize Jesus as our Savior. Once we accept his invitation, the Spirit brings all of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, to live in us. As God's power, the Spirit introduces us to Jesus, invites us to believe, and brings the Trinity to live within us.
After two followers of John heard him, they left and followed Jesus. Jesus turned around and saw the two behind him. "What are you looking for?" Jesus asked them.
"Teacher," they answered, "where are you staying?"
"Come and see," Jesus said. It was around four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with Jesus and saw where he lived. They stayed with him the rest of the day.
Based on John 1:37-39
What Has The Holy Spirit Done?
"When God began to create the world...he breathed his Spirit over the water"
Based on Genesis 1:1-2
Whenever God acts in the world, he sends out his Spirit to get the job done. The Spirit helped create the universe and everything in it. Whenever God spoke to his people, the Spirit opened the ears of the people to clearly hear and understand the message. The prophets of Israel, the people who delivered God's message, spoke with the power of his Spirit. The more God acted, the more the people had a thirst for his Spirit. The more they looked forward to the day all of God's people would enjoy a close relationship with the Spirit.
That day came when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and gave her God's message: "The Holy Spirit will come down to you and the power of God will cover you like the shadow of a cloud. So the child you will bear will be called God's holy Son" (based on Luke 1:35). With the birth of Jesus, God's Spirit came to live among people.
After Jesus was baptized, he returned to Galilee in the power of God's Spirit. People everywhere talked about him. He taught in the synagogues of Galilee. And, everyone who heard Jesus praised him.
Jesus went to Nazareth where he grew up. Just like he did every Sabbath, he entered the synagogue in Nazareth and stood up to read the Scripture. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
"The Spirit of the Lord in on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach God's Good News to everyone in need.
The Lord sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives
and returning sight to the blind,
to free the oppressed
and proclaim a year when the Lord will bless his people."
After he read from the scroll, Jesus rolled up it and gave it back to the synagogue helper. Then Jesus sat down to teach. Everyone fixed their eyes on him. Finally, he said, "Today, this Scripture reading came true as you heard it read to you!"
Based on Luke 4:14-21
Jesus had God's Spirit. And he used it when he preached and healed people. The Spirit led him to Jerusalem to meet his death. And the Spirit helped raise Jesus to new life. Now the Risen Lord could give God's very Spirit to his followers:
On the night Jesus rose from the dead, he stood right in the middle of his followers. He breathed on them and said, "Take in the Holy Spirit."
Based on John 20:22
On Pentecost, all the followers of Jesus were together in the same place. Suddenly, noise came from heaven that was like a very strong wind. It filled the entire house where they were. Flames of fire could be seen on each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
A large crowd gathered to find out what happened. Peter explained to the crowd, "We're not drunk! It's only nine o'clock in the morning. What you hear is what God told us through the prophet Joel: 'In the final days, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone!'"
Based on Acts 2:1-4a, 15-17a
The Church began when Holy Spirit came to change the followers of Jesus. Now, they went out to boldly preach the Good News. Now, they could live in peace with each other and serve the poor. Now they could wait in hope for the return of Jesus.
What does the Holy Spirit do for us?
The Spirit invites us to believe in Jesus, invites us to join the Church in Baptism, and invites us to say "yes" to God's grace, his very life. When we accept these invitations, the Spirit comes to live in us and change us. The Spirit gives us his gifts to make us better people, to help us serve others, and to strengthen our character. In the end, the Spirit will be with us when we die. And the Spirit will raise us up on the Last Day, just like it helped raise Jesus.