By Brooke Holt
“O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.” (The Collect for the 7th Sunday after Easter , Book of Common Prayer)
In John’s gospel reading for this week, we heard Jesus’ words to his disciples in their time of confusion and sadness as Jesus told them he would soon be departing. Where would he go? Why these hard teachings about his death and this strange promise of a resurrection? In the previous chapter of John, Jesus told them their sorrow would turn into joy when the Holy Spirit came to them (John 16:16-24). Just imagine what is happening in their hearts and minds during these conversations. They were happy having Jesus with them; who could fathom a greater joy than sharing meals with him, learning from him, and working with him in this mission of building the kingdom of God?
Our Collect for today reminds us of the disciples’ fears, questions, and impending sadness. Thankfully, the prayer for us is quite similar to Jesus’ prayer for those disciples: send your Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us. The Lord fulfilled this prayer of Jesus on behalf of his disciples and continues to fulfill this prayer for us today.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have God himself dwelling within us, reminding us of his presence, love, and faithfulness to us. Life was not easy for Jesus or his earliest disciples, and life will also challenge us. That is why we need the Spirit’s work in our lives. Just as the Spirit empowered Jesus to perfect obedience and eventual triumph over sin, Satan, and death, the Holy Spirit will equip you for obedience and overcoming all the world’s adversities.
Obedience and triumph come through the Spirit as well as comfort. We all need comfort these days after the tumultuous pandemic, the ensuing isolation, the trauma of watching war on the news each evening, not to mention the political and economic strife that has resulted from these things. Humans struggle with fear, hurt, anger, and every range of emotions. There is only one perfect comforter, and that is the one who sees, knows, and understands your every emotion.
The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift to you. You are never alone; you are never without help, comfort, and strength for this life.
Have you considered these roles of the Holy Spirit in your life? How does he want to comfort and strengthen you today or remind you of God’s perfect and steadfast love for you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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