The purpose of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel accounts is to glorify the Son, John 16:14; to comfort saints, John 14:18, and to convict sinners, John 16:8. Let us examine then these great themes the Gospel writers unfold to us by divine inspiration.
Glorifying The Son
Throughout the Gospels the Spirit of God is often seen in association with the Lord Jesus Christ while He was here on earth. This association is seen at His baptism, during the temptations in the wilderness, in the synagogue at Nazareth and throughout His public ministry.
In Matthew 12:18—21, the Father declares, “I will put my Spirit upon Him” indicating the satisfaction and pleasure He brought to the Father’s heart. “Behold My servant, whom I have chosen, My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My Spirit upon Him . . . He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break and a smoking flex shall He not quench.” In Mark 1:12 – 13 after heaven’s acknowledgment at His baptism, the Spirit drives Him into the wilderness where He is tempted of Satan, proving the absolute impeccability of His person. “And immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness… and was tempted of Satan.”
In Luke 4:18—19, following His return into Galilee, the Spirit is again upon Him, anointing Him to preach the Gospel to the poor and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Here men marveled at the gracious words that proceeded from His mouth.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor… to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
In John 3:34—35, attention is drawn to the supremacy of Christ as the one to whom the Spirit is given without measure, the One who is the special object of the Father’s love. “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hand.”
Such meditations from the Spirit magnify the glories of the Son and bow our hearts to worship Him.
To learn something of this theme we now turn to John’s account of the upper room ministry, where the great Teacher unfolds to His own another purpose of the Holy Spirit. On the very eve of His going to Calvary, the Lord desires to encourage His disciples. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
In John 14:16—18, He is telling them that if He goes away, the Father will send the Comforter, the Paraclete, the one who draws along side to sustain and comfort His own in times of sorrow and need. “I will not leave you comfortless.” In John 14:26, the One whom the Father will send will be their teacher, bringing all things to their remembrance. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things.”
In John 15:26, He is the source of all truth and will testify of the beloved Son. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
Little did the disciples realize that in such a short time their Lord would be taken from them and they would experience the supporting ministry of the Holy Spirit. How comforting these words must have been!
The truth given by the Lord relative to the Comforter is still very pertinent for us to day Many are cast down, despondent and sometimes frustrated, allowing the disappointments of life, the ever changing values of a corrupt society and the pressing complex problems of assembly and family life to rob them of sweet times of fellowship with the Lord Himself. Indeed many feel lonely and dejected in a crowded world.
If any can identify with this, may we turn once again with fresh resolve to meditate on the instruction given by our tender, loving Lord relative to the Paraclete on earth, the Holy Spirit.
After the Lord had completed His teaching on the purpose of the Spirit toward His own, He turns their attention to yet another aspect. The Lord taught His disciples on this occasion that the Spirit’s mission toward mankind would be threefold. He will convict the world of sin, because of unbelief; of righteousness, because of refusing to accept the Father’s purpose for His Son, and of judgment, because of the ultimate end of the Prince of this world. “When He is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment” (John 16:8-11).
Thus it is amazing to see that in the world where our Lord was rejected and crucified, God’s gracious Holy Spirit is still striving with men causing them to repent toward God and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
May we take fresh courage to continue spreading the good word of God to a perishing world, realizing that the time to do this at best is very short! “For yet a very little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry” (Heb 10:37).
As we conclude our meditations on the purpose of the Spirit in the Gospel accounts, may our hearts be filled with greater wonder as we witness the Holy Spirit glorifying the Son, comforting saints, and convicting sinners.