The mere mention of the Holy Spirit leaves many of us scratching our heads. He is a mystery. We have come to somewhat of an understanding about God the Father. The Bible reveals much of His character, and although our comprehension of an unlimited Being is indeed very limited we gain a notion of what He is like. Jesus put flesh on the infinite. God in a person became a visible representation of deity. We gain insight from the One who came searching for the lost in order to save them. The Holy Spirit still lingers in the shadows of our minds.
John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. The Spirit-inspired prophets had set the table, and the time was right for the introduction of the Savior. John stepped onto the stage to perform his task but before he did, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, the filling occurred before he was even born (Luke 1:15). Clearly, the Spirit had a central role in God’s plans.
The Holy Spirit was the means by which the Son of God was produced in Mary (Luke 1:35) and descended in a visible form like a dove at the baptism of Jesus as a voice from heaven announced the unique nature of the One who was being baptized (Luke 3:21-22). It was the same Spirit that soon led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-2). He is an active yet mysterious being. That confrontation with the schemes of the evil one was essential.
Jesus paid an incredible price to save us from our sins, and the Holy Spirit has always been a part of that. We may not understand Him, but He is integral to the process. The encounter with the devil was a prerequisite to being a merciful and faithful High priest, a role that He occupies to this day. He sympathizes with our temptations because He has been through them. The Spirit saw to that.
Jesus told the apostles to stay in Jerusalem after His ascension until the Holy Spirit empowered them for their expanding mission. Sounds and sights unlike any ever seen. Uneducated men began to speak in foreign languages, and crowds from around the world were totally confused. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were behind all that was seen and heard that day, and the church took shape. Peter’s answer to the question of the Jews about their guilt in crucifying the Lord and Christ was twofold: Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. That would bring about forgiveness, even of their grievous sin, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a promise from God that has extended from that day to this one (Acts 2:38-39). He may mystify us, but He remains vital and worthy of careful study.