Day 14: God fills us with courage - 27 February 2020
By Benescke Janse van Rensburg
I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do — yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.
“When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you.
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
Come with me back in time. It’s Pentecost in Jerusalem. Jesus had just ascended to Heaven. His command to the disciples was to come to Jerusalem and wait there for the “gift” that God wants to give them. They were obedient. Yet, they have fear and uncertainty in their hearts. Will they also be persecuted now that Jesus is gone?
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. In that moment all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. Gone was the fear and uncertainty of earlier, because suddenly they began to proclaim the truth with unprecedented confidence.
Stop here for a second.
Do we really realize what happened in that moment? The Almighty, Sovereign God poured out His Holy Spirit to dwell within us. It is the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
In the Old Testament, we read of moments when people did extraordinary things or where they had courage because the Holy Spirit came upon them. For example, Elijah ran faster than a horse (1 Kings 18:46), Samson was exceptionally strong (Judges 13:25; 14: 6), Gideon and Joshua, once afraid, suddenly had courage (Numbers 27:18 and Judges 6:34) and Bezalel were able to design special, creative things for the temple (Exodus 31). The Holy Spirit however did not yet dwell in them. Only here in Jerusalem did we as humans experience the turning point with regards to our relationship with God.
Jesus prepared his disciples for what would follow. In John 14:12 we read: “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” He knew that the Holy Spirit would enable us to do these things. Also in John 14:18, 26 we read: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you . . . But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Then in Romans 8: 26-27 we read: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, we are filled with courage like the disciples. We realize who this MIGHTY God is. We are also then able to preach the gospel without fear.
Let us thank God once again for this gift of His Holy Spirit, the One who guides, teaches, and comforts us. God bless.
Father God, thank you for not leaving us as orphans, but for sending us your Holy Spirit. Fill me anew with Your Spirit today and help me to know and understand You better. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen