Posted: March 18th, 2023
Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit in John
The objective of this work is to read the Gospel of John and to relate in writing what John states about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the enabler of the man and has been so since Jesus departed this physical plane of existence. The Holy Spirit is the person of God that was sent to us in the name of Jesus, both by Jesus the Son and God the Father. The Holy Spirit came when Jesus left this physical realm so as to remain in the lives of the followers of Christ so as not to make orphans of them. It is through the person of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has spoken to all disciples since his Ascension and the imparting of the Holy Spirit to believers at Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit, as expressed by John relating the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John is the person of God with the express purposes of instructing, comforting, admonishing and convicting, and indeed even bring to the remembrance of mankind the Living God while mankind is still in a state of absence from the presence of God the Father and God the Son. The Good Leader Edition of the authorized King James Version of the Bible, published in 1946 states that the first of the three Gospels were:
written for three different sections of mankind; but the Gospel According to St. John was designed to fulfill the spiritual needs of all people.” (1946)
Therefore, it can be understood that this Gospel was intended for all children of God and all of those who are brothers in Christ for the express purpose of fulfilling spiritual needs. The purpose of his having written this Gospel is expressed by John as follows: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (KVJ, 1946)
I. WHAT IS PRECISELY MEANT by the ‘PERSON’ of the HOLY SPIRIT?
In the work entitled: “The work of Pentecost Continues” Wintz writes that the word person is used when speaking: “…of the persons of the Holy Trinity” and yet this is not the “exact equivalent of the word we use in referring to human persons.” (2003) Wintz writes that it is helpful to think: “…of the Latin root of the word ‘person’, which is persona. A person, from which our English word derives, is literally an actor’s mask, such as were used in ancient Greek drama. In which case the same actor would use different masks to play the roles of different characters.” (2003) When this is applied to the Trinity, then one can imagine the one and only God performing three different roles.”(2003) Wintz writes that these: “…are not three separate Gods, but one God in three persons.” (2003) the Gospel of John is highly focused on the person of the Holy Spirit and the work of that person of God.
III. HOLY SPIRIT: BAPTIZES (CLEANSES & REJUVENATES)
As noted in Chapter 1 verse 33 it is stated: “”And I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon who thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:33, KVJ)” the Holy Spirit identified as the cleanser and rejuvenator of mankind. The Holy Spirit is shown to descend upon and remain with the individual who is a true follower of Christ.
IV. FREEDOM and SOVEREIGNTY of the HOLY SPIRIT to ACT
In understanding the inherent freedom and sovereignty of the Holy Spirit to ‘act’ in the lives of mankind the analogy is used by Jesus to the ‘wind’ in the Gospel of John 3:8 when referring to the Holy Spirit. According to the work of John Piper entitled: “That Which is Born of the Spirit is Spirit”: “Jesus was “trying to drive home the freedom and sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in the act of regeneration.” (1981) in other words, when Jesus states that “The wind” or in this verse the Spirit “blows wherever it will” he is illustrating the impotence of man in that man “cannot start the wind blowing….cannot change the direction of the wind.” (1981) Piper states that: “The Spirit blows where he wills and, therefore, everyone born of the Spirit has been acted upon by the free Spirit and has been born anew.” (Piper, 1981) in John 6:62 Jesus states as recorded by John that: “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” (KVJ)
V. HOLY SPIRIT COMFORTS, ABIDES and DWELLS ‘WITHIN’
The Gospel of John Chapter 14 and verse 16 states: “”And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. 17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [ I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (KJV) in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14 verses 16 through 18 it is related that Jesus said that he will pray to the Father so that the Father will send ‘another’ Comforter that will abide with those who follow Christ and that the Holy Spirit will abide with those followers forever. Jesus is explaining to his disciples in this Chapter that he must go away but that it is expedient that he go away so that the Comforter may come unto them. This comforter is identified as the third person of God, not separate but wholly part of the three-part personhood of God the Father. Jesus explains that the Comforter cannot be received by the world that the Comforter is the ‘Spirit of Truth’ unseen and unknown by the world but yet the Comforter will dwell within those who love Christ and follow the teachings of Christ.
VI. HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES and BRINGS to REMEMBRANCE
In the Gospel of John Chapter 16 verses 25 through 27 it is stated:
25] These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (KJV)
In Chapter 16 and verses 25 through 27 Jesus is informing his disciples that the Holy Spirit will “teach” all things to the followers of Christ therefore it can be understood that part of the Holy Spirit’s personhood and the duties of the Holy Spirit is to teach those who follow Christ. Jesus goes on to state that the Holy Spirit will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.” (KJV) This is important because this illustrates the ongoing interaction of the Holy Spirit with mankind in a process of comforting, providing peace, teaching, reminding and urging mankind toward the teachings of Christ.
VII. HOLY SPIRIT IS SPIRIT of TRUTH and SPIRITUAL GUIDE to ALL TRUTH
In the seeking of truth, Jesus instructed the disciples that the Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of Truth that will guide the disciples to truth. Stated in the Book of John Chapter 16 verse 13 is the following:
13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (KJV)
Jesus is further instructing the disciples in this verse that the Holy Spirit will show or reveal to them further revelations of future events or conditions. The Holy Spirit is depicted in this statement to be an active personhood in the life of the believer and has many times been described as an “inward knowing” concerning things of various natures on the part of the believer. This urging, or unction of the Holy Spirit is that which serves as a guide to the follower of Christ and it is this “Spirit” that dwells within the believer that serves to unction the follower of Christ in choosing the righteous pathways that is promised by Jesus to dwell with his followers in his absence in the physical world.
The Holy Spirit is that which urges the follower of Christ to offer help to others and to care that someone is lacking in knowledge about Christ enough to go out of their way to relate the work Christ has begun in their own life. It is this selfsame Holy Spirit that will serve to convict within the unbeliever and to work within that individual until that person comes to the point of opening the inner door for the Christ and then urging the same individual forth into fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’ of spreading Christ to the world. In the fulfillment of this commitment inclusive of “baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” the three faces of God’s person are revealed and authenticated. Just as when Jesus entered the waters to be baptized and entered into communion with God the Father and God the Son was baptized of the God the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John is clearly characterized in the evidence provided by John of the words Jesus spoke.
This one book of the Bible explains clearly to believers and followers of Christ that the breath of Christ upon the disciples still whispers across lives upon earth each day throughout the thousands of year that these words were first spoken by Christ.
In Chapter 20 of the Gospel of John verses 21 and 22 it is stated:
21] Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. and when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (KJV) Once Jesus has completed his work the Holy Spirit remains with man to help and assist mankind. Jesus instructs the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit.” (KJV)
These instructions of Christ to the disciples are important ones and especially, one would presume this to be true of receiving the Holy Spirit. Imagine for just a moment, that on Pentecost Day, as the tongues of fire appeared, that the disciples had fled in fear, and entirely missed the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Fortunately, however they did not flee because they were busy following the instructions given by Jesus. This certainly seals the significance of what Jesus is relating concerning the instructions that are to come provided by the Holy Spirit and the validation that should be applied toward these instructions by mankind. The instructions given by the Holy Spirit are, since the Ascension of Jesus and even until this day, to be considered the same as receiving instructions from the Master himself.
VIII. HOLY SPIRIT WILL GLORIFY CHRIST
The Holy Spirit could not glorify Christ until the work of Christ was complete. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ through the work of the disciples. The Gospel of John Chapter 16:  states:
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (KJV)
While it is related in the foregoing section of this work that Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the Disciples the true glorification of Christ could not be fulfilled until after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. In John 14: 23 it is stated that: “Jesus answered [Judas Iscariot] and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. ” (KJV) the Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter” which is derived from the Greek “Parakletos” which means: “…an intercessor, consoler, advocate, comforter…” (Sublett, nd)
In John 14:26 Jesus relates that the Comforter will be sent in his name as he states: “…whom the Father will send in my name…” (John 14: 26) Furthermore the Comforter would be sent by Jesus himself as stated in John 16:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. ” (KJV)
In the online “Step-by-Step‘ with the Bible” publication in relation to the work of the Spirit in the church stated is that from the very beginning: “…it was the Holy Spirit who taught and guided the disciples…” (nd) it was the Holy Spirit who “allowed them to understand later all the teachings Jesus had given them and that they were not able to understand at the beginning; it was He who inspired them to preach the gospel and write the whole New Testament; it was He who inspired them as to what they should answer at the trials; it was He who gave them courage and hope among their persecutions and tribulations. And it is now the Holy Spirit who guides the believers in order that they may understand the words and live according to their faith.” (Step-by-Step with the Bible, nd) in order to truly grasp what is being revealed in the Book of John concerning the Holy Spirit’s personhood one must consider the Pentecost. An account of the Pentecost is related in a Lasalle publication entitled: “Pentecost Sunday – Gospel: St. John 14-23-31″ which states as follows:
The holy apostles remained in seclusion and applied themselves to prayer from the Ascension of Jesus Christ until the day of Pentecost.” [a feast celebrated by Jews in memory of the giving of the Old Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai] “On this day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and on all those who were gathered together with them in the large upper room. He came to bring them a new law, the law of grace and love, and poured himself out upon them like a strong, driving wind. This was to show that just as God in creating man, had, as Scripture expresses it, breathed into him the breath of life, so too, in communicating a new life to his disciples to live only by grace and love, and poured himself out upon them like a strong, driving wind.” (Lasalle.org, nd)
The second point made in this work is that the Book of Acts informs that this wind: “the symbol of the Spirit of God who poured himself out upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, filled the entire house.” (Lasalle.org, nd) the Book of Acts informs that ‘all’ who were gathered there were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Finally the third point made in the Lasalle publication is that the Book of Acts informs that when the disciples gathered that separate tongues of fire appeared to them and then came to rest upon each of them. Suddenly, the disciples who once were: “…so earthly-minded they could not grasp the sacred truth that Jesus Christ taught them, were all at once so enlightened that they could now explain clearly and with all imaginable accuracy the words of Holy Scripture. As a result those present were completely surprised and filled with amazement, and in little time they converted a great number of them, because as Saint Peter told them, the Spirit of God had been poured out upon them.” (Laselle.org, nd)
The work of the apostles of Christ is a work that requires changing the hardness of the human heart and this certainly cannot be done except through assistance of the Holy Spirit. In John Chapter 16 Jesus expressed to the disciples that he told these things to them to prepare them because a time would come when people would persecute them and completely believe while doing so that they were doing a favor unto God. Jesus as he goes unto the Father that sent him. Jesus relates that when he does go to the Father, and it is “expedient” for the disciples that he does go, because when he is gone the ‘Comforter’ will then come to the disciples. While the disciples could not understand their strength would come from the Holy Spirit as it interacted within these men yet, Jesus knew how strong the Spirit would be in the hours of trials that were to come upon his followers and he told them so. Jesus informed the disciples that the: “…hour cometh, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world yet have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (KJV)
X. PROMISES of the SPIRIT in the GOSPEL of ST. JOHN
The Holy Spirit is promised to the disciples and to every man that would come as a follower of Christ to advocate for man, to communion with man, to abide and dwell within man. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth that will help mankind to discern truth and that will assist man in times of peril or persecution or even death, just as the example set by Jesus in his complete and total faith of and in God the Father and the person of the Holy Spirit as evidenced in the Book of John.
It seems to this researcher that the Gospel of John without guile lays out before all mankind the example set by Jesus Christ as he very matter-of-factly, prepared his followers for what was soon to come culminating in his death upon the cross, burial, resurrection and ascension and then his ultimate gift of himself, the Holy Spirit within the human heart and serving as an unction to move the very soul of man until reunited fully with God the Father and Jesus the Son. In John chapter 14 verses 26 and 27 it is states that Jesus spoke these thing while he was still present with the disciples, “ but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (KVJ) This promise is that the disciples would be taught all things including what to say and what to do. And indeed in a miracle this promise was fulfilled and is still filled today in the lives of those who follow Christ. One can imagine that the disciples, upon learning that Jesus would die naturally would have become exceedingly distressed that they might forget the teachings of Jesus. This discussion one can imagine taking place within the hearing of Jesus who sought to reassure the disciples who were still at this point without the comfort of the Holy Spirit within them. Jesus was still present in form. Jesus makes another promise of the Holy Spirit when he states in Chapter 14 and verse 27 the following:
27] Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (KJV)
Jesus informs the disciples that he leaves with the disciples “peace” but not the peace that the world can give but a peace that is not of this world, but one that is sustaining and everlasting. Jesus entreats the disciples to “Let not your heart be troubled and neither let it be afraid…” (KVJ) Jesus is the living example of the Spirit of Truth in the Gospel of John and this is presented in a way that all people can grasp the precise meaning of what is being illustrated and in this researcher’s opinion the true value that lies within the Gospel According to St. John is the clarity of the example of faith set by Jesus Christ in the days and hours preceding his Crucifixion. This Gospel clearly relates that the Holy Spirit will glorify Christ and witness of Christ and that the Holy Spirit will come in the name of the Son. The Holy Spirit is clearly identified in the Gospel of John as the third personhood of God who dwells within man since the ascension when Jesus in ‘form’ left the presence of mankind.
Wintz, Jack (2003) the Work of Pentecost Continues. Friar Jack’s E-spirations. American Catholic 26 June 2003. Online available at http://www.americancatholic.org/e-News/FriarJack/fj062603.asp
Piper, John (1981) That Which is Born of the Spirit is Spirit. The Role of the Holy Spirit in Conversion. 22 Feb 1981 Resource Library – desiring God. Online available at http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1981/284_That_Which_Is_Born_of_the_Spirit_Is_Spirit/
Step-by-Step with the Bible (Nd) Online available at http://www.mbay.net/~jmejia/chapt32.htm.
Pentecost Sunday Gospel St. John 14: 23-31 (nd) Laselle.org Online available at http://www.lasalle.org/English/Resources/Publications/PDF/WritingsJBDLS/Med43.pdf.
The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit in the Book of John
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