Christmas time is surely the most wonderful time of the year. Some of my favourite elements are spiced biscuits, fruitcake, carols and family time. And for Christians, we remember our Lord Jesus’ birth with fondness. We are reminded of the miracle of the virgin birth when the Creator of the whole earth humbled himself and was born as a baby boy. We remember the phenomenon of God incarnate – God becoming man and dwelling among us. Yet in John 16:7 Jesus says, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus had to be born and live a sinless life, and yet he says it is for the believers’ benefit that he leaves. This is because only when he left would the Holy Spirit come. This month we have been speaking about how God with us became God in us, and in this article we will be speaking about Jesus the Baptiser.
Who is the Holy Spirit For?
Matthew 3:11 tells us that Jesus would baptise not with water but with the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to all believers. Ephesians 1:13 says, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised holy Spirit.” This shows us that the Holy Spirit is given at the point of salvation. There is no extra thing needed to personally ensure your own indwelling of the Spirit. All that is required is personal belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who breathes on man his life-giving Spirit (John 20:22).
The Holy Spirit unites Believers to Christ
The Holy Spirit is given to all believers, and unites them both to Christ and to one another. This unity is only made possible in Christ, and is His prayer for us and our ultimate joy! Jesus’ prayer for us is that we will be made one, firstly with himself, and then all the believers. He prays, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us (John 17:21).” The Holy spirit is given as our counsellor, helper, guide into truth, and the one who gives us the full measure of Christ’s joy (John 17:13). He enables us to have a living, dynamic relationship with God, not only on occasion, but by making us a new creation, one who is capable of relationship with God and has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
The Holy Spirit Unites Believers to Each Other
All believers are baptised into one body to form the people of God world-wide. 1 Corinthians 12:13 states, “For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body.” Paul is inspired to use the picture of a body, a unit which functions when its many members work together in harmony. This describes God’s church. A community of people who may be very different but just as a body relies on different parts, so God has given His people for the purpose of building up the church and bearing witness to the world. To use another description, the local church is like a selection of music notes, which when brought together create a beautiful melody. In the same way the Holy Spirit has given gifts to His people which are effective for serving alongside each other. We are one in Christ, with nothing to truly divide us. His purpose was to bring peace, creating in himself one new humanity for all believers in himself, in so doing bringing peace on earth (Ephesians 2:15).
This Christmas I challenge you to dig a little deeper into the significance of Jesus coming into the world. In terms of Jesus the Baptiser, have you been water baptised as an outward demonstration of the spiritual baptism you have received from Jesus Himself? If you have, are you living out the reality that you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, both in your personal life and with the responsibility of serving your local community of believers or church?