John Chapter 20:23 The Holy Spirit is the New Normal
Introduction. Resurrection Sunday introduced another layer of thinking and “experiencing” which was not immediately understood by the Apostles. It probably never entered their mind that God could first physically enter into them, live in them or guide them so intimately. But yet, that is to be the new normal for the next two thousand years. The Apostles are the first to experience the emergence of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit was now the new normal in the Christian world and they didn’t know quite what to do with Him.
God the Father bestowed the greatest gift the world has ever seen when the Holy Spirit emerged on resurrection day. Jesus fulfilled His promise to His disciples in the upper room in John chapters 14 and 15. The Paraclete came to be our companion, our communion, and our compassion the lost. He needed to come at this critical moment in time. He needed His spirit on the earth now. He needs to be a normal part of our life today.
The Holy Spirit is breathed into individuals as a matter of establishing a foundation for the worldwide move of God. The Spirit had been working in the earth, but not in individuals. The Holy Spirit was involved in incidents, but not in individuals. This was brand new to the apostles. With the resurrection and promise of the Spirit as Paraclete, the world changed forever.
Why Does God Need the Holy Spirit on Earth?
God the Father needed to have the Holy Spirit on the earth immediately because He gave the Apostles the mission of saving the world. First of all they needed the Holy Spirit with them as a companion, guide and guardian of their mission. Secondly, the Holy Spirit was needed to go and perform things that Jesus was not meant to do. Yes, there are things that Jesus cannot do because His role in the universe changed (See Lesson 2).
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
The Gospel is now to be shared worldwide. What a daunting task for the fledgling apostles. How in the “world” are they going to do this. There was no radio, television, jet planes, Bibles to give out and remember Jesus never traveled more than 35 miles away from home. If you think about it, the Hebrew nation only traveled to Egypt, Israel and Babylon. The fact is only human beings carried the message of Yahweh until the resurrection. Now the Holy Spirit has come to do what Jesus could never do as a “human.” The Holy Spirit because He is a spirit could be sent all over the earth preparing areas to receive the Gospel and assisting those missionaries in their work.
Jesus “breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples and the world. How else would a “spirit” emerge? Because we have a body, we let the Spirit of God operate through us. People prior to this time did not know the God of Israel that way. Now everyone, from the greatest to the smallest, can know God intimately and have the power, and the presence of God everywhere they lived and everywhere they traveled.
How Does the Holy Spirit Accomplish that Mission in Us?
The Holy Spirit accomplishes His mission through you. It started the day you were born (Genesis 2:7, Job 33:4 and Psalm 33:6). God was preparing you for the Holy Spirit in your life and you didn’t know it. The very Spirit that was imparted to the apostles activated your life at birth! Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit is the same idea as in Genesis 2:7 when God Himself imparted His Spirit to the first human being. Because the Holy Spirit is alive and well and living in you, you can fulfill the great commission from the comfort of your living room.
The Holy Spirit is a covenant between you and God, When Jesus commanded, “Receive the Holy Spirit” it the same imperative tense when He told the apostles just a few days before to receive his body and his blood. Now the apostles are receiving his Spirit. The theology of communion,” the Lord’s Supper,” or the “Eucharist” is so deep that we do the Lord and ourselves a dis-service by taking it in such a superficial manner. When we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, we have immediate and eternal communion with Him. I believe that the “body of the Lord helps us in our corrupt bodies to overcome sin until we get a new, glorified body. That comes at the end, when the Holy Spirit sees us through the end. Why? Because the receiving the Holy Spirit is contractual in nature,
The Holy Spirit is a contract between you and God. God has a legal obligation to never leave us or forsake us and to finish the good work He started in us. When we received the Holy Spirit, God sealed us, preserved us and yes, guaranteed His existence in us until He calls us home. This is now the new normal in the Christian life.
That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened, not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:4.5
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
It is now normal for the God of the universe to accomplish His mission in the world to place the Holy Spirit in us as a guarantee. This was brand new to the apostles. He placed the Holy Spirit in us a down payment, earnest money or as a first installment of our redemption. If anyone has bought a house, a car or any other large purchase, sometimes you have to pay “earnest money.” In other words, it is your pledge that you will purchase the house, If you default on this promise, you loose your earnest money and probably face some kind of other legal action. If we take this verse seriously and factually, then God looses the Holy Spirit if He fails to bring us home. Interesting to note, that the object of the purchase (us) is the direct object of the verb to give that down payment. We are an inanimate object. In other words, we have no say in the matter. It’s like saying the house we are purchasing has no say in the matter. God is purchasing us and we have no say in the matter is the analogy.
Conclusion. The advent of the Holy Spirit by through Jesus is the signet ring of God the Father in the life of new believer. He’s laying hold of us assuring us that what he has started in us He will see it though to the end,
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6