If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15–18
Even the smartest, most energetic, most creative person needs more than his own abilities to be spiritually effective. Serving God requires a totally different kind of power—the power of the Holy Spirit.
These eleven faithful men who had traveled and ministered with Jesus had watched the Lord do many amazing miracles. Now Jesus told them that those who believed in Him would do even greater works than He had done. What did Jesus mean?
As we look at the early church in the book of Acts and at church history throughout the ages, we don’t see anybody doing works that were qualitatively greater than the works of Jesus. The Lord was saying that the quantity, not the quality, of the disciples’ works would be greater than His.
Jesus’ works had been limited by locality, since He was confined in a human body. But when Jesus left, the Father would send the Holy Spirit, and by the power of the Spirit in the disciples, the works of Jesus would be multiplied over and over in countless places (see Acts 1:8).
So that they would be able to carry out these works, Jesus told the disciples that the Father would give them “another Helper” (John 14:16). “Another” in the original language means “another of the same kind.” The Helper, the Holy Spirit, would be just like Jesus. On their own, the disciples were prone to failure, but empowered by the Holy Spirit, they would be able to minister with authority and fruitfulness.
The Spirit of God, Jesus told the disciples, had actually been with them for some time. When Jesus had sent them out two by two to minister, the disciples had healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons by the Spirit (see Mark 6:7–13). But Jesus now told His followers, “He will be in you.”
In a sense, all of us have had the Spirit with us. Before we came to Christ, the Spirit came alongside us and began to prod us, letting us know that we were sinners and needed a Savior.
When we responded to His prompting and asked Jesus to forgive our sins, the Holy Spirit began to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit indwells every true believer in Jesus Christ. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us to give us the life of God—to save us.
Coming Upon Us
Yet, there is a third experience of the Holy Spirit not mentioned in this conversation between Jesus and His disciples: His coming upon us. Jesus referred to this earlier when He cried, “He who believes in Me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And later Jesus would tell His followers, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit comes upon us to give us spiritual power to serve God that His life might pour out onto others and they too be filled with the Spirit.
The disciples would need this empowering because Jesus told them, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (John 14:23). To simply say that we love God is not sufficient. We need to obey—and we can only do this with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Power of the Spirit
As Jesus prepared the disciples for His calling on their lives, they were likely somewhat overwhelmed. But He reminded them again, “Peace I leave with you … let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). They were about to face cataclysmic changes, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, they would do mighty works that would affect the entire world for the kingdom of God.
Are you leaning on your own energy and abilities to serve the Lord, or are you serving Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit? If you lack passion and power in your life or ministry, simply pray, “Lord, fill me.” The Holy Spirit will overflow from your life and use you powerfully for His kingdom.