"Holy Spirit, ever working, Through the Church's ministry: Quick'ning, strength'ning, and absolving, Setting captive sinners free; Holy Spirit, ever binding, Age to age and soul to soul, In communion never ending, You we worship and extol."
After completing the work His Father sent Him to do, the work of accomplishing our salvation, Jesus ascended to His place of authority at the right hand of the Father. Our Lord promised to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to His followers and, on the day of Pentecost, the gift was given.
Pentecost—the name means fifty—was also called the Feast of Weeks, because seven weeks after Passover the Jews celebrated God's gift of the harvest. On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus rose from the dead, the promised Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and a great harvest of souls was gathered into the church. Jesus had said of the Holy Spirit, "He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:14). On Pentecost, the Spirit glorified Jesus as the apostle Peter proclaimed the crucified and risen Savior as Lord and Christ. The day began as the little band of believers, numbering about 120 in all, gathered for prayer. By the end of the day, about 3,000 more people—enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word of the Gospel—were welcomed into God's kingdom through Baptism.
The promised Spirit, Jesus said, would lead His followers into all the truth and carry out a threefold task: "When He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8). On Pentecost, the Spirit convicted those who heard Peter's sermon. Upon learning that they had crucified the Lord of glory, the people were moved to repentance. Through the Word proclaimed the people learned of the forgiveness found only through faith in Christ, who by His death and resurrection triumphed over sin, death, and the devil. Satan, the ruler of this world (see John 16:11) had been judged and defeated and on Pentecost 3,000 baptized souls were freed from the foe's deadly captivity.
The Holy Spirit still carries out these same tasks today. Whenever and wherever the Gospel is proclaimed, the Spirit is at work, glorifying Jesus. The Helper continues to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. Through the church's ministry the Spirit quickens us, that is, gives us new life in the water and Word of Baptism. Through Word and Sacrament, we who were once captive sinners are absolved of sin and strengthened in faith, set free to serve Jesus Christ, the crucified and Risen One whom, as Peter announced on Pentecost, God has made "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36b).
THE PRAYER: Holy Spirit, we pray that through the inspired Word You would guide us into all truth, and through our lives and our witness glorify Jesus our Savior. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling," which is found on page 650 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Spirits—good or bad—do you believe they exist?
2. How does the Holy Spirit take what belongs to Jesus and declare it to us?
3. How do you notice the Holy Spirit at work in your life?
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