The Birth of John the Baptist
Now Elizabeth's time had come to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and cousins heard how the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they rejoiced with her.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they were calling him Zechariah, after the name of his father. But his mother answered, "Not so! He shall be called John."
They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name."
They made signs to his father, asking what he would have him called. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he spoke and praised God. Fear came on all who lived around them. And all these facts were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea. All those who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What kind of child will he be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.
The Holy Spirit's Work in John
The theme of the Gospel of John is life—eternal life (John 20:30–31). Because of its wretched condition, the human spirit must be forgiven, cleansed, and made alive to God—in a word, regenerated. This is essentially what happens when we repent of our sins, receive Christ, and are converted or saved. On the basis of Christ's dying in our stead, God forgives us and reckons His perfect righteousness to our account; this is what Paul means by justification (Rom. 3:21–5:21).
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit when He leaves His disciples. The Holy Spirit will be a counselor who teaches and guides believers in all truth (John 14). The Holy Spirit will reveal to Jesus' followers everything that He wants them to know (John 16). After His resurrection Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon His disciples (John 20).
Some of the most important passages in the Bible about the Holy Spirit occur in the Upper Room teaching of Christ (John 13–16). These passages reveal several specific reason for sending the Counselor. First, the Holy Spirit would come to teach Christians "everything" (John 14:26), all that is necessary for their salvation and fellowship with God and for the work of witnessing. Second, the Spirit would come to bear witness concerning Christ (John 15:26). Third, the Paraclete serves as the defense attorney for Christians when they are persecuted by the world. He reproves the world of sin, and convinces the world of righteousness. He convicts the world of judgment. John 15:26 is the most important of these verses, in which Christ says He will send the comforter to His disciples from the Father.
Jesus revealed an additional aspect of the Spirit's coming ministry in John 14:17: "You know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you." Jesus would personally infuse them with His Spirit after His resurrection to share His new life and enhance His fellowship with them.
In John 20 He breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (v. 22). This event is the climax of the Gospel of John. Since that night, those who put their trust in Christ receive His new life at the time of their regeneration. For the very first time in history, God by His Spirit took up residence in redeemed sinners.
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