NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: John 15:26-27, 16:7-15
Discussion Question: What’s a memorable parade you’ve watched or attended?
Food for Thought by Robby Gallaty*:
New Orleans is known as a city of never-ending parties, but it’s also a city of parades. Lots of parades! For almost no money at all, you can rent a parade. Getting married? Have a parade. Celebrating a birthday? Have a parade. Celebrating because it’s a Thursday? Have a parade.
When a parade comes down the street, it grabs everyone’s attention – whether or not they want their attention grabbed! Everyone sees the parade and certainly hears it (and often are inconvenienced by it). Parades aren’t meant to be subtle and quiet.
The people in the parade do what they can to draw attention to something they consider worth celebrating.
The Holy Spirit’s role is a lot like that parade, but for a far greater reason. He works tirelessly to magnify the work of Jesus. He works in and through our lives to draw attention to Someone worth celebrating. Since that’s the role of the Holy Spirit, why do we spend so little time talking about Him? Jesus gave us great insight into this too-little-discussed member of the Trinity.
It wasn’t easy for Jesus’ disciples to know Jesus was leaving. During Jesus’ last night with the disciples before His arrest, He explained why it was a good thing that He was going away (John 14). He explained it in terms of a gift; but this wasn’t just any gift! The gift was the Holy Spirit! God’s Spirit would do two things for them. The Holy Spirit would testify about Jesus and He would empower the disciples to testify about Jesus. Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus reminded His disciples of this gift as He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The disciples might not have understood then how powerful these two statements were, but they would soon find out. Acts 2 records the first time they saw the power of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. In Jerusalem, the Festival of Pentecost was in full swing, and Jews from all over the world came to celebrate. On the day of Pentecost, the celebration turned to amazement. Without warning, the Holy Spirit came in a rush and made something unprecedented happen.
“They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:3-4).
Just as Jesus had said in John 15, the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to preach about Him so others could understand. Over and over in the Book of Acts, we see people doing amazing things through the Holy Spirit – and every time the purpose was to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives to help us magnify the work of Jesus. The more time we spend listening to Him, the easier obeying His direction will become.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.
* Robby Gallaty is senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.