Q. I was recently asked the question,`Did Jesus ever include the Holy Spirit when praying to God?` What would be an appropriate answer to this. ? This person believes the Spirit didn`t come till the day of Pentecost.
A. The recorded prayers we have of Jesus do not indicate that He prayed to the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ prayers were always addressed to the Father (again, that we have recorded in the Gospels), much as we now pray to the Father through Jesus, our intercessor.
While it is true that the ministry of the Holy Spirit was vastly magnified on Pentecost, it would be fallacy to assume that the Holy Spirit did not involve Himself with the workings of earth until that day. Instead, we see Him at work first in Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (ESV).” The ministry of the Holy Spirit was not dissimilar in the Old Testament to the ministry described in the New Testament. Consider that the Holy Spirit gave wisdom and revelation (Deuteronomy 34:9, Micah 3:8, Nehemiah 9:20). It is obvious from these and many other verses that, much as He gives us wisdom now and did in the New Testament (John 16:13), He did so as well in the Old Testament.
Also, much as the Holy Spirit indwells believers now, He did so as well in the Old Testament with men like Joshua, Jepthah, Samson, Samuel, Saul, David, Elijah, Jerubbabel, Jeshua, and countless others. Also, the Holy Spirit was and is an agent to bring about inward renewal of the hearts of believers (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 8:9-16).
The question then, to be asked, is this: What significance is Pentecost? While the Holy Spirit had ministered on earth before Pentecost, there was a difference in the scope and reach of His ministry. The Holy Spirit’s empowerment was not always permanent (see Saul, Samson, Balaam, and consider David’s heartfelt plea for the Holy Spirit not to leave him in Psalm 51:11), and He only empowered certain people and for certain missions (consider that Samson was empowered by the Holy Spirit for the destruction of the Philistines, or Saul being empowered to save the people of Jabesh-Gilead). In contrast, Pentecost was the fulfillment of a powerful prophecy in Joel:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. Joel 2:28-29 (ESV)”
At Pentecost, the Spirit empowered ALL believers, as such people of all ages and positions in life would be filled with the empowering Spirit of the Lord. Pentecost was the beginning of this great prophecy of Joel that continues to be fulfilled today in the lives of believers on whom the Lord’s Spirit and favor rest.
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