We have now completed the first two articles of the Apostles’ Creed on the Father and the Son. That brings us to the third article on the Holy Spirit, the church, and last things.
Memorization for the Week
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
When Jesus was talking to his disciples on the night before his death, knowing that he would soon leave them (not only for a short time when he died, but for a longer time after he rose and ascended to heaven), he said these words to them in John 16:7: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” In other words, Jesus told his disciples, “It is good for you that I am leaving.” How in the world could that be good?
The reason it is good for Jesus to go away, he says, is that when Jesus goes away (by ascending to heaven), that means his mission has been completed. And once his mission has been completed, he can give us the blessing of his completed mission: the Holy Spirit, who is God himself, dwelling in us! Before Jesus died and rose again, the gift of the Holy Spirit had not been given to all of God’s people. The Spirit came on some of the leaders of the people, but the blessing of God’s presence was not given to very many because of the sins of the people.
But now that Jesus has moved our sins out of the way, we can have the blessings promised in the new covenant, and the greatest blessing is the Holy Spirit. So think of it this way: would it be better to be with Jesus (like the disciples were) before he died and rose again, or to be without him (like we are) but with the presence of the Holy Spirit in us (if we believe the gospel and trust in Jesus alone)? According to Jesus in John 16:7, we actually have it better than the disciples did when Jesus was with them! The gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s very presence living in us to give us love for him and to empower us to serve him.
Of course, the best of all will be when we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus with us in the flesh when he comes again. But until then, we can wait and rely on the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in us and through us.