GSFA Devotional: Bread for Our Journey
31 May 2023
Witnessing the living Jesus and serving through the Holy Spirit in today’s world
John 15:26-27; 1 Peter 4:10-11
After crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples were disappointed, confused and hopeless. Some disciples returned to the previous jobs without knowing how to continue with the ministry Jesus has initiated. But it was the risen Jesus whose appearances and peace which gave the disciples renewed life and hope. This also leads to continuation of God’s Kingdom initiated by Jesus and carried out by his beloved disciples. In the gospels we also read that after Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were told to expect and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helped and enabled the disciples to witness Jesus Christ with boldness and fearlessness. Holy Spirit will be with the disciples “forever” (John 14:16) and will teach them everything and remind them of all that Jesus have said to them. “It will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.” (John 16:13) The whole account of redemptive history mediated by Jesus shows that God is the one who initiates, executes and completes the whole process of saving human beings and the world.
These post crucifixion and resurrection events remind us of how indispensable the role of the Holy Spirit is in witnessing Christ and serving with spiritual gifts nowadays. Sometimes the misery and hopelessness around us can make us feel discouraged, confused and fearful as if we were confronting all those threats and challenges by ourselves, forgetting the presence of the risen Jesus and the Holy Spirit with us. What we need to do is just let him know our situation and be empowered by his living presence in our lives.
Without the presence and help of the Holy Spirit, we would think of ministry as “my” ministry and “our” ministry rooted in our capabilities and intelligence. But the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit indicates that it is solely and purely “God’s” ministry in which each and every one is the instrument in fulfilling God’s will to redeem this world. The epistle of First Peter speaks of being “good stewards of the manifold grace of God”, serving one another with each of our gifts, recognizing those gifts of God to be used for His Glory (1 Peter 4:10-11). Our baptism and confirmation also reminds us of the presence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit in our lives in fulfilling our pledge to be his faithful witness in this challenging and suffering world.
As for the first disciples of Christ, knowing Jesus as the crucified and the risen Lord is key to their ministry. The same is also true for us today that only by knowing Christ will we be able to witness the living Jesus to those who do not know him in this world. As the empowerment and gifts of the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to be God’s abled and faithful proclaimers of God’s redemptive news, so enable the Holy Spirit Christ’s disciples nowadays to be faithful proclaimers and servants of the gospel.
In the collect for peace at morning prayer, we pray: To know you is eternal life; to serve you is true freedom; it is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we obtain eternal life by knowing Jesus, the crucified and the risen Lord, and will be able to serve in true freedom in this challenging world.
Let’s remember in our prayers for the Church catholic in this world that she may not neglect but value the important role of Holy Spirit in leading Christ’ disciples to know Jesus Christ, to witness his living presence to others and to serve with diverse spiritual gifts in this world.
The Most Rev Stephen Than
The Church of the Province of Myanmar