The Spirit in us. We know the story. Jesus came to accomplish something – to establish his kingdom in this world and to work in the hearts of individuals. Words from Jeremiah echo the promise that “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)
Shortly before Jesus indicates the completion of his task, “It is finished,” he told his followers of the Comforter he would send to help and be with us forever (John 14:16). Paul’s words paint additional details for his readers: we are temples of the Holy Spirit, being built together into a dwelling where God lives by his spirit. He lives in me and in us.
If you are like me you may be asking, “Is there evidence of the Spirit’s work in and through me?” While this is a natural question in the West, in Eastern cultures the question might be, “Do people see evidence of fruit in us?” The texts support both ideas, but for those of us from the West, it may be helpful to consider that although Jesus indeed loves me, he does much of his work through us, the collective body of Christ.
The fishermen among the apostles, who Jesus made fishers of men, did their work as a group. During this Advent season the Spirit works in and through us as a family, community and church so that we and others can be filled to the fullest of Christmas joy.
REFLECT + RESPOND
Early Jesus followers had the conviction that their bodies had become the new temple, housing God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Imagine that, the sacred space where heaven and earth overlapped was now humanity. Consider how much dignity and worth that exuded to people who had been walking in darkness.
By Harvey Shepard