In his incarnate life, death, resurrection and ascension, the Father’s Son himself has embraced the human race and given us a place in his own relationship with his Father. And Jesus has included us in his own anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us to free us to live our true lives as joint-heirs with Jesus and adopted children of the Father.
Most discussions of the Holy Spirit’s coming and ministry tend to divorce the work of the Spirit in our lives from Jesus himself, and from Jesus’ ongoing relationship with us in our brokenness. At best, it seems, the Holy Spirit has been understood as coming to us on the basis of what Jesus did for us. It is as if Jesus came and did his thing, then that chapter is closed, and the Holy Spirit comes and does his, and there is not much of a connection between the two. It seems to me, however, that the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit is profoundly interrelated with Jesus, and with Jesus’ ongoing relationship with us as sinners. The Holy Spirit comes to us not only on the basis of what Jesus has done for us, but in and through Jesus himself and his own ongoing relationship with us in our terrible darkness.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to live by meeting and accepting and embracing us—in and through Jesus—as we are in our brokenness and shame, and terrible and terrifying blindness, and there in our brokenness and blindness and shame, the Holy Spirit empowers us by revealing Jesus, not simply to us, but in us. For Jesus is already within us with his Father.
As the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus in us, we begin to get glimpses of who we really are and of how deeply and personally we are loved and accepted by the Father himself. These moments of revelation, in the trauma of our darkness, challenge our entrenched beliefs about ourselves and about God. We are summoned to takes sides with Jesus against our own mythology, summoned to believe in Jesus and his Father, and in ourselves as loved and accepted and embraced.
Believing in Jesus is accepting our acceptance; it is receiving the Father’s love, and thus Jesus’ own parrhesia—freedom, assurance, confidence, boldness and life—is free to take baby steps within us. Our anointing in the Holy Spirit in Jesus begins to flourish in our own experience and life.
The Holy Spirit is a redeeming genius, most competent to meet us where we are in our darkness, and without overwhelming us to lead us to begin to use Jesus’ right mind, and to risk leaving our own darkness and its strange comfort, embracing the new world of the Father and his incarnate Son.
For more on Jesus inside our darkness, see my book Across All Worlds.