The Holy Spirit: Our Advocate and Intercessor

The Holy Spirit: Our Advocate and Intercessor

Primary Text: Acts 2:1-21

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every people under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 
‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit,
        and they shall prophesy.
19 
And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 
The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
- Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: one God in three persons, we’ll talk more about what that means next week, but today we are going to focus in on one of the persons: The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the person of God who is at the same time closest to us and also most mysterious (person who not thing which). The Holy Spirit is closer than our very breathe, with us and at work in us, and through us, and around us every day. This leads to a lot of questions: how is the holy spirit at work? What does the Holy Spirit do? But before we answer those exciting questions, it is best to begin by who the Spirit is.

In John 14:25-26, Jesus promises his apostles that after he ascends into heaven the Father will send the Spirit, and he names the Spirit by a really interesting title.

25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
- John 14:25-26

This is who the Holy Spirit is: The Advocate, the Holy Spirit is our advocate. The Greek word Jesus uses is paraklētos, which refers a legal advocate who pleads a case in front of a judge, like a defense attorney or legal advocate who works on behalf of a child or a disabled adult who who is non-verbal and unable to speak and and for themselves. (Faithlife Study bible) The Holy Spirit is our Advocate. Let that sink in: the Spirit of the living God, the third person of the triune Godhead, is our advocate.

One of the fundamental things ways that The Holy Spirit works in the world is by speaking when we have no words: both by giving us words to speak, and by speaking for us when there are no words. The first great work of the Holy Spirit, when fire descended upon the apostles, signifying the holy presence of God, the first great act of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament was an act of divine translation. These people needed to hear the gospel, but the problem was that the apostles literally did not have the words, they didn’t speak the languages, so the Holy Spirit translated in each persons ear so each person heard the gospel in their own language.

This is why we don’t need to worry when we are getting ready to face difficult times: “What will I do?” “What will I say?” The Holy Spirit, God almighty is with you! Think about your life, all the times that someone just said exactly what you needed to hear, and all the ways you have been made better not just by great speeches, or songs, or books, but by people, your friends, family, colleagues, just saying what you needed to hear.

I remember one day that I was getting ready for a funeral, a particularly difficult one, and did not know how I was going to get through it, how I could give comfort to the family when I was a mess, myself. Then as they were walking into the church, someone who has more experience with comforting people in the midst of tragedy than anyone I have ever met, stopped and pulled me aside. She simply said something to the effect of, “I would hate to be in your shoes; this has to be hard.” That was exactly what I needed to hear. For the first time in a long, long, time someone saw me. That’s the Holy Spirit at work. A few short words that made a world of difference. There is no doubt in my mind that God worked through her that day, that The Holy Spirit gave her the insight to say exactly what i needed to hear.

Even when there are no words at all, when when you don’t even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, your Advocate speaks for you, prays for you. In Romans 8:26, the Apostle Paul says this:

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words."
- Romans 8:26 (NRSV)

Even when there are no words at all, when when you don’t even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, your Advocate speaks for you, prays for you. Let that sink in. The Spirit of the Living God prays for you when you do not know how to pray.

Whatever you face you do not face it alone. God is with you. Even when you find the words to pray, the Spirit of God prays for you. Our Advocate is with us. This is why we do not need to fret, this sis why we do no need to worry about what tomorrow even when it’s bringing something difficult do handle. The same Holy Spirit who was with the Apostles on that day of Pentecost is with us now on this day of Pentecost and will be with us every single day of our lives.

This is why it’s going to be okay. That is why we’re going to be okay. We talked about some heavy stuff last week about the conflict in the church that we will have to deal with. This is why it’s going to be okay, this is why we are going to be okay. I don’t know how we are going to see it through, but I do know who will see us through, and he is more than capable, he is powerful and glorious and worthy of all praise and honor, and he will see us through. There is this great song by the band Switchfoot, called Hello Hurricane, the chorus begins: “Hello hurricane, you’re not enough. Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.” Church let us rise in hope, let us rise in faith, let us rise knowing that the Spirit of the living God is with us today, tomorrow, and always, let us rise and praise our great and glorious God!

(P.S. If you’d like to listen to Hello Hurricane, check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Era-UhFAeQ)