More on the Holy Spirit in the New Testament: What did Jesus teach about the Holy Spirit in the Synoptic Gospels?
This post is part of a series that explores the activity of the Holy Spirit through the Bible from beginning to end. You can read the whole shebang here.
As in the last post, my focus now is on the Synoptic Gospels–Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These three contain similar material. We’ll examine the Gospel of John on its own later. The previous post explored the Synoptic Gospel passages that described the activity of the Holy Spirit. This post considers Jesus’ teachings on the Spirit in the Synoptic Gospels. I am only looking at passages where the Spirit is mentioned explicitly. One thing you will notice in the next post (on Acts) is how Jesus’s teachings in the Synoptics are fulfilled in the activity of the infant church.
In one passage, Jesus tells his disciples:
“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say. . . At that time you will be given what
to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matt.
10:19-20; cf. Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12).
In another passage, Jesus tells the Pharisees:
“Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be
forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who
speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt.
12:31-32; cf. Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10).
I am not ashamed to admit that I am unable to tell you precisely what this passage means. So let’s move on . . .
In Matthew, before his ascension, Jesus commissions his apostles:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . .” (Matt. 28:19).
In Luke’s version, Christ adds further instructions:
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in [Jerusalem] until you have been
clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
Back to my original question: What did Jesus teach about the Holy Spirit in the Synoptic Gospels? The answer is not much! This was a short post! Although the Synoptic Gospels contain many references to the Spirit, these references are mostly about the Spirit’s activity in the story rather than teachings from Jesus on a theological subject. As we’ll see later, the Gospel of John is a whole different kettle of fish. Stay tuned, internet friends!
Like this post? Share it! And read about what God’s indwelling Spirit does for you in my book, Heaven’s Muscle.
Bren Hughes (M.A., M.Div., J.D.) is a lawyer and former minister who lives in the hills of Kentucky.