31 July 2014

The Spirit glorifies the Son

by Dan Phillips

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Dan back in December 2006. Dan pointed out that the Holy Spirit's primary focus is drawing attention to Jesus, not to Himself.

As usual, the comments are closed.
Most of our readers are old enough to remember Ed McMahon, the genial MC for The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson. His job was to announce the show, and introduce Johnny Carson. Then he sat out there, played straight man to Johnny, laughed at his jokes, made Carson look good.

Through the years, Carson had various guest hosts including, I think, Seinfeld, Leno, Letterman, and Brenner. Never, as far as I know, Ed McMahon.

My allusion to McMahon has one point, and one only:
McMahon's job was go make another person look good, to draw attention to him. It was to produce anticipation, and then, with his famous "Heeeeere's Johnny!", to bring on the star of the show.

If the camera had remained on McMahon, if the spotlight had been trained on him, immediately we'd have known something was very wrong. Ed wasn't the focus. Nor have I ever heard that McMahon resented his role. In fact, when he wrote a book, it was titled Here's Johnny!, not Hey, Look at Me! McMahon's job was defined, he embraced it, and he did it well.

So, where am I going with this? Am I suggesting that the Holy Spirit, then, is like Ed McMahon? In virtually no way. The august Person of God the Holy Spirit produced Scripture (2 Peter 1:21), was involved in Creation (Genesis 1:2), empowered Jesus' ministry (Luke 4:14), is the mode of believers' immersion into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), seals us until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), and a great deal more. He is God.

But there is one point of analogy, and one only: the delight and joy of the Holy Spirit is not to train attention upon Himself. The Holy Spirit's great love, fascination, and focus, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before the Incarnation, the Spirit moved in the prophets. And of what did He speak through them? Among other things, He spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and of His glories to follow (1 Peter 1:11).

The Holy Spirit performed the miracle by which the virgin, Mary, became mother to the human nature of the Messiah (Matthew 1:18,20Luke 1:35). He appeared at Jesus' baptism, not to flutter in mid-air until everyone noticed and admired Him, but to rest on Christ, to mark Him out as Yahweh's anointed (Matthew 3:16; cf. Luke 4:18).

And so the power of the Spirit continued in the ministry of Jesus, to guide Him in what He did (Matthew 4:1), and to bring glory and honor to Jesus, marking Him as God's Son (Matthew 12:28Acts 10:38). This He did preeminently in Jesus' resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).

And what would the Spirit do after Christ's resurrection and ascension? More of the same. "He will glorify me," Jesus says of the Spirit, "for he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (John 16:14). It is worth repetition: "He will glorify me." In fact, the Greek is a bit more emphatic: "That one, Me will He glorify." The Spirit will come to bring glory, and it is to Jesus that He will bring this glory.

Imagine that. God though He is, personal though He is, the Spirit's aim is not to glorify Himself. It is to glorify Jesus. And how does the Holy Spirit do that? By imparting inerrant revelation to the apostles, revelation which we have today in the Bible alone. He did this by granting them inerrant memory of Jesus' words (John 14:26), by bearing witness to them about Jesus (John 15:26), by convicting the world of truths related in each case to Jesus (John 16:8-11), and by continuing to tell them the "many things" that Jesus still had to say to them (John 16:12-13). Jesus emphasizes this last point, assuring the apostles that the Spirit would not speak aph' heautou, from Himself, but rather from Jesus.