This week’s scripture reading, Matthew 10:19-20
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
The setting for this passage of scripture takes place when Jesus instructs his twelve disciples to go out and preach to the lost sheep of Israel that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 10:5-8). Picture yourself for a moment as one of the twelve during this time in world history. Here you have been following Jesus around for quite some time but now he is telling you to go preach to fellow Jews on his behalf. First he empowers you though with miraculous powers as noted in Matt. 10:8, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. Then he warns you that not everyone or every town will receive your message but they will deliver you up to the councils and will scourge you in their synagogues and you will be brought before governors and kings (Matt. 10:17-18). Would you have accepted the mission before you?
The setting above then brings us to this week’s scripture reading when Jesus assures his disciples that they are to take no thought, or worry, on how or what they will say; rather he tells them that it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking in you, or on your behalf. What a statement! How often have we been in a situation or circumstance when we fumbled for words or doubted our message and yet perhaps we only needed to trust that God was speaking to us or in this case through us? This may have occured while trying to share the message of the gospel with someone or maybe just during conversation in everyday life. Perhaps it raises the question though, does God speak in the scriptures?
Well, this quickly becomes evident in the first chapter of the Bible during the creation of the world as recorded in Gen. 1:3, And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Following this, God then first spoke to people in Gen. 1:28, And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. But did you know some of the most well known biblical characters struggled with trusting in God to speak on his behalf?
Take Moses for example. He was instructed by the Lord to go and speak on his behalf to Pharaoh who ruled Egypt and was a tyrant over the people of Israel. Here is what Moses said to the Lord in Ex. 4:10-16, And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I [am] not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I [am] slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. What doubt, what lack of faith, and the Lord rebukes Moses for this in the next verses in Ex. 4:11-12, And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
The story ensues further with Moses continuing to doubt himself but this kindled the anger of the Lord even more. Eventually Aaron, the brother of Moses was sent along with him to Pharaoh to speak on his behalf. If only Moses had realized the incredible role and prominence he would play in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
We should consider how the Father can prepare us to speak or to speak on our behalf under any circumstances. Perhaps some humour would be helpful to show how the Lord can use anyone, or for that matter, anything in this regard. Consider the situation when the angel of the Lord was trying to protect Balaam from going off in the wrong direction. Despite his obstinance and mistreatment of his donkey, it was recorded in Num. 22:28, And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass , and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? That would have truly been a sight for Balaam! * (ass – donkey) * (smitten – to strike)
Oracles of God
Also consider how King David often expressed words of praise on behalf of the Lord such as in Ps. 145:21, My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever. Or consider how the ancient prophets spoke as the oracles of the Lord himself as documented in Is. 59:21, As for me, this [is] my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that [is] upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Jesus and the Father
At this juncture, let us now transition into the New Testament to see how Jesus trusted in the Father during his earthly ministry. But, first, notice how it is recorded by the apostle John that Jesus is the only one who has actually seen the Father in John 1:18, No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him. Then as the earthly ministry of Jesus gets underway, he makes the statement that God is a spirit in John 4:24, God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth. Notice how this ties into what Jesus said in this week’s scripture reading, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
In a world often obsessed with self improvement, self esteem, self worth, self everything, consider how this is in contrast to Jesus during his earthly ministry. After all, this is the Son of God who was manifest in human flesh, but Jesus emptied himself and made himself of no reputation: Phil. 2:6-8, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is noted in this Bible study because we will now see how Jesus lived on earth in complete interdependence upon the Father.
The Father sent Jesus
As Jesus preached he also clarified how he was not just speaking about physical life but spiritual life as noted in John 6;63, It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. From there, Jesus starts to bring the focus not onto himself but onto the Father as recorded in his statement from John 8:26, I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. Jesus then takes it even further with more pronounced emphasis on the Father in John 8:28, Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he,] and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. In this same passage, he also rebukes the skeptical Jews by indicating their father is not the real heavenly Father in John 8:38, I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Later on in the Gospel according to John, Jesus again challenges the unbelieving Jews by reiterating his work is indeed the work of the Father in John 10:25, Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. One of the most profound statements Jesus made in this regard was also a reflection of the triune God and of his own deity as stated in John 10:30, I and [my] Father are one. If you are in doubt over this statement of deity, learn how the Jews reacted by wanting to stone Jesus for as they stated in John 10:33, because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus though continued in this same manner by emphasizing the importance of how the Father and him are in each other as noted in John 10:37-38, If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
The Everlasting Commandment
As his earthly ministry continued in the midst of unbelieving and skeptical Jews, Jesus maintained his resolve to consistently present the message of his reliance upon the Spirit of your Father in John 12:49-50, For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. Still not convinced of the Father and Son’s unique interrelationship? Let us then continue on as Jesus brings more focus on this subject from John 14:10, Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Even during the many parables and proverbs from Jesus, he endeavoured to give clarification to the people about the Spirit of your Father in John 16:25, These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. Finally, in the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus is recorded giving a lengthy prayer to the Father in heaven. As he does this, he once again makes the most profound statement in John 17:21, That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. Jesus leaves no ambiguity that he was sent by the Father into the world and that he was without a doubt fulfilling the will of the Father.
Eternal Life through Jesus
This same chapter also starts out with an astonishing message from Jesus as he starts his prayer to the Father in John 17:1-3, These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Here is the gospel message for anyone seeking new life in Christ by faith.
Let us close off this Bible study on the Spirit of your Father by noting a few more verses from the words of Jesus. While this verse was previously noted, let’s expand on it a bit further once again noting the interrelationship with the Father in John 8:28, Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he,] and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Do you see the many similarities with these words Jesus spoke portraying his dependency upon the Father and how they are also reflected in this week’s scripture reading to the apostles? It was no different in his prayers to the Father in faith as expressed in John 11:48, And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said [it,] that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
The Christian Life
Step back for a moment and give some thought to all of these passages of scripture on the Spirit of your Father. If Jesus lived his earthly life in complete dependence upon the Father, should we not also live our lives in the same manner? The Christian life is not meant or intended to be lived through self will and self effort. It is not meant to be lived in self improvement, better self esteem and self worth. It is to be lived in submission of and dependence upon the Lord. By living a life of faith in God and by loving him with all of our heart, soul and mind, this then brings us to one last message from Jesus in John 14:23, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. This truly is Christianity. This is the Spirit of your Father!
Bible Study Questions
- In this study on the Spirit of your Father, ask yourself if you were one of the apostles, would your faith have trusted Jesus’s statement about the Father speaking on your behalf?
- Can you name the very first verse in the Bible when God spoke?
- Why do you think Moses felt so inadequate to speak on God’s behalf to Pharaoh?
- Why did Jesus make so many statements to the Jews about his interdependence upon the Father?
- Can you find the verses in John where Jesus speaks of the everlasting commandment from the Father? Hint – John 17:1-3
- In this study, who is it that gives believers eternal life? Hint – same verses as question 5.
- What is something you can do today to live in more reliance upon the Spirit of your Father and less on your own effort?
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