The Holy Spirit's distinctive role is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry
in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. So far as this role was concerned, the Spirit
"was not yet" (John 7:29, literal Greek) while Jesus was on earth; only when the
Father had glorified him (John 17:1, 5) could the Spirit's work of making men aware of
Jesus' glory begin.
I remember walking to church one winter evening to preach on the words, "He will
glorify me" (John 16:14), seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and
realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is
well done, the floodlights are placed so that you do not see them; in fact, you are not
supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the
building on which the floodlights are trained. The intended effect is to make it visible
when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness, and to maximize its dignity by
throwing all its details into relief so that you can see it properly. This perfectly
illustrated the Spirit's new covenant role. He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight
shining on the Savior.
Or think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over
our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit's message to us is never,
"Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me", but always, "Look
at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get
to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace." The Spirit, we might say, is the
matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ
together and ensure that we stay together.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold
Shaw Publishers, 1986.
Gordon Brownville's Symbols of the Holy Spirit tells about the great Norwegian explorer Roald
Amundsen, the first to discover the magnetic meridian of the North Pole and to discover the South
Pole. On one of his trips, Amundsen took a homing pigeon with him. When he had finally reached the top of the world, he opened
the bird's cage and set it free. Imagine the delight of Amundsen's wife, back in Norway, when she looked up from the
doorway of her home and saw the pigeon circling in the sky above. No doubt she exclaimed, "He's alive! My husband is still alive!"
So it was when Jesus ascended. He was gone, but the disciples clung to his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. What joy,
then, when the dovelike Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples had with them the continual reminder that Jesus was
alive and victorious at the right of the Father. This continues to be the Spirit's message.