Aloha Friday Message – April 15, 2016 – JOY FULL

1616AFC041516 – Joy Full

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Acts 13:52 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Welcome back! This short verse comes from the first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter which begins “Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia” Perga was a very ancient city near the Mediterranean Sea in what is now Turkey.  Pisidia was a region – a small nation – farther north around Antioch. These two maps will give you a bit of an idea where Paul and Barnabas were.


We see in this verse from the Acts of the Apostles that the “disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” I want to look at what we mean when we say “Holy Spirit.” In the King James Version of this verse it says, “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” I think we tend to imagine the Holy Spirit as something – or rather someone – invisible, able to move through solid objects, not confined by time or space, and even kind of spooky. When we read of or speak about “spirits,” we think about a phantom or phantasm or specter or apparition the “soul” of someone who is deceased. We also tend to think of the Holy Spirit as strictly a New Testament phenomenon. As the character “Sportin’ Life” said in Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess, “it ain’t necessarily so.” Let’s look at some passages from the Old Testament first just to get a handle on how that term was used.

Psalm 51:1111 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Isaiah 63:11-13 – Then they remembered the days of old,
of Moses his servant.
Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea
with the shepherds of his flock?
Where is the one who put within them
his holy spirit,
12 who caused his glorious arm
to march at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
to make for himself an everlasting name,
13     who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
they did not stumble.

Of course we all remember Genesis 1:1-2. The wind blowing over the waters was the Spirit of God, the Breath of God, the same Breath he blew into Adam. In the New Testament, we find many references to the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost.

Luke 11:1313 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

John 7:37-3937 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Acts 2:4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

1 Corinthians 12 – This whole chapter describes the actions of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-1413 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Matthew 1:1818 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

Mark 12:3636 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

Obviously then the Holy Spirit had to be present from the time of creation all the way up through the book of Revelation.  But what about that passage in the seventh chapter of John? Why does it say “for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”? Good question! Before we develop the answer, I think we need to take a look at what we mean when we say the Holy Spirit.

In the Old Testament, the words used for Holy Spirit are וְר֥וּחַ קָ֝דְשְׁךָ֗ – (ruwach) {roo’-akh} = spirit and (qodesh) {ko’-desh} = holy. Ruwach is the same word used in Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 51:11. It is the Breath of God, the Wind of Creation. Qodesh is the Hebrew word for Holy. The most fundamental meaning or sense of that word is “separate” or “special” or “different” or “set apart” as in “consecrated.” The temple was Holy because it was “set apart” and was different from other buildings. The Tabernacle in the Temple was holier than the Temple because it was even more different and even more set apart. In the Old Testament, then, the Holy Spirit, is different, set-apart, separate from other wind or breath. It is quite simply Holy because it comes from God; in fact, it is God.

In the New Testament, the words for Holy Spirit are Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι. Ἁγίῳ Hagiō (hagio) {hag’-ee-o} = holy and Πνεύματι (Pneumati) {pnyoo’-mah-ti}. Would it surprise you to know that Hagiō means “different,” or “set-apart,” or “special?” What about Pneumati? Do you recognize that root pneum? We see it in pneumonia, pneumatic, and pneumonic. The root for that is πνεῦμα (pneuma) {pnyoo’-mah} which means (you guessed it!) BREATH – a gentle gust, breath from the nostrils or the mouth, the Breath of Life. In Hebrew or Greek, “Holy Spirit” means a breath that is different because it is not of this world, not like any other breath, set apart and consecrated as totally unique and it is Holy because it is God’s Breath.

Looking back at our opening passage from Acts 13, we can see why “the disciples were filled with joy.” They were filled with – baptized with – THE Holy Spirit. There’s only one, and they had it! Baptize, you will remember, means “to be fully immersed.” I can think of no better reason to be filled with joy and to know I have the Breath of God in and around me! The passage says, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

One more Greek word that is important in this short verse – filled. The Greek verb for fill is Πληρόω (pléroó) {play-ro’-o}. The connotation is that of being filled with abundance, make full, to complete, to fill to the brim so there is nothing lacking, to make complete in every possible way, to render perfect. The disciples were perfectly happy and perfectly filled to the brim with divine Joy and with the Holy Spirit; however, we have not fully addressed John’s startling statement about Jesus: “for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” How can we make sense of that given that we know the Holy Spirit has been the principle motive force behind everything from Creation to speaking in tongues? Jesus himself gives us some clues about this.

In John 16:7-10, Jesus says, Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer;

In John 16:13-14, Jesus says 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Holy Spirit will be present to Jesus’ disciples, and through them present to us, in a new and different way, a knowable way that is something new “because he will take what is [Jesus’] and declare it to you.” The disciples will know the Holy Spirit as a Paraclete, a Companion, an Advocate, a Friend, and a Unifier of the Church. Not only do they receive the Power of the Holy Spirit, but also they can share the Holy Spirit by passing him forward into the lives of others as we declare the Life of Christ in us.They were sealed with the Holy Spirit  when they “were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” It is that indelible mark we receive when we give our lives to Christ and he claims us as his own. This new relationship with the Holy Spirit was determined by Providence before creation and could only be given to us after the Glorified Lord returned to his Father in Heaven. It is indeed the same Holy spirit that moved over the face of the deep, but now when he moves, he moves in and around us as well. God’s perfect plan was to make HIS Spirit, HIS Holiness, available to us again. Now, through the faith we have in the Christ of God, that part of his Plan is a reality that must indeed “make our joy complete.” Jesus himself said that in John 15:1111 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. And guess what. That word complete is – ahhhh, you guessed it! Πληρόω (pléroó) {play-ro’-o}!!! You will be JOY FULL!


Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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