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This book called "Brothers in God" began life as a Bible Training Institute paper. The college founded by Moody and Sankey is now called the International Christian College in Glasgow, Scotland. Dwight L Moody (1837-1899) was the evangelist, and Ira D Sankey (1840-1908) was the Gospel composer and singer who helped draw the crowds to their meetings. Sankey accompanied himself on a small reed organ on their campaigns across the United States and Britain. It reminds me of happy days playing guitar for children's missions and adult meetings around Britain. It was such a success that Moody and Sankey stayed in Glasgow for five months and ministered to huge crowds there. They founded the college on Bothwell Street in Glasgow, where I was a student between 1970 and 1972. These were delightful days for my new wife and me, enjoying two solid hours of Bible study every morning and other pursuits in the afternoon and evenings. ✞
The theme for my college project paper was "The Jesus Spirit Relationship." The work of the Holy Spirit had always been at best fuzzy to me, so I was glad to delve deeper. I traced every reference to that special relationship in the Old and New Testaments in preparing this paper. I grouped these references around specific topics in the narrative and expanded them to produce a finished essay and this book many years later. ✞
Some fifty years after completing this task, the impact of this special relationship between these two brothers in the deity remains. The gems I discovered about the special relationship of the Spirit, Jesus, and the Heavenly Father appear here. I expanded and illustrated them to share their meaning for a broader audience. I pray that you might receive many blessings from this Bible Study on the extraordinary relationship of these Godhead individuals. As you meditate on the questions posed, may your own spiritual lives be deepened. ✞
The relationship of Jesus to the Spirit is significant on many occasions in Jesus' life. Luke 1.35 explains this relationship of the Spirit to Mary at Jesus' conception, "The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." The phrase "will be called the Son of God" may be translated as "will be called holy." Being called "the holy one" emphasizes the fact that Jesus was and remained without sin. He desires his disciples also to strive to become holy. ✞
We find the Jesus/Spirit relationship at Jesus' baptism in Luke 4.1, when "the Holy Spirit descended on him (Jesus) in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, whom I love, with you, I am well pleased.'" Luke describes the Holy Spirit "in bodily form" like a dove. I am reminded of my visit to the Holy Land some years ago and going to the spot where John the Baptist is reputed to have baptized Jesus. It was a lovely place with trees and bushes on either side of Jordan's flowing river, but I was surprised by several things. The water was not very clean and certainly not inviting. I know the authorities have taken great pains to remedy this situation. I can see why Naaman, the Syrian Army commander, mentioned in 2 Kings 5.1-2, as suffering from leprosy, didn't want to wash in the water here but preferred the rivers back home. He was, however, obedient to what God told him through Elisha, and having bathed; God healed him of his skin disease. ✞
The Jordan River is not very wide here, maybe fifty feet and quite deep. There were ramps and rails into the water. Touristry shops selling cards and tiny bottles of water took away from the moment for me. However, a string of people awaited baptism. I settled for buying a couple of miniature bottles of Jordon River water like most tourists to take home. I used them later for baptisms at my church, much to the delight of the families. ✞
The Holy Spirit later led Jesus to be tempted in the wilderness in Luke 4.1. "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." This "leading of Jesus by the Holy Spirit" is a common theme. The Holy Spirit's power leads Jesus in Luke 4.14, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside." Rumors about Jesus spread, no doubt, after his first miracle turning water into wine. Jesus himself said that he performed his whole ministry in the power of the Spirit. Luke 4.18 explains in Jesus' own words, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor." The Holy Spirit is later involved in Jesus' resurrection from the dead. ✞
In the Acts of the Apostles, there are 57 occasions when the Holy Spirit leads the Early Church. In Romans 8.11, we read, "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." "Through his Spirit" may mean "because of his Spirit." Jesus has a close and intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, and every Christian can claim that too! We learn of the absolute necessity of Jesus' relationship with the Spirit in our own lives. Our mortal bodies' resurrection is guaranteed and fully assured by Jesus' unique relationship with the Spirit! ✞
This unique relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit touches on the meaning and understanding of the Godhead Trinity. The Webster Dictionary defines "Trinity" as "three people or three things as one." In the Holy Trinity, the three persons mentioned are the Heavenly Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. At first glance, the math of three in one in the Trinity doesn't appear to work. Three does not equal one any more than one equals three. The equation seems illogical and difficult to get your head around. It can make the concept of the Trinity very difficult for many people to comprehend. It is, however, worth the struggle to understand it. ✞
The Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity may be better understood using various word pictures. Saints have struggled down the ages to understand and to explain this great mystery. Saint Catherine of Siena in Italy (1347-1380), a Dominican Nun and described as "a mystic, activist and author," wrote about the mystery of the Trinity.
"You, O eternal Trinity, are a deep sea,
into which the more I enter,
the more I find,
and the more I find,
the more I seek."
She became a prominent scholar and theologian despite being a woman in a male-dominated world during the Black Death in Italy. ✞
The Black Death was a bubonic plague across Africa, Asia, and Europe from 1346 to 1353. It was the most lethal pandemic recorded in human history, causing 75–200 million deaths from 1347 to 1351 AD. Catherine was the twenty-third child in her family. However, she was a happy child and nicknamed "Eurosyne," Greek for "Joy." In later life, she lived for many years in almost total silence and solitude but still struggled to understand the relationship of the Spirit and Jesus in the Trinity. She later became the patron saint of nurses, sick people, people ridiculed for their piety and sexual temptation. ✞
Catherine wrote a further poem on the Trinity.
"The abyss cannot satiate the soul,
For she continually hungers after you, the eternal Trinity,
Desiring to see you with the light of your light.
As the heart desires the springs of living water,
So my soul desires to leave the prison of this dark body
and see you in truth." ✞
Catherine had a deep understanding of the Trinity and seemed to grasp something of its depth and complexity. The three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are considered equal in the Trinity. In more modern terminology, the Trinity may appear like "the three slices of an apple pie" in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are equal-sized slices. All three parts are of the same essence, being crust and apple filling, yet the three persons are distinct from one another! ✞
Another helpful analogy for the Trinity to understand Jesus' relationship to the Spirit is considering the three states of water. We are all familiar with water as a plentiful transparent fluid that forms lakes, streams, and oceans. The word "water" comes from the Old English "waeter." The Latin word for "water" and "wet" is "aqua," which gives us "aquamarine," a blue color, "aquarium" as a place to see marine life, and "aqualung" used in deep-sea diving. Interestingly, the company that manufactured the new bathroom sink in my home appropriately called it "akwa." ✞
Water has the chemical name H2O being one oxygen plus two hydrogen atoms. Separately hydrogen and oxygen are highly toxic elements but together become what has been called "the elixir of life." Scientists say that the creation of water is a miracle in itself! Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, and architecture, wrote tellingly, "Water is the driving force of all nature." I happen to have a copy of one of his sketches of "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John." I never cease to wonder at the fineness of the strokes and proportions of the figures. Many people do not notice, however, that Mary is looking down tenderly at her son and at the same time pointing heavenward. I believe Leonardo was quietly indicating that Jesus was a helpless baby to him but also one destined for great things by God. ✞
At average temperatures, water flows like a clear liquid. When heated, it turns into vapor, and when frozen, it becomes ice! Jesus, the Heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit are entirely different forms of the same thing. When heated up to 99.98°C, water vaporizes to semi-transparent gaseous steam. When frozen below 0.00°C, it is as hard as a rock but strangely less dense than water. If you have ever wondered why ice on a lake stays on top of the cold water, it is because as water freezes, its molecules move apart, making ice less dense than water, and so it floats! This phenomenon is the opposite of the norm where materials on cooling down generally become denser. It is another of God's miracles without which no life form in streams, rivers, or lakes could survive a cold winter, especially in the Northern States and Canada! The ice that forms in Wintertime would otherwise sink to the bottom of lakes and rivers and kill most plant and animal life, including fish and turtles! The relationship between these water states is a model for the Holy Spirit's relationship to Jesus. Jesus may be like water, the Holy Spirit as steam and ice like the Heavenly Father. ✞
Water also exists as fog, dew, clouds of many types and shapes, and many different snowflakes. Single ice crystals that have achieved a specific size appear in many different symmetrical shapes as snowflakes. Scientists tell us that individual snowflakes differ in detail like human fingerprints, which is another miracle! They are all different from one another! Snowflakes appear white despite being made of clear ice. They diffuse and reflect the whole spectrum of light through their small crystalline facets. Ice, steam, and water are distinct, even though they are the same material. They are in three quite different states. The Trinity consists of three constituent parts in various states but still combines to form one element. The Jesus relationship to the Spirit and the Heavenly Father is three in one and one in three! ✞