Let me summarize the points made in my previous posts.
- One of Luke’s purposes in writing Luke and Acts was to show how the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were fulfillment of promises God had made to Israel through the prophets.
- Those promises included the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which occurred on the Day of Pentecost.
- Linked with that promise was the promise of forgiveness.
- This offer of forgiveness was a second chance for Israel to repent and recognize her Messiah Jesus.
- The tragedy of the book of Acts is that the Jewish leadership and eventually most Jewish people of that time rejected this second chance.
- The language Luke uses to describe the Jewish rejection is consistently the language of blasphemy.
Based on these observations, I conclude that Jesus’ words about Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit were a specific warning to the Jewish people living at that time in Jerusalem.
God would forgive all the wicked things they had said against Jesus and all the atrocities they had done to him because they they did them in ignorance. But the time would come, when the Spirit is poured out and his empowered spokesmen testify that the risen Jesus has been exalted to the eternal throne of David. This is the time to repent and acknowledge their king. If they rail against this second chance, they will not be forgiven.
Does this mean that the Jews are hopelessly lost?
Not at all. This was a warning to a specific generation in a specific place (Jerusalem). Because they rejected their Messiah, the coming doom for Jerusalem could not be averted.
And so it was that in the year 70 A.D., God allowed the Roman legions to invade and utterly destroy the city of Jerusalem.
Application: How Should We Respond?
Though this was a specific warning to a specific people living in a specific place and time, there are lessons here for us.
First, we ought to be thankful God has given us his Spirit. We are not alone in the struggle to live and proclaim the truth about Jesus.
Second, the Holy Spirit continues to give his people boldness to speak out. We must not back dawn from our proclamation. There are elements in our nation who want to silence the church. We must ask God to make us faithful through his Spirit to preach the news of Jesus to the world despite opposition.
Some fear is appropriate here. When God gives us a second chance in life, we would be wise to respond through repentance and obedience.
We should be able to recognize blasphemous behavior that occurs in our own day. Whenever we encounter uncontrolled rage against those who speak the truth, we should recognize that it emanates not from God but from the dark regions of a dark heart.
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Dr. Greg Waddell is passionate about helping church leaders equip their people for ministry. He believes there is wild potential in every believer that begs to be released. He can help you develop and implement practical strategies for increasing the ministry capacity of your congregation.