A Reflection on Pentecost Sunday: The Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Holy Spirit

Jaime Cortez
Jaime Cortez

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Pentecost. True to his promise, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples at the Upper Room. We find this recorded in Acts 2, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (verses 1-4).

Who is the Holy Spirit? Straight answer is that He is God himself. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity – three coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial persons in one God. Among many other biblical references, this can be seen in the words of Jesus in the great commission – to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19).

Together with God the Father and the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was already in existence from the very beginning. We see him mentioned in the opening verses of the first book of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen 1:1-2). We can also see him working silently in the lives of many prophets in the Old Testament, and the many great miracles that Jesus performed in the New Testament. To top it all, it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the crucified Christ rose from the dead (Rom 8:11).

Words will not be enough to completely describe the identity of the Holy Spirit, just as it would be difficult to picture the Father and the Son in their fullness. Thus, let us just take a glimpse of the Holy Spirit in terms of three characteristics: his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.

The Holy Spirit is omnipotent; he is all-powerful. His role in creation was reiterated, in reference to God, in Job 26:13, “By his Spirit, He adorned the heavens; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.” His power was also seen in the annunciation when Mary, asking the angel how she would conceive when she had no relations with any man, received this answer, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God“ (Lk 1:35). And not to escape notice, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we all live; he is the giver of life (Jn 6:63).

The Holy Spirit is omniscient; he is all-knowing. Scriptures tell us, “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10). In fact, a common definition given to the Bible is that it contains the words of God which were written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is in line with Peter who wrote, “No prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21). And as part of his farewell discourse, Jesus told his disciples, “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:25-26).

Lastly, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent; he is everywhere. The psalmist expressed this lucidly when he said, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast” (Ps 139:7-10). And now, beginning on that momentous Pentecost Sunday, God, through his Spirit, is no longer just with us; more than that, he is within us. Paul emphasized this when he asked, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you” (1 Cor 3:16)?

Given these important qualities of the Holy Spirit, what are the implications to us, believers? First, that God, in general, and the Holy Spirit, in particular, is omnipotent means that we are standing on a strong foundation; there are no forces of evil that can overpower us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Rom 8:31)? Second, that because of the omniscience of the Holy Spirit (and the triune God), we should be authentic, faithful, and sincere in our relationship with him and our neighbors. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13). Third, with the omnipresence of God as evidenced by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we must respect our bodies as God’s temples. Consequently, Paul said, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom 12:1). Of course, this list is not exhaustive. We can think of a thousand and one more implications of God being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

This Pentecost Sunday and beyond, may we offer equal worship and praise to the Holy Spirit who, with the Father and the Lord Jesus, is a Divine Person of the One True God.

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