After being inspired by the miraculous story behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, I was doing some reading in the Gospels and fell upon two particular verses in the Bible that stayed with me. I felt they were worth sharing with those who might be curious about the nature of the Holy Spirit, and how it may apply to our modern lives.
Everyone remembers the ending of Dr. Martin Luther King’s powerful, unforgettable address to a country in crisis, but few people recall how the last seven minutes of his speech were entirely off script—meaning, it wasn’t what he originally wrote down to speak to us. You hear a story like this and you are instantly intrigued by the phenomenon of this particular fact. But, because his delivery was so powerful and profound, sometimes you forget what really happened that day in Washington D.C.
From Chapter 4 of The Dream: Martin Luther King and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Drew D. Hansen:
“For nearly every one of the 250,000 people at the march and the millions watching on television, the last seven minutes of King’s speech were like nothing they had ever heard before. When King left his prepared text and began to preach about his dreams for the nation, several of his closest associates realized that something astonishing was happening. Clarence Jones was following along with an advance copy of King’s speech and when he realized King had left his text, he thought, ‘He’s off; he’s on his own now. He’s inspired,’ As King stepped away from the podium, Ralph Abernathy embraced him and told him that the Holy Spirit had taken hold of him during the speech. King himself didn’t quite know what to make of what had happened: The ‘I have a dream’ refrain just came to him, ‘just all of a sudden’” (164).
Holy Spirit Reign
In God’s Word, we get a good glimpse into what the Holy Spirit means, both practically and spiritually speaking, when you look at these verses in the Gospels and the book of Acts. Among many other things, these specific verses highlight 1. how accessible the Holy Spirit is, and 2. the true nature/essence of the Holy Spirit. The following verses are given by both Jesus (in Luke 11:11-13) and John the Baptist (in John 1:32-33):
Luke 11:11-13 (New International Version)
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
John 1: 32-33 (New International Version)
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’”
Everything comes together in regards to the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ resurrection in the book of Acts:
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Four time All-American, WNBA Champion, Edutainer and Coach