The Comfort of the Word and Spirit
By Tom Petter
When Martin Luther reflected upon his ministry that literally changed the face of Christianity, he was able to say, "I did nothing, The Word did everything." And (not "but") he also believed the Word was the work of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit-filled Word. There was no false dichotomy between what the Scripture teaches us (Romans 15:4) for our instruction and encouragement (the same word where we get the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7) and the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2).
When Peter, a Galilean fisherman-turned-apostle, seeks an explanation for people speaking in languages they have never learned (Acts 2:1-13), Peter turns to the Word of God (Acts 2:14-35). Joel 2:1-32 is a chapter of restoration and great comfort (Joel 2:26-27). After the devastation in the land, the Lord promises He will restore the harvest in abundant ways (Joel 2:23-24). Only now in Christ, it's no longer in the form of bread, wine and olive oil (Joel 2:24), but it's a spiritual outpouring of the Presence of Christ by His Spirit (Joel 2:28-29). The Spirit fills us and we are filled with His Comfort (John 14:26; see 2 Corinthians 1:3-7). As we are filled with the affective experience of His presence, we are also drawn to the equally encouraging experience of His presence in His Word (Romans 15:4).
"Lord, pour out your Spirit upon us, our families, upon our community, our towns, our neighborhoods. May this outpouring be of Your Spirit in Your presence and Your Word."
Then, we too will say, "we did nothing; the Word did everything."