In the Limelight
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”
John 15:26 (NIV)
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘in the limelight’? It means that someone is the centre of attention. Limelight is an intense white light which is produced by heating a piece of lime in a flame of burning oxygen and hydrogen. The effect was discovered in the 1820s by Goldsworthy Gurney and it was widely used in 19th century theatres to illuminate the stage. Leading actors holding the centre of attention on stage were said to be ‘in the limelight’. In other words the spotlight was on them.
This idea of the limelight, or spotlight, is often how I think about the key role of the Holy Spirit. The whole point of a spotlight is to light something up. You don’t look at the spotlight when it’s on, rather you look at what it lights up, whether it be a stage, a path, a building or a person.
The Holy Spirit is the spotlight for Jesus. His work is to illuminate Jesus; to testify about Jesus and the work Jesus has done. The gospel writer John records Jesus as saying, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-14) In the Message paraphrase it says, “the Spirit of the Truth…won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I [Jesus] have done and said. He will honour me [Jesus].”
The Spirit’s work is to take the work of Jesus and make it known to us and in doing that, He brings glory to Jesus. On the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit came accompanied by the sound of a violent wind and what seemed like tongues of fire and the speaking of different languages, you might have expected Peter’s sermon to have centred on the Holy Spirit, His gifts or at least the fruit of Spirit. But the thrust of his message was “…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:21) The Holy Spirit then goes on to inspire Peter to speak about the life (Verse 22), the death (Verse 23), the resurrection (Verse 24) and the ascension of Jesus (Verse 33), with the purpose of demonstrating that Jesus is indeed “both Lord and Messiah” (Verse 36).
The spotlight was on Jesus; the Holy Spirit had placed Jesus in the limelight. As a result the people were “cut to the heart”, asking what they should do (Verse 37). The way the Holy Spirit penetrates into people’s hearts is by shining a light on Jesus.
If we are living a Spirit-filled life, our words and deeds will be illuminating Jesus and, as on the Day of Pentecost, it will affect people.
Father, help me to keep in step with the Spirit, ensuring that Jesus is always in the limelight.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local Congregational Contact:
Phone: 020 8202 3998