Inspiration

It would appear that Christians see the Holy Spirit as Someone who inspires them to do the right thing.

Paul, an early Christian writer, lists the qualities he says that the Holy Spirit inspires in people. He mentions love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are all admirable characteristics which anyone would all be pleased to have.

But that’s not the half of it. Christians also believe that the Holy Spirit inspires what people say. So, of course, do Muslims:

“(The day) when God saith: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity.”

— Qur’an, sura 5 (Al-Ma’ida), ayat 110

And:

“Raised high above ranks (or degrees), (He is) the Lord of the Throne (of Authority): by His Command doth He send the Spirit (of inspiration) to any of His servants he pleases, that it may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting.”

— Qur’an, sura 40 (Ghafir), ayat 15

On one occasion, Jesus breathed on his students and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

See how similar this is to what we read in the Holy Quran:

“But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His Spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give!”

— Qur’an, sura 32 (As-Sajda), ayat 9

Interestingly, when Nicodemus visited Jesus with a number of questions, Jesus told that he needed to be born again of the Holy Spirit before he could understand spiritual matters.

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Why does Jesus mention being “born of water”? Well, some Christians believe this means the practice of baptism. Others think it’s simply a reference to natural childbirth – the breaking of the waters, etc. Please feel free to make up your own mind regarding this point.

 

 

 

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