Why would anyone want the Holy Spirit? The quickest answer to that question is that most people don’t – at least not explicitly. A professor told us in graduate school that the Holy Spirit was the forgotten member of the Trinity. Few people want the Holy Spirit because few people give any thought to what the Holy Spirit might offer.
There are people who do think about the Spirit a lot in terms of a calming agent in daily life or an exhilarating agent in their prayer life. For them the Trinity’s third person provides closeness to God and wisdom about spiritual matters.
There’s much more that we can say about God’s Spirit, though, and the best way to discover it is to look at the life of Jesus. What do we know about his Spirit? Jesus was a person so dedicated to his vision that it filled his every teaching. He wasn’t cowed by the common people’s lethargy or leadership’s hostility. He got up again and again after failure. He stood up to threats and pain and, ultimately, execution. He stood faithful to the truth he knew. That was Jesus’ Spirit.
Matthew’s gospel ends the parables of the helpful friend and the generous father by saying that God will meet the needs of those who ask just as a friend and father would. Luke changes the point making God’s gift more specific. For him, the generous God will give the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s idea is that God will stand with those facing hardship as they live the Christian way in an unsympathetic world. The message is that the same Spirit that guided and supported Jesus will guide and support them. That’s just what they needed to hear. That’s what we need to hear as well.