O5222021 – The Day of Pentecost
Only the Author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts writes OF a specific “day in the life” of “the Jerusalem community” when the spirit IS GIVEN.
It is “our present belief” that those two books were written by the self-same individual.
Traditionally we call him “Luke” and he happened to have written a sequel.
No one knows why the author “TIES IT DOWN” and “LOCKS IT IN” to a specific DAY AND TIME…but that is what he does.
I am sure you will remember the SCRIPTURE that tells the disciples to stay and wait in the city until the spirit comes.
It is like anticipating the 10:00 P.M. Grey Hound Bus out of Duluth and waiting for its arrival here in Milwaukee. It is coming. Stay at the Grey Hound Station and await its arrival. But bring a good book with you, just in case.
The “other” Early Christian writers are “less specific” about “the timing” of that “experience.”
In the Fourth Gospel-the Gospel of John, you just know it is going to be “somehow different” …it ALWAYS IS!
THERE…Jesus is said to INTERPRET “THE SPIRIT” – for his disciples prior to his death, namely, in that long (exceptionally long discourse) after dinner on the night of his arrest.
Remember last week I said “that exchange” encompasses John chapters 13-14-15-16-17-that’s a whole lot of talking by anyone person…at any one given time.
As John tells it…there are NO TONGUES OF FIRE and no RUSHING-SWIRLING-WINDS that are promised-accompanying-the-Spirit’s-arrival.
No cool VISUAL effects. None, at all. No cool SOUND effects, either! Not much of anything really.
LIKEWISE, there will be no UNEXPECTED LANGUAGES…No Hebrew, No Spanish, No Pig Latin, no nothing.
And without the foreign tongues…there can be no charges of “DAY DRINKING.”
Afterall, it was only 9:00 in the morning…Day-Drinking-Disciples-who-knew? Maybe it was mimosas with an early brunch. …Or a champagne toast to the spirit’s arrival.
At any rate… the author of Luke/ Acts is Very Specific. It occurs on A Given Day. It occurs at A Given Time.
But not IN John. John is going to be different. One more time, he is going to do his own thing. So, what is it – that John does?
John takes us into a “courtroom setting.” To a court of law, but not just to any court of law. This is going to be highfalutin. John is going to layout some fancy-shmancy-legal-jargon for us.
Picture (like)the Supreme Court of the land. Expect a “somber-judicial-tone.” I think of “barristers.”
I think of those who specialize in “courtroom advocacy and litigation.”
I think of “superior courts and tribunals,” drafting “legal briefs,” researching “the philosophy,” the “hypothesis and history of the laws” and of course, the giving of “expert legal opinions.”
Instead, the Spirit IN John is identified by “two terms” that fit with the somber judicial tone of “witness” and “testimony.
The first is the “Spirit of truth” and the second is the “Paraclete” or the “Advocate.” Trust me: No one saw this stuff coming…No one.
The first of these terms links “the Spirit and Jesus,” who identifies himself as “the truth.”
The latter term, “Paraclete” or “Advocate,” has always challenged us. In English, it has been read as “Comforter,” “Helper,” “Counselor,” “Advocate,” or simply as “Paraclete.”
The Greek word is made up of the verb “to call” and the preposition “beside” and so it means one who has been “summoned” or called “to the side of another”–literally, an “advocate,” or, by extension, a “helper or legal representative” in a TRIAL or “other arena of judgment.”
The Holy Spirit is mentioned only five times in the Gospel of John, and three of them are right here in today’s gospel.
IT IS strange language for a gospel. The language of the COURTS.
But the point of which is – we ARE NOT abandoned. Jesus will leave. Jesus will go back to the father. Jesus like many people TODAY – is going to work from home. But we are not HOME ALONE. Jesus has seen to that.
The Spirit is Present. The Spirit is with us always. The spirit is as close as your next breath. And the spirit will stand by us, with us, along side of us, and will help to defend us. The spirit will lead us into doing what is right and good and just.
The Spirit of the Living God was sent here for YOU! Amen.