Two events gave a fresh and powerful impetus to the disciples of Jesus after their Master had died on the cross. The first was the resurrection of Jesus with its declaration of his lordship. The second was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The sending of the Holy Spirit and his indwelling in those who follow and belong to Christ was the defining feature of the first Christian communities.
For Paul, Christians are people in whom the Holy Spirit dwells as the dynamic power of God, enabling them to live "new lives," lives that are righteous and upright in the sight of God. For Paul, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the beginning of the process of salvation. Christians are "led by the Spirit" (Romans 8:14) in very concrete ways.
Luke, too, sees the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on earth as the presence of God in the human sphere. The Spirit's coming at Pentecost flows out of Jesus' ascension into heaven: Jesus, Lord of all, sends his power to make us new creatures and to enable us do new things.
Luke was describing the very beginnings of the church. Paul, on the other hand, addressed an established church that, by that point, was more familiar with the work of Holy Spirit in the individual and in the local community. Luke deals with the outpouring of the Spirit seen from outside, Paul deals with the work of the Spirit that is internal to the church and the individual. Luke's primary focus is mission and how individuals were empowered when the church was born; Paul focuses on how the Holy Spirit can impact an individual's relationship with God and with others.
Both Paul and Luke believed that the salvation of a person was bound firmly, not only to the person and work of Christ but also to the outpouring, indwelling, and renewing work of the Holy Spirit in that person. Let us live in a way that shows the person and fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, so that we might be more effective in our Christian faith. May we show the love and humility that comes from the Holy Spirit.
- 18 AUGUST -