Pentecost 2018 – The Fire of the Spirit in John’s Gospel… (I)

Pentecost 2018First of all, there is no fire of the Spirit in John’s gospel. And, yet… Jesus sharing of his Spirit, the Advocate, brings about purification in his disciples, the very healing each needs.

Chapter Nineteen After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’  A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up [handed over] his spirit.

Jesus’ death in John is also Pentecost (!) in a sense. Not fifty days later, but at his death when ‘everything is complete.’  Everything from this moment is driven by the Spirit – the piercing of his side, his burial in the garden, Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the empty tomb with Simon Peter & the beloved disciple, the gardener, “Mary!”

Chapter Twenty:  Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).  Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples…

Jesus calls Mary to purification from idolizing the Jesus whom she knew before by speaking to her his Word, the Spirit in action – “You loved me then. Love me now by not clinging to me now. I have risen from the dead and am ascending to my God and your God. Go to my disciples…”

Jesus appeared to his disciples and began the process of giving them the Spirit to purify them:

Chapter Twenty:  When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus shared with them the peace that the world cannot give, the peace that hiding behind locked doors cannot give, the profound peace that undergirds the work of purifying. 

Jesus showed them his hands and his side – the marks of their disbelieving, lack of love based on aggressive resistance, and their self-hate. And they rejoiced to see Jesus because his peace had enveloped and began the purifying process by healing their fear.

Part II tomorrow…

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