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April 17, 2009


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This passage from John has confused me. I wondered if perhaps John was describing Pentecost from a different perspective, but you are saying here that he isn't, that they were two separate incidents. So they had the Holy Spirit before Pentecost? I am still confused...


In John's chronology, this episode seems to take place in the evening, after Mary Mag has seen the risen Lord. Whether John might be describing the day of Pentecost from a different angle has been a topic of debate for centuries. The difference between this and Luke's description of the day of Pentecost seems to be in tha nature of gifts bestowed on the believers by the Spirit.


Well actually I always thought this was the institution of the sacrament of holy orders where Pentecost was the institution of the church or something like that.

I mean that certainly seems to be the idea in the BCP in the Ordinal where the Bishop lays hands on the ordinand and isn't praying but is speaking the words Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God ... whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained.

The only thing is, what happens with Thomas. He wasn't there when all this happens according to John. So did he ever receive that authority? I suppose that has been the subject of debate for centuries too.

But there certainly is a whole lot of difference between this peaceful and solemn sort of happening between the risen Jesus and his disciples and the mighty rushing of wind and roaring of fire that was the baptism with the Holy Ghost he told them to wait for. I think it has something to do with authority and power. And I can't imagine how anyone could possibly think these are just two different descriptions of the same event.

A Blessed Eastertide to all!


I tend to think that John is describing a "separate incident", and indeed, this passage has been much used for ordinations. I made some reference to this sacerdotal aspect of the ministry gifts given above. The Pentecost event seems more to do with evangelism - ministry to the not yet converted, whereas this passage has (at least in the majority of the tradition) been seen as part of the pastoral ministry of the Church.

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  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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