The Holy Spirit and Luke/Acts

One of the striking features of Luke/Acts is the emphasis placed by the evangelist on the direct power of the Holy Spirit. The scene is set with highly tangible imagery in the account of the conception and nativity of Jesus and sustained in His Baptism and the account of His mission up until the promise of the Spirit's descent after His ascension

What is rarely absent in Luke becomes ever present in Acts; the driving force of the Spirit in the early Church, starting with the promise and the descent at Pentecost, is sustained at a high level of direct intervention throughout the first part focused on Peter. There is less intensity of feeling in the part concerned with Paul but the stream of references continues.

In Acts in particular, there are also many references to the direct intervention of God (implicitly the Father who had sent Jesus) as well as numerous appearances by angels on God's behalf. These different interventions by God in history - over and above the Incarnation - constitute a fascinating variety but what matters is Luke's overall sense, as a self confessed historian, of God in history.

It is highly credible to present Luke/Acts as a drama of the Holy Spirit:

  1. Luke: John Baptist Luke 1:15; 17; 41; 67. Jesus' conception and birth Luke 1:35; 2:25-27; 38. Mission Luke 4:14; 18-19; 11:13; 24:49. Spirit promised Luke 24:48.
  2. Acts: Promised Acts 1:8; invoked by David Acts 1:16; Matthias Acts 1:26; Pentecost Acts 2:1-13; 17-18; 33; 38; Peter preaches Acts 4:8; Apostles shaken again Acts 4:31; Ananias lies Acts 5:3-4; Apostles as witnesses Acts 5:32; Seven 'deacons' chosen Acts 6:3-6; Stephen Acts 6:5; 6; ; Acts 7:55-56; Post conversion Acts 8:15-19; Instructs Philip Acts 8:29 & carries him Acts 8:39; Ananias Acts 9:17; Consolation Acts 9:31; Peter's summons to Cornelius Acts 10:19; Recalling Jesus' Baptism Acts 10:38; Baptism and Holy Spirit for Gentiles Acts 10:44-46; Repeat of Acts 10:19; 11:12; Barnabas Acts 11:24; Directs Barnabas and Paul Acts 13:1-4; Paul filled Acts 13:9; Apostles filled Acts 13:52; Peter testifies Acts 15:8-9; Guidance Acts 15:28; Prevented preaching in Asia, Bithyna Acts 16:6-7; Baptism Acts 19:1-6; Paul's suffering Acts 20:23; Paul not to go to Jerusalem Acts 21:4; Agabus foretells Acts 21:11; Isaiah Acts 28:25.

KC ix/06

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