fredag 20. mai 2016

Liquid substance

Why use the verb "pour" in connection with the Holy Spirit?

Peter used it in the quotation from Joel, and later in the sermon he says about Jesus that he was:

Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Acts 2:33
Several times in the Bible the Holy Spirit is presented in a way that suggests a "liquid substance". The Handbook of Doctrine (1) correctly warns against limiting the Holy Spirit to a liquid substance. Nevertheless it is a powerful and intriguing image of one of the attributes of the Spirit.

A liquid has the characteristic that it fills up every vacuum. It is a familiar illustration used by many teachers. They fill a glass-jar with rocks and ask the class if it is full. They gets unanimous "yes." Then they continue with gravel - the class realizes that they have been duped. But they are confident that it is full when fine-grained sand is filled in the empty spaces. Then liquid is poured into the jar….

The Pentecost-audience had no doubt that the disciples were filled with something - some even thought that it was wine. This was not limited to the first pentecost. It was Paul's experience also:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit
Eph 5:18
For more than 20 years I have on many occasions seen people being 'intoxicated' by the Spirit, and I can also confess that I more than once have been under strong influence myself. It has been a refreshing and liberating experience even though it was not necessarily very dignified (1).
The point is that one of the main characteristics of the Holy Spirit as a person, is that he can fill. As with the liquid, it is primarily the empty spaces he fills. The simple truth I can draw from this is:

If I want more of the Holy Spirit in my life, I must clear more space.

'Manna' for today:
The Holy Spirit is 'poured out' to 'fill up'!
(1) See: 'Dignified behvior?'

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