Normally on this day we would have the Epistle passage. But this week the Epistle passage, as the Revised Common Lectionary has been set up, is the focus of the week. The Gospel passages are “merely” small tastes of what is to come.
“On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
We have an interesting “tidbit” here. There is no Spirit because Jesus is not yet “glorified. The commentator I consult most often says that Jesus’ death was to procure this blessing; I imagine Jesus’ death was the redeeming act that would make the disciples worthy of the Holy Spirit. And I would further conclude that Jesus’ death (and our believing it/professing faith it) makes all believers worthy of it. Now notice that Jesus says “who believes in me”. At this point believing in Jesus would “simply” mean yes, I recognize who you are – what ever the content and context of that believe would be. But that is not enough, somehow. Think back to yesterday where part of the Spirit who dwelt in/on Moses, and some for a short time had that Spirit. But it was specific to Moses, and Moses was ordained and destined for it. The elders in the camp were not; and the disciples were not yet worthy.
“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 said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:19-23)
This was not the coming of the Spirit either. Again the commentator I put most of my trust in says Jesus’ statement and Divine breath was a promise and a pledge, and not the coming of the Spirit. Because, Jesus died and rose again but he had not “reported in” to heaven yet. And the full extent of His Glory was yet to come.
In our lives, beloved reader, there are hints of the Coming of the Holy Spirit. It is not the same for everyone – mainly because each person receives the Spirit as a personal experience. We do not hear the report of each disciple when the Spirit came; what we hear about was how the reporting observer(s) perceived it. It would be interesting to know how the disciples, such as Peter, experienced it. Ah well, another question to ask on that day when all are reunited in heaven. Until that time, beloved reader, look for hints and clues in your life when the Spirit dwells in you; and look also in life for the places where the Spirit is involved. Selah!