Filled with the Holy Spirit

“Filled with the Holy Spirit”

In a recent article we looked at John the Baptist, how he appears in the prologue of the gospel of John. We observed that the Greek word that speaks of the creation of the world through the Logos is the same as the one that speaks of John’s appearance: egeneto – there came into being all things, and there came into being also John. Since the beginning there is a deep connection between the becoming of the world and the becoming of John. All development, from the very beginning and through all past epochs, is present in John: He is the culmination of mankind. Thus, we have seen him carrying the past within him. But we can see him also in the opposite way, and this view is just as true. The first chapter of the gospel of Luke tells us about John’s father, Zechariah, who, as the priest of the year, brings the incense offering in the temple. In the rising smoke appears to him the angel of the Lord who announces to Zechariah the birth of his son and says that he, the son, “will be great before the Lord.” (Verse 15) The gospel seems to imply the nature of this greatness, that in John the dimension of the divine and the dimension of the human are united: “Even from his mother’s womb, will he be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Verse 15)

When we attempt to contemplate something of the essence of the Trinity we can describe the following aspects: The Father-God is the power which is the foundation of all existence, since the very beginning he is the Ground that bears all being. – Of Christ the Creed speaks that “he is the Son born in eternity.” He goes forth from the Father at all times, he is always young, as the light radiating from the sun is always young. – Thus, we can view the Father-God as working from out of the past and the Son-God as coming to us into the present. – And the Holy Spirit? The Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov spoke of the Holy Spirit as “the idea of humanity”. This idea is not an abstract theory, but a living, a spiritual being, Solovyov identified the idea of humanity with the Holy Spirit who goes forth from the weaving between the Father and the Son. And this “idea of humanity” – don’t we long for it to become reality in the world? Do we even know what humanity is? We know what it means to be “human-all-too-human”. But humanity? One thing can become clear to us: All creatures of nature – stone, plant, animal – have developed to their perfection. It would be absurd to expect a crystal or a butterfly or a rose to become more perfect than they are. And this is what sets the human being apart from other earthly beings: that the human being has not reached the state of perfection, that, unlike the beings of nature, he can become more human, more “he himself”. The realization of the “idea of humanity” is our future. And how can this realization happen? Through “history”! We go through all historical epochs, with their ordeals and challenges, failures and achievements, so that we become what we are meant to be. “For the sake of the far exalted goal, the human being goes through history.” (Rudolf Frieling). History is the path toward the realization of the idea of humanity. The one who, at the turning point of time, appears as John the Baptist “will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb”. He is the bearer of the “idea of humanity”. Working out of the power of the Holy Spirit he is the enlightening genius on the way to the exalted goal.


Rev.  Erk Ludwig

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