From Zechariah to Agabus: The Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts

Adrian Graffy

The Holy Spirit is referred to more frequently in Luke than any other gospel. The first of two articles examines what is said about the Holy Spirit in both the Gospel of Luke and in Luke’s second work, the Acts of the Apostles. How can these New Testament writings guide our understanding of the Spirit’s work, and our discernment for the future? As Pope Francis has said, the Church is a ‘protected space’ in which the Spirit can act. Adrian Graffy is parish priest of Gidea Park, and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

From its earliest chapters the Gospel of Luke points out ways in which the Holy Spirit drives the work of salvation. The Spirit empowers faithful individuals who stand at the threshold of the New Testament. Zechariah the priest is informed in the temple that the son his wife will soon bear him will be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ even before his birth (Lk. 1.15), and Zechariah himself is described in the same way as he prepares to proclaim the psalm known as the Benedictus (Lk. 1.67-79). As John grows up, he will become ‘strong in spirit’ (Lk. 1.80).

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