Jesus And The Spirit In Lucan Perspective -- By: M. Max B. Turner

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 32:1 (NA 1981)
Article: Jesus And The Spirit In Lucan Perspective
Author: M. Max B. Turner


Jesus And The Spirit In Lucan Perspective

M. Max B. Turner

The Tyndale New Testament Lecture; Delivered in January 1978, and subsequently revised.

I. Introduction

In several quite diverse theological circles it has become fashionable to describe Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit - at least during the period of the ministry - as archetypal of Christian relationship to the Spirit. Writers of such differing theological persuasions as L. S. Thornton,1 J. D. G. Dunn,2 T. S. Smail3 and G. W. H. Lampe4 have, in contrasting ways, attempted to build bridges between Jesus’ experience of the Spirit and that of Christians today. Each has pointed to the writer of Luke-Acts as a NT author who may perhaps be said to set the disciples’ experience of the Spirit in parallel to that of Jesus. The inference drawn is that Luke invites his readers to understand Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit as paradigmatic. Thus far the writers agree, though they differ sharply on what

they consider Luke’s alleged parallels to teach. For Thornton, Jesus’ dual relationship to the Spirit - through conception and the Jordan event - prefigures Christian baptismal regeneration and subsequent confirmation. For Smail Jesus’ conception by the Spirit and subsequent baptismal anointing anticipate rather Christian birth by the Spirit and empowering respectively (though he does not think the latter two need be separate events). Lampe interprets the parallel in terms of the Spirit of sonship and obedience given both to Jesus and to Christian disciples in their respective baptisms - though he is sometimes doubtful whether Luke thought this way. Dunn explores a not entirely dissimilar position to Lampe’s, but opposes his sacramental emphasis.

The thesis that Jesus’ baptismal reception of the Spirit, in Luke, is paradigmatic of subsequent Christian experience in Acts, was first explored in detail by Hans von Baer in his masterly monograph, written in 1926.5 It is in Baer’s work, and particularly in Dunn’s development of it, that we can best see the significance of the questions involved when we speak of Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit as archetypal.

The Contributions Of Hans Von Baer And James D. G. Dunn

Baer’s dissertation was essentially an answer both to the influential little monograph by H. Gunkel, Die Wirkungen des Heiligen Geistes nach der populär...

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