My latest post over on Political Theology Today was published this morning. Within it I discuss the rich biblical theology that lies behind the events of the Day of Pentecost.
The role of the prophet, as I have defined it, is a deeply politically charged one. The prophet is a member of the divine ruling council, participating in its deliberations, and charged with playing the ‘angelic’ role of communicating its judgments to the powers of this world. The prophet is also often defined by suffering witness and frequent martyrdom. Luke’s narrative identifies the Church as continuing the prophetic mission of Jesus, bearing the authorization and power of Jesus’ Spirit, enjoying privileged access to the heavenly court, and delivering the judgments of God in Christ to kings and rulers. It should come as no surprise to us that the rest of the book of Acts is filled with confrontations and showdowns with various rulers and authorities.
It is, however, rare for the Church to display such a self-understanding of its status and vocation. The Church far too easily finds itself in thrall to the powers that be, weakly petitioning for a hearing in their halls, rather than confidently exercising its privilege of access to the heavenly council. The Church too often addresses the rulers of this world with impotent bleats, rather than with the authoritative blast of the incendiary word of God. Reflection upon Pentecost calls us to return to the self-understanding that underlay the Church’s earliest prophetic mission, a self-understanding that equipped it with the nerve to confront political powers, to face both suffering and death unflinchingly, and to overcome the world by faith in the One who is above all earthly rulers.
Read the whole thing here.
This post may have whetted your appetite to read more on the subject of Pentecost and, specifically, the theme of prophetic installation within it. If it has, you are in luck! I have a long series of posts within which I unpack these themes in considerable detail. Enjoy!