When we read the miracle story of the healing at Nain we should be aware that it is the third in a series that began with Elijah, was imitated by Elisha and is now followed by Jesus. As this is the case the author of the Gospel is trying to tell us that the same Spirit that was alive in the ministries of these two great men, Elijah and Elisha (see Kings 1 & 2) is the same Spirit that is at work in the ministry of Jesus!

 

To try and understand what this means we need to remember that many of the Orthodox Jews set a seat at the Passover dinner for Elijah in case he returns that night – the Jews believe that Elijah will return before the Messiah arrives. Perhaps they hope setting a seat at the most important meal of the year will encourage him to return?

 

Elijah and Elisha are both men of the Spirit par excellence – their ministries are full of miracles and signs and wonders. Luke wants us to see Jesus in this light as a man of the Spirit who works wonders at least as great as these two pillars of the Old Testament. Luke is setting the scene not just for Jesus to be seen as a man of the Spirit but he is also positioning the Spirit for its role in the life of the Early Church as he will narrate it in the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus, the man of the Spirit, leaves the disciples/us the same Spirit to carry on the ministry of the Gospel in the life of the Church. This is an important link – that of the ministry of Jesus with that of the Early Church, and what better way to cement it than with the power of the Holy Spirit?

 

Luke’s agenda in this is one that we should examine closely as it is something the Church of today needs to rediscover to a large extent. Where is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the Church today? How can we tap into it in our own lives?

 

What is my experience of the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in my life? Could it be better? How can I surrender more to the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus, open my heart to the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit in a deeper way today so that my life will come more and more under his power and guidance.