John_ChrysostomAnd suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2).

That wind (πνοὴ) was a very pool of water.

This betokened the copiousness, as the fire did the vehemence.

This nowhere happened in the case of the Prophets: for to uninebriated souls such accesses are not attended with much disturbance.

[…] Those had to deal with only one nation, and with their own people; but these with the whole world, and with men whom they never knew.

Elisha receives the grace through the medium of a mantle (2 Kings 13); another by oil, as David (1 Sam. 16:13); and Moses by fire, as we read of him at the bush (Exod. 3:2).

But in the present case it is not so; for the fire itself sat upon them.

[…] You are not to stop at this, that “there appeared unto them cloven tongues,” but note that they were “of fire.” Such a fire as this is able to kindle infinite fuel.

Also, it is well said, cloven, for they were from one root; that you may learn, that it was an operation sent from the Comforter.

But observe how those men also were first shown to be worthy, and then received the Spirit as worthy.

Thus, for instance, David: what he did among the sheepfolds, the same he did after his victory and trophy; that it might be shown how simple and absolute was his faith.

Again, see Moses despising royalty, and forsaking all, and after forty years taking the lead of the people (Exod. 2:11); and Samuel occupied there in the temple (1 Sam. 3:3); Elisha leaving all (1 Kings 19:21); Ezekiel again, made manifest by what happened thereafter.

In this manner, you see, did these also leave all that they had. They learnt also what human infirmity is, by what they suffered; they learnt that it was not in vain they had done these good works (1 Sam. 9 and 11:6).

[…] But in the same manner as here did none of them receive. Thus Moses was the greatest of the Prophets, yet he, when others were to receive the Spirit, himself suffered diminution.

But here it is not so; but just as fire kindles as many flames as it will, so here the largeness of the Spirit was shown, in that each one received a fountain of the Spirit; as indeed He Himself had foretold, that those who believe in Him, should have “a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

And good reason that it should be so. For they did not go forth to argue with Pharaoh, but to wrestle with the devil.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily 4.

Advertisements