Vugt: Dispute on the origin of Christ

THE Gospel for today (Jn 7:40-53) says, “Many who had been listening to these words began to say, ‘This is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’” But some wondered, “would the Christ come from Galilee? Doesn’t Scripture say that the Christ is a descendant of David and from Bethlehem, the city of David?” The crowd was divided over him. Some wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers of the Temple went back to the chief priests, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man.” The Pharisees then said, “So you, too, have been led astray! Have any of the rulers or any of the Pharisees believed in him? Only these cursed people, who have no knowledge of the Law!”

Yet one of them, Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier, spoke out, “Does our law condemn people without first hearing them and knowing the facts?” They replied, “Do you, too, come from Galilee? Look it up and see for yourself that no prophet is to come from Galilee.” And they all went home.

On another note, Spirit had not been given. Many manuscripts read: There was no spirit. In fact the meaning is the same. In this second way of speaking spirit refers to the manifold communications of God’s Spirit.

This ambiguity sounds strange to believers, who consider the Spirit to be a divine Person. Of course, the Spirit is as much person as much God as the Father and the Son are, but the Spirit’s manner of being God and person and One is not the same.

The Spirit is “communication of God dispensed” to all creatures through all times. He is somehow able to distribute himself, dwelling in each creature with different gifts; then he brings them back to unity in God. Because of this, Scripture sometimes says: “the Spirit,” at other times: “spirit” (Lk 1:15; Acts 6:3), or even: “the spirits” (Rev 1:4; 3:1)

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