Pentecost B

Another year of the Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening, making holy, and keeping the Church!

If you're doing the Vigil of Pentecost, then I've just given you the link to those citations.

Acts 2:1-21 (First Reading or Alternate Second Reading)

Chapter 2 in total is cited twice in the footnotes to The Small Catechism, The Creed, The Third Article: On Being Made Holy (SC 2.3.5, n 55), and The Lord's Prayer, The Second Petition (SC 3.2.6, n.65) both referring to the woodcut for Pentecost, which these two sections both had as the image for the section. Check out the Vigil of Pentecost link above for a picture of that woodcut. What a great connection there for what God's kingdom looks like: Pentecost.

Romans 8:22-27

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
-- Romans 8:25

Verse 25 is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.30) as a bolstering for claims made from Ephesians 1:11 and 1:13, that those who are elected for salvation will bear their crosses in this life knowing that the hope we have in Jesus will prove greater.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
-- Romans 8:26

The last half of verse 26 is quoted in the next line in the same article (SD 11.31) along with Romans 8:16 as a reminder that even if the elect don't know how to pray, the presence of the Spirit in our lives means that prayer will still happen and still be effecacious.

John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

All of the following citations come from the chapter 16 portion of this reading.

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."
-- John 16:7

Verse 7 is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel (SD 5.11) using an alternate translation of "Advocate" as "Comforter" to remind us that one of the roles of the Spirit is to comfort us with the gospel.

"And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned."
-- John 16:8-11

Verses 8 thru 11 are cited in a footnote to Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.62, n. 84) as an example of the gospel accusing while also offering the hope of faith. This is another alternate translation of "prove the world wrong about" as "convict the world of"--a not insignificant difference.

Verse 8 by itself is cited several times. First, in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Article 3: Repentance (SA 3.3.1) with the same alternate translation as above. Luther quotes verse 8 to begin to show how the New Testament intensifies the realities of our sin but in an effort to call us to repent.

Verse 8 is next quoted in three successive paragraphs in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 5: Law and Gospel. The first quote (SD 5.11) starts the argument that the Spirit does convict or reprove us of our sin in order to bring us to the gospel, as the verse 7 citation above argues. The next two quotes are from Luther's writings (SD 5.12 quoting Luther's sermon for the fifth Sunday after Trinity (WA 22:87, 3-18 for you overachievers), and SD 5.13 quoting a letter from Luther to Sir Wolf von Salhausen (WA 15:228, 15-17)) both of which make the point that the proclamation of the gospel makes no sense unless those hearing the proclamation know that they are sinners. This knowledge is he work of the Spirit bringing people to repent.

The final citation of verse 8 is a quote in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 6: Third Use of the Law (SD 6.12) used to remind us that the Spirit uses the Law for us Christians as a way to call us back to faith when we sin.

"“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
-- John 16:12-15

Verses 12 thru 15 are cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.65) through an editorial insert to show that "the entire Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, directs all people to Christ as the Book of Life" (SD 11.65).

Verses 12 and 13 are quoted in The Augsburg Confession, Article 28: Bishops/The Church's Power (AC 28.31) as part of an argument that bishops have authority to create new rituals or rules, an argument the Reformers rejected when the bishops created new rituals or rules that are "contrary to the gospel" (AC 28.34).

Verse 14 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.132, quarto 2nd ed) showing the role of the Spirit in the life of the individual Christian--first to reveal Jesus, then to pour out other gifts of faith.

Verse 15 is cited through editorial insert right after the verse 14 quote (AP 4.132) to clearly state that "we cannot truly keep the law until we have received the Holy Spirit through faith."


Lutherans have long been charged with ignoring the Holy Spirit, which is a bit confusing because of the central role of the Spirit in Lutheran theology. The Spirit makes it possible for us to hear the gospel. The Spirit give us the gift of faith. The Spirit forgives us our sins. The Spirit calls us back to Jesus when we go astray. The Spirit is the reason there is a Church.

Maybe we focus too much on getting people to recognize their sin and hear the gospel that we forget that this awareness and repentance is only possible through the Holy Spirit. It may be too meta, but everything we do as Church is done in the Spirit. Everything. Maybe we should name that more often.