Pentecost: The Day of Power
A special time of the year to celebrate the birth of the church with its explosive power in bold witnessing, signs, and miracles. I want us to think about it for just a minute. Let’s begin by looking at the scripture passage that tells the story of that first Pentecost.
Here is the setting: Jesus had raised from the dead and had been with His disciples helping them understand greater spiritual truths about the Kingdom of God, what had just happened and what it would mean going forward. Remember, like us, the disciples had their own plan of what was going to happen and what it meant that the Messiah had finally arrived. Even though Jesus had been trying to tell them the plans that the God head (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) had in place, the disciples where thinking through their lens of what Jerusalem needed and what a Savior’s job would be. So, when Jesus went to the cross, they were thrown into utter confusion. Upon His resurrection, Jesus spent time with them, correcting the vision and telling them what would be happening going forward.
However, He can’t stay with them forever, He will need to return to heaven, so Holy Spirit would be coming to be with them. In Acts 1 Jesus is preparing to leave and He gives them their next assignment. They are to stay in Jerusalem and wait….to wait on the arrival of Holy Spirit.
Still unsure of the plan, they ask – Is it time to restore the Kingdom to Israel? The patience Jesus had with them. He tells them, no, they don’t need to worry about when that will happen. They just need to sit tight for a minute, wait on Holy Spirit to come and then they could fulfill their assignment of being His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even to the ends of the earth. But again, they needed to wait on Holy Spirit, because He would be their power, and they would be filled with that power and the guidance from Heaven, to change the world. Jesus returns to heaven and the disciples go to the now famous Upper Room to wait.
In chapter 2 of Acts, verses 1-4 we read: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Their waiting paid off. Holy Spirit showed up in grand fashion. He didn’t come in meek or even gentlemanly. He came to them bold, powerful, full of authority. Scriptures uses descriptive words like the sound of a violent wind and the sight of tongues of flames. Think about what that must have been like in that moment. The deafening sound, the house shaking, the sight of fire all around. Holy Spirit came in the exact opposite from Jesus. Jesus, as we know arrived in a lowly stable on a quiet night, no fanfare, no fireworks. Jesus arrived with the soft gentile cries of a baby. Not so Holy Spirit. He was not going to be missed, He filled the whole house. And He was not going to miss any of them. The text says that everyone who was there waiting – men, women, children – all who were there were filled with Holy Spirit and the text says they began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Don’t miss the power and greatness of what was happening because of the speaking in tongues. The gift was only a sign for them…and those outside witnessing what was happening. Holy Spirit was going to turn the world upside down through these mighty disciples of God. So, it really makes sense that He would have arrived in such grand fashion. The disciples were going to have to rely on Him completely, they needed to know that He possessed the power and authority of Heaven. Because without that power and authority there was no way they would have been able to fulfill the command of Jesus to go into the whole world and change it.
We are still being called to change the world. And, like the disciples, we can’t do it on our own. We must hear the same call as the disciples – to be His witnesses in Jerusalem (in our neighborhoods) Judea (in your counties and state) in Samaria (in our nation) and yes some of us will be called to go into the whole world. And like the disciples, we will need the power and authority to be able to leave our front door with the gospel message.
Don’t miss the opportunity that Pentecost brings to us. First to wait, seeking to be filled with Holy Spirit. And then to enjoy the journey of life with Him as He leads you into the world to witness with signs and wonders, as you boldly tell the story of Jesus Christ.