Today is Pentecost Sunday 2017. It is the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and those who were assembled after the ascension of Christ. Peter and the rest of the disciples were gathered together and had devoted themselves to prayer and other Godly pursuits. After all, Jesus had announced that He was about to return to the Father but another would be sent in His place. Those who were waiting were perplexed as to what to expect!
It is important to realize that Christians were still having trouble understanding God. In the Old Testament, God appeared as a pillar of fire and resided in the heavens. Eventually, the tabernacle was built to be the earthly residence of God, but God also sent Jesus, God in human form, (fully God and yet, fully human) to walk among us and be the earthly model of behavior that the Father desired for us. And then, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, we are now to experience God in us, not just around us and among us.
So, God went from a spirit above us, to a man walking among us, to a Spirit living in us. As God chose to reveal more of Himself to us, He became an even more personal God, making us aware of more of His attributes as our relationship with Him grows.
The appearance of the Holy Spirit at the formation of the church in the book of Acts took the people by surprise. Even though Jesus had announced that the Father would replace the presence of Jesus with someone else, nobody knew the time or the place when that would occur. The apostle Peter, who preached the first message of the new, fledgling church, reminded the assembled crowd that this was the fulfillment of what had been foretold.
And for the first time since the Tower of Babel, those assembled together heard each other in their native languages – the reverse of what happened when God chose to confuse language when the Tower of Babel was erected.
Our verse for tonight is about the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the church. Luke, the author of Acts, tells us in Acts 2:1-4, “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.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus proclaimed to Peter and the other disciples that his church would be created and would be unlike any other organization ever created. We are part of that legacy – members of the church of Jesus. My prayer is that you will remember the importance of each member of the church. Because we are all parts of one body – but each created with our unique giftedness and contributions to make for the benefit of everyone. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…