Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost: "What Does This Mean?"

"In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1-5)

"And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12)

Today, as the body of Christ, we gather for worship. It is, as congregations, our greatest privilege and highest responsibility. And on this Lord’s Day, we mark another once for all event in salvation history. On the first Pentecost Sunday (10 days after Christ’s Ascension; 50 days following His Resurrection), now almost two thousand years ago, there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, divided tongues as of fire resting on the apostles’ heads and the speaking of languages/tongues which were spoken in all parts of the eastern Mediterranean region, from Rome to Persia. All of this astounded those who witnessed these three signs and, humanly speaking, no wonder they were filled with wonder. What can this mean?

The wind testifies to the power and presence of the Spirit; fire speaks to the Spirit’s cleansing and judging power and the languages of the gospel to be proclaimed to all nations – every tribe and every tongue.

These signs confirmed what Jesus had earlier promised. In the gospel of John, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to be their Advocate, their Helper and Comforter (14:16-17), their Teacher (14:26), testifying/bearing witness to Jesus, guiding them into all truth (16:13). On Pentecost Sunday, Christ’s promise was confirmed and the sheep of the sheepfold live out of the fruit of that promise day by day. The Church of all ages, scattered across the face of the globe, takes strength and joy in the working of the Holy Spirit.

Suggestions for prayer: Give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit. Pray that you might grow in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5).