A few weeks ago, the church (and some who are not part of the church) celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over the last few days, I’m published a few posts that deal with some of the events in Acts following his resurrection: “The Ascension of Jesus Christ,” “What is Pentecost,” and “The Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room.”
For many believers, it’s easy to understand the significance of the Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. But, why should we care about Pentecost?
About fifty days after Jesus was crucified and about 10 days after he ascended into heaven, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell his children. While the Spirit had been at work in the lives of people before that, that work seems to have always been temporary. But, in this case, the Spirit indwelled the people of God and remained with them.
On that first Pentecost (from a Christian perspective), the Spirit indwelled 120 followers of Jesus. They all began to demonstrate that the Spirit had indwelled them primarily by speaking in tongues. The people who witnessed this heard all of the people speaking in different language. But, it seems that everyone heard someone speaking their own language.
Some thought Jesus’ disciples were drunk. Peter explained to them that they were not drunk. Instead, he said, they were the recipients of the Spirit of God which had been promised by the prophets many, many years earlier. Peter briefly explained to them the significance of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and called them to repentance. According to Luke, three thousand people repented, were baptized, and became part of God’s family that day.
This sounds amazing. This sounds wonderful. This is definitely a mighty work of the Holy Spirit.
But, if we begin to think that this alone is the importance of the Day of Pentecost, then we misunderstand the importance of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God’s own Spirit lives within his children. He communicates with us through his Spirit. He strengthens and encourages us through his Spirit. He guides us through his Spirit. He gives us gifts for the benefit of the church through his Spirit. I could go on and on and on.
And, these are not one time occurrences. God is constantly with us and working in us and working through us and changing us and revealing to us and exhorting us and comforting us… all of these through his Spirit. This is the amazement and glory of Pentecost: not that the Spirit came down one day and did mighty works in and through Jesus’ followers, but that the Spirit remains with us every day and continues to do mighty works in and through Jesus’ followers.
All of the commands and examples and principles in Scripture would be impossible without the Spirit’s presence, empowerment, and enablement. But with God – that is, with his Spirit – we are able to live in manner that honors him, that brings him glory, and that is worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pentecost was amazing… and the ramifications of that day continue within us and continue to be amazing.