‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.’ (Acts 2:1 NIV)
The Christian church commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In most traditions Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter and looks back to the beginnings of the Christian church. There are many valuable lessons associated with this festival; here are some to reflect on:
1. The necessity of the Holy Spirit
We cannot preach the gospel without the Holy Spirit living in, and empowering, us. Jesus told his disciples to take the gospel to all nations – but first they had to wait in Jerusalem until they were
“clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The church needs power – we need enthusiasm (literally, God in us) for the work set before us.
2. The diversity of the church
The gospel is to be preached to all peoples. God’s work is no longer focused on one ethnic group; the promises are expanded to all humanity. The diverse languages of Pentecost are a miraculous picture of the worldwide scope of the work.
3. The message now focuses on Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and ascended, bringing forgiveness and salvation
Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost centred on this basic truth
(Acts 2:22-36). Jesus Christ is the King of the Kingdom of God and we enter it as we are united with Him by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables us, through faith, to enter the Kingdom even in this age. We share in the life of the age to come because the Spirit of Jesus lives within us.
4. The Holy Spirit unites all believers into one body
The church is to be characterized not only by the gospel mission, but also by discipleship, fellowship, the breaking of bread, prayer and worship
(Acts 2:42-47). We are not saved by doing these things; rather the Spirit leads us into such expressions of our new life in Christ. We now live and work by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is God within us who brings the joy of salvation, perseverance in the face of difficulties, and the love that transcends cultural differences within the church. This day is about the church as the community of the Spirit. Babel resulted in disconnectedness with confused individualism. The church implies re-connectedness with a diversity of members, each with a different role to play but each in need of the other, joined by the Spirit.
So, as we live by the Spirit let’s keep in step with him
(Galatians 5:25) as he empowers, leads and directs the diverse Christian community to take the message of Jesus to the world and unites believers into the one body of Christ.
Father, may the Holy Spirit bring enlightenment to the earth so that the presence of Jesus may be seen in a new light, in new places, and in new ways. In the name of Jesus we pray,
Have a good week being led by the Spirit.