The Day of Pentecost has been called the birth of the Christian Church on earth. In some sense that is the truth, but Christianity traces its history all the way back to the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth. With God being eternally three in one, we don’t just find ourselves in the New Testament but also in the Old as we have been included into God’s story of salvation.

Don’t get me wrong, Pentecost is still a very important day in the life of the Christian church, but I wouldn’t call it our beginnings. Pentecost is the day we witness a supernatural event. An event that starts with the blowing of a violent wind that filled the house where the disciples were sitting. The Greek and Hebrew words for “Spirit” also have the meaning of wind or breath, so it is no wonder that Pentecost begins with wind.

The disciples noticed that there were tongues of fire that came to rest on each one of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak as the Spirit enabled them. The miraculous part of this is that the people of different tribes, cultures and languages began to understand the disciples in their own language. People from all around the known world had come to Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks, to celebrate the planting of the seeds of harvest. It was a major feast day for the Jews which is what drew the crowds to town that day. So far in the story a single message is not clearly spelled out by Luke (the author of Acts) as to what the disciples have spoken. Some in the crowd believe the disciples are drunk. It is at this point Peter wants to declare to them what is going on, because it is only 9:00 am in the morning, they can’t be drunk.

Peter starts off his message by taking them back to the Old Testament prophet of Joel to show them that the prophecy has been fulfilled in the land. The prophecy ends with Peter saying, “And everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.” People from different nations, tribes and languages hear that salvation is for all people; whoever calls upon the name of the Lord. This is a very significant phrase to speak to the people of all nations and it still echoes to us today.

There are a couple of great things I want you to remember. First, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to them as a comforter, protector, and counselor. When the Spirit shows up, it is a promised fulfilled. The disciples have once more witnessed that when Jesus says something it is going to happen. Second, each of the disciples are spiritual beings. The human spirit has been corrupted by sin and at its core is only concerned about itself. When the Holy Spirit comes and clashes with the human spirit, the human spirit gives way to the greater power. With the power of the Holy Spirit amazing things can happen and our spirits can be changed for the good. Last (even though there is much more to learn), this Pentecost event wasn’t the last display of power in the lives of these disciples. Even when the fire went away from above their heads, it was still present in their hearts. We can witness this throughout the rest of the New Testament as many of them carry the message even when it would mean their own death.

Pentecost was an event that occurred almost two thousand years ago and it would be easy for us to skip over its significance today. The community of believers in the New Testament was sustained by the power of the spirit. How often do you think they recalled this event as the years went by? I believe it would be a lot…but at some point in time the event became a little more distant from their experience. Today, we witness, recall and celebrate the events, but is it too far removed from us to find real life significance? I hope not!

The same Holy Spirit is alive and active in us today. The same fire that was present there that day is present with us today. But I fear that too many people have distanced themselves from the Word and let the fire from above go out before it ever gets going. The same Holy Spirit will lead, if we let him.  We have been adopted, as children, by none other than God, the Creator of the universe who brought forth the earth that brought forth us. Don’t fail to recognize the significance of the Holy Spirit in your life today. May the fire from above be the fire that burns in your heart today!

What has been your greatest lesson as you have learned about Pentecost? What is the significance for you today?

Look forward to hearing from you. God Bless!

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