Posted by on May 22, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on A Way of Life

On this 8th Sunday of Easter, we are celebrating Pentecost. We will also be considering two selections from the Bible, namely John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 and Acts 2:1-21. In the selection from Acts we will be reading about the actual day of Pentecost as Luke wrote about and in the text from John, we will be finding what Jesus was saying to his disciples when they receive the Advocate, or the Holy Spirit.

In the text from Acts, we see several very interesting things. At least they were interesting to me and expanded my understanding of what the disciples and all the people around experienced that day.

Pentecost is actually the theological basis for God’s promises to Israel to be fulfilled. This day occurs 50 days after the Passover celebration, which in Jesus’ time was harvest time. Luke states that in addition to the disciples, there were about 120 people in the temple court. Some people would have equated this group to those who had experienced God’s appearance on Mount Sinai.

While these people were celebrating, they experienced a couple of very interesting things. Tongues of fire reigned down on them and landed on each of those attending. This was a physical indication of the presence of God among them…as well as reminding them of when God gave the law to Moses in the wilderness.

The believers there received the Holy Spirit with the tongues of fire…as well as the gift of being able to speak to all the people around them. You ask…”what?” Yes…not all of the people in attendance spoke the same language. Some were from different countries and all of a sudden they could understand what the followers were saying. The people were not speaking foolish things that no one could understand, they were speaking in known, earthly languages that would be used to spread the word to all people.

Residents of Jerusalem heard all of this and some felt those people were drunk at 9:30 in the morning. Luke names all of the various nationalities that were in attendance, which indicated that the word of those who would be speaking God’s word would be moving from the east to the west…with Jerusalem at the center with 15 nations represented.

Then, Peter began speaking the words of the prophet Joel that described how God would give His Spirit. This was given to the people by God as an internal power for all believers, not laws that are mostly external restraints. The wind that arose indicated the power of God. The fire showed the people that God was present and that it rested on everyone…no one was excluded. The speaking of languages also indicated that this was a gift to go to everyone. The purpose of these gifts was the start of a new era showing God’s redemption to all and indicated the beginning of the growth of the church. Luke meant for this act to indicate that the gospel would be taken and available to all people.

In the section from the gospel of John, Jesus is telling his disciples he will not always be with them. He says he will be going back to God…who sent him to begin his ministry to the people. But, he also tells the disciples that the Advocate will be sent to them who will protect them, as he know they will experience hatred. The disciples will be persecuted…much as Jesus was hated and persecuted.

Jesus also says that the Advocate will come to bring the words the disciples and followers are to speak as well as the direction where to go. He will guide them in their ministry to the world and will always glorify the Son, not himself. The Advocate will guide the disciples in the truth.

Think about this speech of Jesus. Jesus, as a human, would not be able to go to all the ends of the earth to bring the message of salvation to all people. That is why God wanted him to gather disciples who would be commissioned to go out and bring the gospel to all people.

Because Jesus could not be everywhere, and because the disciples were those who were going to the ends of the earth bring the message of love and salvation, God sent us all the Holy Spirit (the Advocate) to guide us. He would guide all of the followers (disciples). He would protect us. He will give us the truth to speak to all.

This was when the message Jesus had been preaching through out his life on earth would be reaching out to all people….when the Holy Spirit had been given to us all. All of us are included. We all find people everywhere who are also part of God’s family. We all have experienced connections we were surprised to find.

What surprise connections can you think of? You weren’t expecting to see someone you might know. But when you did, and had a conversation, you knew it was because the Spirit was directing this “chance meeting”. What about when you feel the urge to talk with someone? The Spirit is encouraging you to contact that person. We often do not know the reason…just that it is a “nudge” from God.

How has the Spirit led you in your life and connection with people? God has also moved you to utilize your various gifts for the benefit of His people. This, too, is the Holy Spirit moving within you.

I know you all have experiences that would indicate God’s work in your life. Remember these times and be joyful that God is working within you.

Being part of God’s family and listening to His Spirit moving us is our Way of Life. We are God’s feet on His earth….


May 2021


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