Lent – Day 21: Friday, 12 March
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
It wasn’t long before the disciples received what Jesus had promised them – the same Holy Spirit who was working in Jesus, now being released into the world. This was the baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit prophesied by John the Baptist and promised by Jesus. This was the first pouring out of what was prophesied in the book of Joel – I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. All flesh. Everyone. But hurry, offer ends soon, say some. Oh no, it doesn’t – it is an open offer.
While some cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor the notion of Jesus as the God the Word, and will not endorse the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, it is sad to admit that there are mainstream churches that tend to ignore the prophecy and the promise from Jesus’ mouth, or attempt to restrict it. It’s as if the message has been left in a cupboard in the vestry.
Amazing things happened when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. They entered a new realm of equipping, empowering, emboldening as Church. They moved in power just as Jesus did. This was Jesus’ legacy to his Church, not just to the Early Church (The Early Church, by the way, is not those who meet at sunrise).
Problems – firstly, this empowering of the Holy Spirit does not sit comfortably with those church leaders who want to be in charge. How do you maintain order if your fellowship starts speaking in tongues? Secondly, the Holy Spirit takes us into areas that this modern world rejects – divine healing being a prime example. Do we take it on or do we leave it in the cupboard?
All the disciples managed to do after Jesus went was to use a dodgy process to select another disciple to make them up to twelve again. We hear nothing of Matthias once he came on board, so that wasn’t the greatest act of the apostles. Peter wasn’t yearning for a gift of preaching. None of the disciples were expecting to speak in tongues, but when the gift came, they didn’t look at themselves and stop – they rose and went out.
How does your church fellowship view the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Is the fire burning, did it get put out, or has it not yet been experienced?
Do you desire to see the Holy Spirit moving in your church fellowship?
Do you desire to see the Holy Spirit moving in you?
Father God, Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to enable his disciples to carry out their mission to preach the gospel to the world. Fire up again in me a desire to see lives changed around me where I live, and a desire to be renewed in the Power from on high. Amen.