Then Comes Pentecost — Part 3

pentecostOn the day of Christian Pentecost, 120 believers were together in one place (Acts 2:1). Let us assume they were in the large outer courts of the temple. Suddenly miraculous signs from heaven manifested themselves – the sound like the blowing of a violent wind, and what appeared to be tongues of fire revealed above their heads.

These were no mere hallucinations of a few emotionally impressionable souls. The sound was heard by many others well beyond their meeting place and in no time a crowd of curious but bewildered people numbering into the thousands had gathered.

The bewilderment would grow when people from “every nation under heaven” began to hear themselves addressed in their own languages, but languages unknown by their speakers, the Apostles from Galilee.

As Peter rose to speak, a hush fell upon the crowd, but a few scornful men mocked. They shouted that the Apostles’ boldness and apparent joy were signs they were drunk! Peter did not let this go unchallenged.

Addressing the people as “fellow Jews and all you who live in Jerusalem” he reminded them that it was nine in the morning and Jews would not be drinking wine at that hour.

Instead, he told them, the signs they were seeing had been foretold by the prophet, Joel — “wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below” … and as a result, Joel promised, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:19 – 21).

He then reminded them of the “miracles, wonders and signs” done by Jesus whom God had sent among them, and, he fearlessly faced them with the part they had played in encouraging wicked men to nail him to a cross. However, with joy he said “But God raised him from the dead.”

Again he turned to the Old Testament Scriptures and quoted from one of its major figures, King David. The king had prophesied about God’s expected Messiah that, “(God) will not abandon me [the Messiah, Christ Jesus] to the grave” (Psalm 16:8—11).

This Messiah is alive, Peter preached. He is exalted to the right hand of God. Then, he proclaimed, the exalted Christ “has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out [on us] what you now see and hear.”

Then comes his summary word: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

The listeners were deeply convicted of their wrong. What shall we do? they asked Peter and the other Apostles. The answer was crystal clear: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

He then warned them and pleaded with them to save themselves from this corrupt generation. Those who accepted his message were baptized. About three thousand were added to their number that day. We might say “these” were the charter members of the Christian Church.

Preaching was central in the early church. One of several New Testament words for preaching is “to herald forth.” A herald is one assigned to carry and deliver a special message. During his life on earth, Jesus proclaimed good news. On the first Christian Pentecost Peter did the same: He proclaimed the good news of salvation from God, and called his listeners to repentance and faith.

Today, as we anticipate another anniversary for Pentecost, on June 8, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to call forth from Christian ranks everywhere young men and women who will be heralds of good news to a new generation. They will be heralds to a world that does not know him, that is at odds with him, and that needs to repent and put faith in Jesus, as did those crowds in Jerusalem.

Bookmark and Share

Image info: Titian, c.1545 (via wikipaintings.org)

Advertisements

One thought on “Then Comes Pentecost — Part 3

  1. We used to call it Whit Sunday here.I’ve heard some call it the Feast of the Holy Spirit,which is apt. But Pentecost is what it’s called in every bible I have,right at the start of Acts chapter 2.The day a rushing wind,came like a mighty breath from Heaven, to plant the Holy Spirit in each of the 120 church fathers and mothers.

    IPastor Don, I was excited when you launched your tryptych of Pentecost talks on 5th May,inviting us to refresh our memories as to what the church inspired with the Holy Spirit of Jesus should be like.

    I feel somehow I never make the most of Pentecost ,never learn from it enough.If Pentecost is the 50th day of the Easter season,it’s culmination, I want it to change my life ,sharpen my dependance on our Lord,just like Good Friday and Ressurection Day ( Easter Sunday).

    So getting ready for 8th June ,now I’m thinking what Christs church should look like,Spirited with the Holy Spirit of Jesus, just as you suggested on May 5th,Pastor Don.

    I’ve thought about it alot ready for Pentecost,inspired by these Pentecost talks and my reading of Acts.So far,this is what I think a church inspired by the Holy Sprit of should be like.

    1.I think, the church people should witness Jesus to the ends of the earth,each congregant,as far as we are able.All of us will have oppurtunity and occasion to be heralds for Jesus in some way ,at some time.I want to grasp that oppurtunity when it comes.

    2.Then,like Peter said,we church people sould feel assured that if we repent every past deviation from the way our Lord wants us to live our lives,we shall be forgiven.How He wants us to live is in the Bible,our life map and life guide.

    3.And I think all church people should be in unity and accord like the 120 at the first Pentecost.Though there were different tongues,it was one message,understood by all.And they shared gladly and came together regularly at Lords Supper .

    4.Also we church people should always keep in our hearts and minds that Jesus is our Lord.and Christ.By Him we can be connected to God and united in Christian fellowship with one another.Without Jesus I don’t think we’d even know what God is like.Now Iwe can know what He must be like – like Jesus.If God were human like us He’d be like Jesus. He did become human ,to save us .Now we know what God’s like.

    Reading this 3rd Pentecost talk,highlighting how Peter warned them to save themselves from this corrupt generation has got me thinking.Listening to the daily news reminds me that we can’t say ours is not a corrupt generation.

    Nigerian schoolchildren are abducted to be sold into slavery,.A Sudanese pregnant woman is sentenced to death for refusing to renounce Jesus,And in the West It seems there’s alot of putting money before God,,almost worshipping money,War and cruelty are everywhere,Vanity and selfishness are seen everywhere,as is indecency and immorality.

    5.So I think this is how a church which honours the Holy Spirit should be.An oasis of holiness showing an alternative to the corruption of the world.A place where we can come in together to save ourselves from this corruption.And then go out to ,intercede and intervene to oppose this corruption.

    As this Pentecost approackes ,I’m thinking more than I ever did about the meaning of Pentecost,thanks to your Pentecost talks ,Pastor Don.I’m hoping this will be the best ever Pentecost for me.

    Pastor,I share the messages of your blogs,with a friend or two at my church,St Michael’s Coventry,England.We’ve talked about each weeks,blog iafter Saturday Lord’s Supper these last 3 weeks. .Your blogs are much appreciated.Thankyou.Still thinking about the meaning of Pentecost for the church as we approach June 8th.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s