Today is the worldwide church’s birthday. We celebrate with such joy and thanks that after Jesus had returned to the throne of heaven, the promised gift came to all those who had obediently waited in Jerusalem. God’s promised gift came on the 50th day or in Greek ‘Pentecost’ meaning 50, days after the Passover.As the Holy Ghost descended on those gathered, first as a rushing violent wind and then tongues of fire appeared over each person’s head. Then came a loud outburst of sound, as all the believers began to speak in foreign languages and found that people from all over the known world who were passing by could understand what was said for someone was speaking in their language. Remember in the Old testament of the Tower of Babel, how God stopped all peoples speaking in one language. Now He helps all understand what is being said despite being a foreign language speaker. God breathed His supernatural power into all who truly believed and this same power is breathed upon each person who belongs to Christ, from back then right up to the present day. The special gift is for all who believe in Christ.
Many do not understand this important gift from God. Some parts of the Church worship Pentecost to the exception of all other wisdom;whilst other parts of the church seem to avoid Pentecost all costs. Believe me the cost is way too high to be foolish and ignore the era God was ushering into His embryonic Church. The Law has come by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Pentecost marked the full initiation of the age of grace, in which you and I now live.Yet we still have our God given free will, and regrettably some use this to pick and choose which pieces of scripture they agree with and which they do not. How can any created being know the mind of wisdom of the Creator God? More than once I have had a ‘church goer’ say to me usually after the Pentecost sermon, “I just do not do Pentecost, rector;” Sadly such people such as these have thrown away the foundation stone of the entire Gospel.
We have been shut down for weeks because we were and still are afraid of breathing air contaminated by a microscopic virus COVID-19. This is a perfect metaphor for all Christians who are still developing their faith and are afraid to breathe in God’s Holy Spirit for some reason; how can we be fearful or doubtful about God’s breathing into us His holy power? If you are in this place today beloved, do not feel condemned or judged for God does not do that, but He is very sad when we misunderstand what He offers us, especially misunderstanding the first Pentecost.
First the violent wind got everyone’s attention, and then the fire came as tongues of fire over each head, God was burning all the garbage,all misunderstanding , miss-truths, half truths spoken about God’s wisdom and purpose. Human opinion spoken as if it were one of God’s statutes or commandments. God used His power to have each person speak in a foreign language so all present from far off nations, other races and cultures could hear and understand in their own tongue.This was the first miracle, the first shown to the baby new church of God on earth. They are all amazed and then Peter the fisherman who had a knack for opening his mouth and saying the wrong thing,stood up and preached the most amazing evangelistic sermon. It brought them to their knees and thousands came to form the new Church in Jesus Christ because of Peter’s courage to speak out of the emboldened heart and mind, granted him by the empowering of God’s Holy Spirit.
Friends this empowering gift is for all of us, not to make us all amazing preachers, or evangelists or pastors etc. but to grant each of us spiritual gifts that connect and create the dynamic Church of God. When Jesus came into the Upper Room after his resurrection, his first action after pronouncing peace on His disciples was breathing on them, saying, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’. Our initiation if you like to call it that into the Christian Church is first to be baptized and then receiving the breath of God, His Holy Spirit. Breathing in COVID-19 could kill you or shorten your life considerably; refusing to breathe in God’s breath the Holy Spirit, could kill you spiritually and this has far more serious consequences. So do not confuse God with mortal things for our God is immortal and eternal is His place. I can only answer for myself, but I know I need and I desire with all my heart, God breathing His power into my weak body and soul.
Only you and God know if you need to take one more step today, if you haven’t already.What do you say? I hope you ready yourself and believe God is breathing into you right now, His Holy Spirit. Amen.