“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.”
~ Acts 2:17-18
Today is Pentecost Sunday when the Western Church celebrates the pouring out of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, just as Jesus promised. Pentecost marks the time when God comes near to all of us, when He indwells and empowers His people, when walls between the haves and have-nots come crashing down, and when salvation goes public to the whole world.
Acts 2 tells the story of this incredible outpouring of the Spirit being poured out on people from all over this world. Joel’s ancient prophecy is fulfilled and God’s presence has broken out of the inner sanctuary of the Temple and is now available to all who would call upon the name of the Lord. Pentecost shows us that salvation is more than just forgiveness of sins and right standing with God. It is also an inclusion into God’s family with participation in the life and overflowing love of the Trinity. We who were once far away have now been brought near. We are sealed and indwells with the Holy Spirit. The very power of God now flows through us and is available to us by faith. Power over sin and Satan and the powers and principalities of this age. Power to witness to the Kingdom of God and the saving work of Jesus Christ. Power to believe and call the things that are not as though they were. The same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead now dwells in us, forms us together as the Church, and lives through us to bring Heaven into our daily existence. Pentecost was the beginning.
In a world torn apart by division, jealousy, violence, and competition, Pentecost tells a better story. It says that we can all come together in Christ. It says that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all people who look to Jesus as Savior and Lord is the beginning of peace and the end of oppression and suffering. Pentecost reminds us that there is hope for us. It takes our eyes off of this world and its pain and reminds us that what we see is not the end of the story. Pentecost tells us that the Holy Spirit will take from what belongs to Jesus and make it known to us and that there is real life available in Christ. Most Evangelical churches do not celebrate Pentecost and they miss this yearly reminder of what God has done in pouring out His Spirit on all who would look to Jesus. The “Feast of Weeks” that once marked the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai to begin the Old Covenant, now marks the giving of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room and upon those from all over the Empire who heard the gospel and believed in Jesus to mark the New Covenant.
What good news!