Happy Pentecost

Before Jesus left his disciples standing on the Mount of Olives, he told them to stay in Jerusalem because “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5) In his gospel Luke words it slightly differently. There he has Jesus telling the disciples they were going to receive “power from on high.” They were really going to need it! Ten days after Christ’s ascension they were still waiting. They probably had no idea what they were waiting for and the group had now grown to about 120 people.
It was now the Feast of Pentecost (Greek) or Shavuot (Hebrew), often also called the Feast of Weeks, when the Jews gathered in Jerusalem from all over to celebrate the first-fruits of the wheat harvest and the giving of the Torah. So this Feast had a physical meaning and a spiritual meaning. God certainly does know how to pick the right time; the city would be filled with all kinds of people. And right in the middle of that feast, with this group of 120 still sitting around, waiting, the sound of a violent wind enters the house, tongues of fire came down and separated, landing on the heads of those gathered there. The noise of that wind bewildered many people who heard it but saw no evidence – no swirling dust, no doors blowing open, the air itself remained calm. And no one’s hair or head was singed. Another clear example of God’s control for his purposes.
So the visiting crowd came to check it out. What really amazed them was that these simple, uneducated Galileans spoke in the native language of all the pilgrims to Jerusalem – at least a dozen languages or dialects. Now they had questions! What does this mean? Peter, that fisherman who often spoke before his brain could weigh the wisdom of his words and whose actions sometimes defied rationality, stands up and delivered a sermon to this crowd that any self-respecting theologian of the day could not have dreamed up.
How could he possibly do that? Only through that “power from on high” that Jesus had promised. This same Peter who had cowered and publicly denied even knowing Jesus has now been empowered by the Holy Spirit and shows no fear of the religious authorities, knows only boldness to proclaim salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. And let’s not forget, many in the crowd now listening were part of that same crowd that had screamed for the crucifixion and death of Jesus. And Peter boldly reminds them of that fact.
And how did they react. Acts tells us “they were cut to the heart.” It pained them, brought them to grief, it affected their conscience. That’s what the Gospel (sharper than a two-edged sword) does, if heard with an open mind and heart. But it also has healing power and that is when these same people asked what they now had to do to have their hearts healed. Obviously, they heard Peter’s answer – they repented, they believed, they were baptized. Three thousand of them, three thousand new missionaries for Christ as they go on their way home. What a harvest for the Kingdom of God. What a beautiful story. Read again Acts 2 and find all the nuggets of gold that happened in the power of the Holy Spirit.
You may ask, “what about the presence of the Holy Spirit today in this broken and difficult world? Dr. Gordon Spykman writes it this way: Through the workings of the Holy Spirit within us we are brought into living fellowship with Christ. To be “in the Spirit” is to be “in Christ.” The Spirit links us to Christ. He is the pulsating bond within the body of Christ (the church) – the muscles, the nerves, the tendons, binding Christians together as members of the body of Christ. And this happens not through some out-of-this-world, mountaintop experience on cloud nine: no it happens in the common affairs of everyday Christian living.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to do the work of the Lord in this world. The Spirit enlightens our minds and shows us, through God’s Word, how to live our lives to the glory of God and according to God’s will. We could never do any of this on our own, or in our own strength. Christ never meant for us to live our lives without his presence. That is why he sent the Holy Spirit.
The coming of the Holy Spirit may have been a one-day affair, but his presence is for our whole lives. The Spirit is present in our teaching and learning, in our daily living, in our grief and suffering, and in our joy and fellowship. As we continue to experience these difficult days, the Spirit is still with us. Jesus referred to him as the Comforter. Continue to cling to Jesus the Saviour who was given through the love of the Father and remember to “trust and obey” and the Spirit will lead, guide, and strengthen you in all ways. Jesus said, I will be with you, even to the end of the age,” May you have a BLESSED PENTECOST! Pastor Job

Blessings from the
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St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
67 Victoria Ave. Belleville

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St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Belleville, will share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people through worship, teaching, and service.

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