4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait(I) for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.(J) 5 For John baptized with[a]water,(K) but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”(L)
Many churches celebrated Pentecost Sunday this week. This amazing event occurred 50 days after the resurrection and 10 days after the ascension of Jesus. With a mighty rush the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and filled them with more power than they had ever experienced before. This power enabled them to speak truth to power about the resurrection of Jesus in every Jewish language even though they were all Galileans - to the amazement of the crowd who gathered.
Some may associate the day of Pentecost with the first time the Holy Spirit appeared in humanity but the Bible tells us that the Spirit of God has been present since the beginning. Genesis 1:1-2 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Many other passages in the Bible before the resurrection tell us that the Holy Spirit was active in humanity before the day of Pentecost.
4 The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
11 Do not cast me(A) from your presence(B) or take your Holy Spirit(C) from me.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” If the Holy Spirit was there at creation, with Job, with David, and with Jesus and His disciples before the resurrection - what was really going on during the Pentecost event?
The day of Pentecost was a demonstration of God sending the Holy Spirit with more power than ever before in a way that would reveal the truth about who we are and God’s plan for humanity. This new move of the Spirit would bring us all together in a relationship with the risen Lord and create one family of God. Sending the Holy Spirit for this purpose in this way was God’s plan since the beginning. From the Spirit of God hovering over the waters in Genesis to the Holy Spirit rushing like a mighty wind into the new community of believers in Acts, God’s perfect will was manifested in human history.
However, in John 16:13a Jesus tells us that this outpouring of His Spirit at Pentecost was not the final act in this plan. “13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” Now as God’s family of believers we are to be led by the Holy Spirit into all the truth. This means truth is a journey and we are the travelers. During our brief time on earth it is upon us to seek more power from the Holy Spirit to courageously take our generation deeper into all the truth, drawing us closer to Him, the creation, and each other.
Rev. Susan Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church www.emanuelreformedchurch.com
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