Pentecost – Can I Get a witness?
Acts 1:3 (ESV) He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Meanwhile in the first century Jerusalem…
Imagine the scene, the guy you have been following around for the last three years because you believed he was the Messiah is arrested by local law enforcement, betrayed by one of your closest friends for money! Everyone both locally and nationwide is talking about his death, there are several eye witnesses.
Then the unbelievable happens, three days later, he appears again, ALIVE! You know it is him because you have been a step behind him for his whole ministry, you have been in earshot of every word he said, you may not always have grasped the meaning, but you were there.
He hangs around for just over a month, appearing to smaller crowds (1 Cor 15:6) and affirming to the faithful that he is actually alive and rose from the dead. You can see (and Thomas wanted to feel) the wounds in his hands, you get that he came back to show he was who he said he was!
Now he says this, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit! Well he hasn’t been wrong so far and now you realise that he is God! We are given one instruction, stay put in the city we are in, that’s not to hard huh? Then they will fulfil Isaiah 43:10.
Fast forward to the 21st century
Can you imagine what the disciples had gone through in the last 50 odd days? If they would be getting diagnosed in modern times they would have all manners of PTSD.
They are so happy Jesus has come back, they realise that he is who he said he was so they ask the obvious question to the Jew of that day “when will Israel be restored”. You see, like Herod and so many other Jews, they focused on the prophesies that spoke of the messiah returning to re-establish his Kingdom and were looking for the messiah to overthrow Rome.
Jesus answers plainly, the kingdom you may not know, but the power from the kingdom you will get shortly! It wasn’t too long before the prophesy was fulfilled.
Acts 2:1 (ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
Nowadays, I use social media to get the word of God out, I find it the easiest way to connect and tell a few thousand folks within a few seconds and be a witness to how Christ has changed me. Based on this sites stats, people have viewed the “testimony” page more than any other page (not including blog posts)
This was social as opposed to social media. God chose a time where there was no MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or any if that fun stuff, he also chose a place where everyone who would be seeking God would be and at a time where they would all be in that city.
These devout men, who would already be of good reputation in their own lands, would come back with this story of how the Holy Spirit same down and how these men communicated to them each in a way they would recognise (all simultaneously) – Talk about Christianity exploding on a geographic scale! This was the great commission being fulfilled in one act.
What so many people miss in tho passage and focus on the act of speaking in tongues is that the disciples had two tasks
1) be in the place I told you to be in (Jerusalem)
2) wait until I tell you to wait.
We can learn so much from that, from their simple obedience came Pentecost! Simple huh?
As Christians we have to live by the spirit and not by the flesh, we read the following in Galatians:
Galatians 6:8 (ESV) For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
So to recap, be obedient, be where God tells you to be, live by the spirit and not grow weary! Let us all go and be witnesses now!
God bless you one and all and Happy Pentecost