‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.- (Acts 2:1-4 NIV)
As we approach Pentecost, we will be preparing to hear once again this description of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples as they gathered together in Jerusalem.
Only in our imaginations can we visualise what this moment was like. It would certainly have been unnerving with the sound of a violent wind blowing and what seemed like tongues of fire settling upon them. It may have even been more spectacular than Luke could find words to describe it with ! It was almost certainly nothing like they had anticipated when Jesus had promised that he would send another helper, ‘another Counsellor ‘ to be with them ( John 16:7-9)
Pentecost is a vivid demonstration of how God works in powerful and unexpected ways as he keeps his promises to us.
Whilst He might not pour out The Holy Spirit on us through wind and flames , there is no doubt that he will keep his promise to equip us through The Spirit but at in times and places at which we least expect it Him. We may be as surprised and shocked as the disciples in our own way by the way in which he comes to us and blesses us with his power. To the disciples he came to them all at once and gave power speaking in tongues because that was the spectacular gift that the early church needed. To us he may come in the quietness or the ordinariness of life. He comes giving us the gifts that are appropriate to our needs and for own growth and for the building of his Kingdom. They enable us to live life showing love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
The celebration of Pentecost is a reminder that God is not done with us yet, that we need to be prepared, open and ready for the blessing of the Holy Spirit that he has promised for each one of us as surprising and unnerving as that might be!!
Have you ever experienced ‘A Resurrection’? My hunch is that we all have at some time in our lives!
Think about times when things seemed to have all been going wrong and then there was an unexpected change in your circumstances and things started to go right again! Think about times when an item has been lost and you have had to cope without it, but then it is found and you are able to live more freely again!. Think of a time when you meet a friend or relative who you have not seen for a long time and you just pick up on that relationship just as if you had seen each other only yesterday, or just look out into your garden and see what is happening in your flower beds!
We all experience ‘resurrections’ of some form or another in our lives. Each ‘resurrection’ that we experience transforms an experience of darkness into an experience of light , for the God who created us and who we worship is the creator of new beginnings .
Easter is the celebration of the greatest Resurrection of all, the resurrection of Jesus, God’s own Son who, although crucified and placed in the tomb, rose again on the third day by the power of God to mark a new beginning by transforming defeat into victory, sadness into joy, hopelessness into hope, fear into confidence, guilt into forgiveness and above all, death into life!
The Resurrection of Jesus is the proof of the amazing and transforming power of God in the world and in our lives for, through Jesus willingly bearing the sins of us all on his shoulders and rising from the dead, our futures are transformed from one of deserved condemnation and separation from God to one of forgiveness and an eternal life with Him.
Paul explains this in Romans 6 :4 writing: ‘ We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life’
This Easter may we give thanks for the ‘little resurrections’ we see in our lives but above all celebrate and embrace the transformation, the new life that is ours through The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.