This is the last of our weeks where we are are looking at post-resurrection experiences that people have with Jesus. This week is not so much an encounter with Jesus as it is the Holy Spirit. This week we are going to be looking at what happened on Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. We’ll be looking at Acts 2: 1-36. We won’t share the entire text here since it is so long, but you can read this passage by clicking here.
Today we’ll take a moment to look at the World of the Text. What is actually happening within this passage? We see that the disciples are gathered together praying, and in one accord, or one “spirit.” What amazing things can happen as the church when we are all on the same page. The Spirit comes and they begin to speak in these languages, and folks heard them speaking in these languages. Many got saved, but others thought that they were just drunk.
One of the common things we see in scripture, and this is a hard thing to actually try to live into, is that when you are truly following God, truly living by the Spirit, truly trying to be obedient, people may think that there is something wrong with you. That sounds like it makes sense until you actually do it. Then folks you know, folks you love, folks that love you may question you and that can hurt. That’s why we have to be living by the Spirit because it is the Spirit who will give us the grace to be faithful in that those hard moments.
Look at Peter. He failed badly on Maundy Thursday. Now, he boldly stands up and preaches to everyone. To those he was at one point afraid of, now he shares the Good News of Jesus with so many. No longer is he dominated by fear or doubt or lack of understanding but though the Spirit he sees, he understands, and he shares the Good News.
What made the difference for him and for everyone? It was the giving of the Spirit.
We see within this, as we talked about yesterday, though Peter quoting both Joel and David (and the fact that this happens on a major Jewish holiday) that what happened today was no an outlier in scripture and in the faith, in fact, was what it was all pointing to. Then entire scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, points us to Jesus. All of it. It all points to Jesus, so of course Joel and David point to Jesus. The church only exists in Jesus and through the Spirit. As Christians, we do not stand only one part of scripture, but upon the totality of it. And the totality of it should be read and understood.
Today we see how it is read and understood. Through the Holy Spirit. Peter and the crowd had heard these passages before but had never understood them in light of Jesus, as they did today. What made that difference? The Spirit. That is why Pentecost is the birth of the Church. The church exists for Jesus by the power of the Spirit.
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