When it is our birthday, it’s a time to celebrate that time in which we came into the world. We sometime receive presents and gifts, and if you have children, it is a time to remind them how special their birthday is.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church. It is when we received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He is special.
Pentecost comes from the Greek word πεντεχοστος meaning 50. Fifty days after the Passover, or in this case, fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
God pours out His Holy Spirit in a profound way on a room of believers waiting in prayer on the Lord in expectation of what Jesus said God would send.
Jesus had commanded his believers to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the world. In giving this order to His followers, Jesus repeated the warning, ‘stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 22:49.
Jesus is in essence saying ‘Don’t leave unprepared. Do not forget that the mission I have given you, you cannot complete in your own steam. God knows it, so wait for His power to come upon you’.
So, in the upper room that day the Holy Spirit came like the sound of a rushing wind. The disciples found themselves talking in languages they had never spoken. The Holy Spirit enabled them to communicate with the multicultural, multilingual, multitude in Jerusalem the message that Jesus had risen from the dead and enabled all mankind to come back into a relationship with the Father.
Good news however is not always received as good. Two of Jesus’ followers Peter and John found this out when they went to the Temple to tell of the good news of Jesus and helped a crippled man of forty years when they healed him in Jesus’ name. That did not go down well with the leading Pharisees who had only just a month ago had Jesus executed, and rumours of his rise from the dead echoed in Jerusalem’s stone walled streets.
Here two of his followers boldly, even brazenly confront those religious leaders who plotted Jesus’ death. Boldness not of their own, but empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Captured in the letter of Acts of the Apostles is a line that says where Peter and John’s faith really lay.
29 And now Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond servants may speak Your word with all confidence’. Acts 4:29
Once again, the Holy Spirit filles the room and then them and they speak boldly.
Peter and the other disciples do not ask God for the situation to change. They do not ask for the Pharisees favour; they step up and ask for boldness to do that which they are most at risk of being ill-treated for.
What passion, what zeal, but what love for Jesus, that these men received from God the boldness to continue.
The Holy Spirit power is to enable us as believers to do what Jesus has called us to do. That same power is available to us today, but how often we shy away from starting a conversation, from saying truth into difficult circumstances.
If you have struggled with this, you are in good company. We all have. We do not have to stay there though. As believers in Jesus the Holy Spirit enables us to complete the plan for our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus.
Here is a simple prayer that you can pray today, or every morning to help focus you on where your help comes from.
God, I confess that I sometimes hold back from sharing Jesus with others. I am sorry. I make the prayer of the early believers my own.
Enable me to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’