On the day of Pentecost, 120 of Jesus’ disciples gathered together when the Holy Spirit suddenly descended upon them. The power and presence of Pentecost was on full display for all to see. Three supernatural signs marked the arrival of the Holy Spirit. All those gathered in the upper room HEARD something, SAW something, and SAID something.
PENTECOST: WHAT THEY HEARD
I will never forget Hurricane Irma hitting the I-75 Corridor while we were living in Fort Myers, Florida. The wind made a distinct and breathtaking sound that left an indelible mark in my memory. While we waited for the storm to pass, the wind created a high-pitched whistle that echoed for miles. The wind crashed against our storm shutters like an endless drum solo. The constant crash created an eerie yet captivating sound that reverberated throughout the house. This sound is both terrifying and mesmerizing, serving as a reminder of the incredible power of a hurricane.
Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit’s power is like that! The arrival of the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus’ disciples to fulfill the mission that He had given them. It’s a reminder that the Holy Spirit cannot be tamed or controlled. Rather the Holy Spirit must be surrendered to and allowed to guide us where He wills.
When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we are filled with power and strengthened to accomplish all that God calls us to do. The power of the Holy Spirit also transforms our lives, shaping us into who God wants us to be.
The Hebrew term for “spirit,” ruach, has multiple meanings, including wind and breath. This word emphasizes the concept of God infusing life into everything. In the Old Testament, God’s Spirit is depicted as breathing life into the world.
One powerful example of the Holy Spirit breathing life into the world is found in Ezekiel 37:9-10. In this passage, the prophet Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley of dry bones. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, and as he does, the Spirit enters them, bringing them back to life.
Similarly, in the New Testament, the Greek word for “spirit” is pneuma, which also means wind or breath. This highlights the same idea that the Holy Spirit breathes spiritual life into those who are spiritually dead. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it brings new life, transforming us from the inside out.
PENTECOST: WHAT THEY SAW
Throughout Scripture, fire symbolizes the powerful presence of God. In the Old Testament, fire was frequently associated with God’s presence. When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he noticed that it was burning but not being consumed. This symbolized God’s presence in a tangible manner. Similarly, when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God guided them with a pillar of fire at night. This fiery presence acted as a guide, indicating where to go and providing them with protection from their adversaries. The author of Hebrews describes God as an all-consuming fire.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the form of tongues of fire. This empowered the disciples to preach the gospel with boldness and conviction. This fiery presence of the Holy Spirit transformed the disciples from timid followers into fearless witnesses for Christ. It is noteworthy that the “tongues of fire” rested on each disciple, signifying that God’s presence was dwelling within each of them.
As believers, we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, allowing for a personal relationship with God. Similar to Pentecost, where the fire rested on each individual, the Holy Spirit also dwells in each of us. This serves as a reminder that we are never alone in our faith journey, as God is with us every step of the way. By utilizing the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our lives, we can conquer sin, lead a life of love and service, and spread the message of Jesus to others.
PENTECOST: WHAT THEY SAID
At Pentecost, one of the remarkable events that took place was that the disciples began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability. This was not a sudden acquisition of language skills, but rather a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit. This was in fulfillment of the promise that they would be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
The Greek word used for “utterance” in this text means to “enunciate clearly.” The apostles were able to speak in known languages that were previously unknown to them. This miraculous event was a clear indication that the Gospel was meant for people of all nations, and that the church must spread the Gospel to every people, tribe, and language.
This emphasis on the universality of the Gospel is a recurring theme throughout the New Testament. It reflects God’s redemptive plan for all people, regardless of their background or ethnicity. The events at Pentecost remind us that the church is called to be a witness to the nations, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone we meet.
Presence And Power
The Holy Spirit POWER is like a mighty rushing wind, and His PRESENCE is like an all-consuming fire. Every follower of Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit’s PRESENCE, providing us with His unwavering POWER to be witnesses and carry the Gospel where we live, work, and play.
To summarize, during Pentecost, the Holy Spirit bestowed upon the disciples in a remarkable manner. The wind-like noise and fire atop each disciple were symbolic representations of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence. Today, every believer is filled with this same Holy Spirit. The disciples’ speaking in different languages indicated that the church must spread the message of the Gospel to people of all nations, tribes, and languages.
As believers, the Holy Spirit empowers us to bear witness to Christ’s message of salvation with boldness. His presence in our lives serves as a constant reminder of God’s love and grace, and allows us to live out our faith with unwavering conviction and purpose.
As members of the church, we are called to share the message of the Gospel with everyone we meet, just as the disciples did on that first Pentecost. We must be willing to step out in faith, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us for the task at hand. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can reach people of every nation and language, sharing the hope and love of Christ with a world in need.