What a day! A day that would change 120 individuals, impact thousands, and go on to empower a movement that would impact the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ, transforming lives and communities right down to this day.
The Spirit had been promised generations before, an outpouring such as the world had never seen. An outpouring for which the people longed and looked for.
Jesus distinctly taught his followers about the Spirit, that he would come in his place as another comforter, counsellor, helper, teacher.
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven he said to those following him, don’t go anywhere until you have received the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, who will endue you with power to go into all the nations and tell others about me.
After the ascension the disciples waited and prayed, they prayed and they waited for ten days. They believed the promise, but they didn’t know how he would come.
Then on the day of Pentecost, when thousands of Jews were gathered from the nations in Jerusalem, while the 120 were praying again, suddenly, all unannounced, he came in the most unexpected of ways. The sound of a rushing mighty wind that filled the place they were in, a wind the likes of which they had never heard before, then what looked like tongues of fire sitting on their heads, and then hardly having time to get their heads around all that was happening they found themselves speaking languages they had never learned.
The noise was such that those outside heard, and those who heard were agast! They were amazed and perplexed. What on earth was going on? What were they doing? Wherever people had come from they could hear them speaking in their own languages, declaring the wonderful works of God, and these were ordinary Galileans! This wasn’t normal, it was unheard of. It certainly didn’t fit their traditions.
What was it all about? Were they drunk? No, it was the wrong time of day.
If you’re familiar with the story Peter gets up with the eleven and explains everything. I wonder when was the last time we had to explain what was happening?
Since that day there have been many outpourings of the Spirit. Outpourings that have challenged and revolutionised the people of God. Outpourings that the religious have struggled to come to terms with. Outpourings that have renewed and empowered the hungry and thirsty, Outpourings that have empowered the weak to witness and serve in new and powerful ways. Outpourings that have brought new life, vision and energy to dying churches.
The questions for us today are:
What do we know of His presence and power? Are we too confident in ourselves and our own abilities? Would we be affronted if He were to come in such a demonstrative way? Are we truly open to the Spirit? Have we made the Spirit an English gentlemen? Are we in need of another Pentecost?