Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Eve of Pentecost

It’s seven weeks past Passover, in A.D. 33, and its also the same time past the crucifixion and the resurrection the following Sunday. Ten days ago, Jesus has ascended into the sky from the Mount of Olives in a display of God’s glory that was awe inspiring. The glory of God’s “shekinah” had enveloped the bodily rising Savior and the last of him the disciples had seen was as he disappeared into the blindingly brilliant glory of that cloud. The angels who appeared next were not nearly as impressive after that, but their message was—“this same Jesus” would one day return in the same way he left—with the glory of God shining.

Jesus had already told them to be witnesses to him, throughout the world, but to wait in Jerusalem until power came to them. He had spoken to them in the upper room of the Holy Spirit that the Father would send in Jesus’ name as that power. They certainly would need that power; after all, how would such a ragtag bunch be able to carry off something that was to be worldwide in scope?

They had some idea of what was going to come, and they didn’t doubt Jesus, but how would they know?

And while they’d done some praying and worhsiping, and they’d selected a replacement for the accursed Judas, there was, no doubt, a sense of anticipation mixed with uncertainty and just a little impatience. Jesus had said it would be a “few days from now” just before he left, and that was over a week ago. By most of their measures, they were at the most generous understanding of “a few days.”

So, when would the Spirit come, and how would they know? What kind of power would it be?

Today is Pentecost Eve.  And perhaps, like the disciples in the upper room, you are waiting just a bit impatiently for the promised power of God to show up in a time of great need. You can’t do what you know is God’s will in your own strength (perhaps a consistent record of failure in that regard has cemented that message in your mind). You know he has promised you power, but when?

The answer, as it was for the disciples in the upper room, is “a few days from now.” God often builds waiting into his provision so that we will learn faith and patience.

The answer is also “tomorrow.” It will come at the most needed opportune moment. For the disciples it was Pentecost, the great Jewish feast where in one day they could start their mission to the world with an audience from the known world all gathered in one place. For you, it will be the moment when you most need his power, and when you can use it most effectively. By the way, while we tend to think of the tongues of fire, the mighty wind, and being supernaturally empowered to speak the languages of their hearers, the point of the power was witness to Jesus. And that has been its “point” ever since.”
And, because we live after Pentecost, the answer is “today.” While the disciples did not have the indwelling Advocate/Comforter, we do, and his powerful presence is always available to convict you when you sin, to enlighten you when you read the Word and ask for understanding, and empower you to tell the world about Jesus.

Let this Pentecost Eve remind you of the power that changed everything the very next day is the same Holy Spirit that is present in you and around you, to enable you to live a life and speak the words that will make much of Jesus, as the Hero of your story (and everyone else’s).
Visiting the traditional site of the Upper Room