We may chalk Pentecost up to an event that happened and leave it in its historical past tense. And who could blame us? We celebrate Christmas every year, but Jesus isn’t born again in a manger. We say that Jesus is born “in our hearts”, either for the first time or again, but there’s no baby crying in a manger. There wouldn’t need to be; Christ’s work as Emmanuel has been accomplished. We celebrate Easter every year, but Jesus doesn’t die and rise again, as if there’s a tomb whose rock door is annually rolled away. It happened and doesn’t need to happen again.
But Pentecost — that’s a little different.
There are similarities, yes. Pentecost is a real, actual, historical event that is recorded in Acts 2 and had immediate tangible results from which Christians benefit. But Pentecost started something one day that has continued every day since, at least in some measure — the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. While the first event took place in an upper room, complete with rushing wind and burning fire, it continues to happen today. I’ve never actually heard the wind. I’ve never seen fire land on anyone’s head. But I have seen the Holy Spirit move in powerful, even overwhelming ways. Pentecost happened. Pentecost is happening. God is on the move, looking for those who will trust Jesus and seek the filling of the Holy Spirit. Its how the church is supposed to run — by this power, poured out at Pentecost and poured out today. If only we’d hunger for it!
This Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost. May His church be immersed as the Holy Spirit is poured out again and again (and again and again and again). Do you long for this? Is it even on your radar? Do you remember how it was or wonder how it could be?
This is world-changing stuff we’re dealing with, and it can’t be scoffed. What if God’s people, humbling themselves, sought after Him and said “Fill me now…”
Can you imagine?
Can you see what kind of difference this would make? The healing? The wholeness? The grace and power — the dynamite — that would enable the church to boldly be? It only seems special because we don’t know it all that well. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would be poured out again, even after the Pentecost event, as seen in Acts 4:31.
To live missionally is to live by the power of the Spirit. Without that power, we are merely doing social service. It must be more. It must be supernatural. It must be something we seek. And this Sunday, we will seek!
For the spreading of the message of Christ. By the power of the Spirit. For the glory of God!
The entire point of Pentecost is that God will accomplish his purposes through us, not because we are powerful in ourselves, but because he will show his power through us.
-Craig S. Keener