This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost and consider the significance of the events of that day. (Please wear something RED!)
Pentecost was a Jewish pilgrim harvest festival held 50 days after Passover. This festival drew crowds of people to Jerusalem to celebrate God’s goodness towards them in their present day and in their past. In particular they remembered how God gave the nation of Israel entry to the Promised Land.
In Acts 2:1-21 we see the promised Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples at Pentecost while people from many nations were gathered in Jerusalem. We hear about a great wind, tongues of flame, a cacophony of speech, and surprised onlookers hearing a message about God in their own language. There’s also an accusation of drunkenness, which is quickly refuted, and a much-needed explanation from Peter who stands to speak. He tells the crowd what has happened and, in the power of the Spirit, declares to them that what they are seeing is the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the last days. God’s Spirit will be poured out on all flesh; on men and women, young and old, slave and free.
Since the presence of the Spirit can be received by all flesh, it means all can prophesy. Prophesying here is to be understood in the general sense of possessing the knowledge of God and being able to communicate it. Under the old covenant, this was the responsibility of certain Spirit-empowered individuals. In the new covenant, it is the privilege of all: knowledge of God, now concentrated in Jesus and his gospel, is given to (and grows in) believers so that all can prophesy and share this knowledge with others—all empowered by the Spirit.
Over the next month in Church we will look at the ways the Holy Spirit enables us with prophecy, gifts of knowledge and the many other ways the Holy Spirit enables us to worship and serve our Lord.
This coming Sunday, may Pentecost remind us that the promises and presence of God through the Spirit means we can all share the knowledge of God with one another and with those who do not yet know Jesus.
May we all joining in the spirit of Pentecost and be excited to play our part in the ongoing harvest through the proclamation of the gospel of forgiveness of sins through Jesus, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” (Acts 1:8).
God is with you and for you.
Enjoy His presence.
Reverend Tanya Cummings