COVER STORY – PENTECOST
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Soon we will arrive at one of the high festivals of the church year, Pentecost. This year Pentecost falls on Sunday, May 23. This is the day when we commemorate the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples. It happened fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection, ten days after His ascension. In obedience to the instructions Jesus had given them, the disciples tarried in Jerusalem in anticipation of receiving this gift. As they were gathered at a certain location in the city, all of a sudden, out of the blue, extraordinary things started to happen. The sound of a gale-force wind filled the house where they were staying. Something that looked like tongues of fire appeared and came to rest on each of them. They were given ability to communicate in languages they had never gone to school to learn.
For what purpose did God cause these supernatural phenomena to occur? The sound of a howling wind, itself a miracle, served the purpose of drawing people to the place where the disciples were so they could hear the message Jesus had given the disciples to share. The fiery tongues miracle conveyed a loud and clear message to all those gathered around: “Something noteworthy is going on here! Let’s find out what it is!” But the primary miracle (on a scale of one to ten you could give it a “ten”) was the sudden ability the Spirit gave the disciples to speak the wonderful works of God to others with courage and boldness, so that many were led to faith. These one-time scaredy-cats, who not long before had secluded themselves in a locked room to avoid detection, were changed into people who were supremely happy—and not the least bit afraid—to openly spread the Gospel of Jesus! They just couldn’t keep themselves from telling the assembled multitude about the Savior Who lived for them, died for them, came alive on Easter morning, and Who promises to come back to take all who trust in Him into the place of perfect peace. It was through the sharing of these blessed truths that thousands were converted and became recipients of the priceless gifts of forgiveness, new spiritual life, and an unfading inheritance in the life of the world to come. It’s not difficult to imagine how, when they returned home from the Pentecost festival, they also became witnesses for Jesus in the places where they lived.
Still today the Spirit causes the same miracle to happen. Through the message of the Gospel—which is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16)—He keeps on adding souls to the Church. He keeps on leading people lost in unbelief’s darkness to trust in Jesus as their one Redeemer from sin, death, and hell. He keeps on inspiring them, as He did the disciples on the Pentecost of long ago, to serve as witnesses to their Lord.
Praise be to the Holy Spirit for working this miracle in you, dear reader. Pay homage to Him for bringing you to a knowledge of your Savior and leading you to rejoice in all He accomplished for you. Sing to the Spirit songs of adoration for blessing you with eagerness to share the Gospel message with family, friends, and those living in faraway places (through your church’s mission program), confident that He will work His “primary Pentecost miracle” (conversion!) in many hearts.
Come, Holy Spirit, from above
With Thy celestial fire;
Come and with flames of zeal and love
Our hearts and tongues inspire.
Be this our day of Pentecost,
The coming of the Holy Ghost!
Thomas Schuetze is pastor of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Colorado.