Sunday, June 8th is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. Everyone is familiar with Christmas and most recognize Easter, but Pentecost is relatively unknown. In my mind, that is a great shame. It marks the coming of the promised Holy Spirit and the dawn of the Christian Age. Here is an excerpt from my book The Wind from the Shadows (Available from Amazon.com).
Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost
2 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Have you ever been “giddy for God”? After hiding in the upper room for nearly two weeks with doors and windows closed, on Sunday, Pentecost, at nine o’clock in the morning, the apostles along with over one hundred others, spilled out of their room and into the street praising God. It was a burst of joy so enthusiastic the neighbors thought they were drunk!
But notice the point of Peter’s message: These are the “last days” – the final age has dawned (v. 17)! All history has been pointing to this moment and we are part of it.
Second, God is pouring his Spirit out on everyone, not just a select few: men, women, young, old, slave, free. Holiness isn’t just for a tiny minority of prophets and priests. God’s Spirit is for everyone!
Third, and this is the most difficult point for us to understand, “and they shall prophesy,” (v. 18). We equate “prophesy” with “prediction” and “inspired speech,” but it is so much more than that. Turn with me to the Old Testament:
Do you remember the story of Saul, the first king of Israel?
1 Samuel 10:10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.
Does that mean Saul suddenly began foretelling the future? No, he became “giddy for God.” Let’s look at another passage from the life of Saul. King Saul sent messengers to capture David, but:
1 Samuel 19:20 … when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
I’m not suggesting that we should lose control like Saul did, but I am saying the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives should make us happy and maybe, just sometimes, “giddy for God.” Don’t hold back. God loves you and his Spirit is with you – SMILE.
All Scriptural quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (R) (ESV (R)) Copyright 2001 by Crossway publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.