1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 13But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'"
Easter is 50 Days; the Day of Pentecost is the 50th day of Easter
The church's year of grace features a trio of major festivals that relate to each Person of the Trinity/Godhead:
• Christmas – Nativity – Creation
• Resurrection – Easter – Redemption
• Pentecost – Whitsunday – Sanctification / Theosis
Next week we'll celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity; after that we'll segue into the long, winding, growing greening season Ordinary Time, also known as the Time of the Church.
Last week we discussed Jesus' Ascension and the conversation (again!) beforehand. His earthly disciples asked Jesus if at this time he would "restore the kingdom to Israel," and Jesus told them to wait for the Descent of the HS and they would be his witnesses. In other words, they would help "restore the kingdom."
Remember the Golden Calf Event in Exodus 32? God said, "Moses, your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt." Moses replied, "God, your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt." Which is it? Moses' people or God's people? It's both/and.
Discussion of Icons and Images of the HS:
dove / wind / fire. Peace, comfort. Fire sears, burns, purifies. A year after a wildfire, new seedlings cover the forest floor. Some seeds need to be singed by fire in order to open. Controlled, prescribed burning by the Forest Service. Different forms wind takes. Do we resist the wind or move in its direction? Sun in your face, wind at your back?
In his book of the Acts of the Apostles Luke brings us the only scriptural account of the Day of Pentecost. The HS is prominent throughout Luke's gospel (and in Acts, of course). The apostle Paul and the gospel of John also tell us a lot about the HS.
Jesus says we will be his witnesses. What does witnessing mean? What does a witness do? Courtroom. The 12th apostle needed to be a "witness to the resurrection," someone who has experienced the risen Christ.
The past two weeks we've talked about the Church as the Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World. With its senses the world can witness – see, hear, touch, taste, smell – the church, and in the church's activity, hopefully the world will recognize the presence of God's Kingdom.
Will you at this time restore the kingdom? The question is wrong! Wait here in Jerusalem, and you shall be my witnesses. The HS makes witness possible. The converse? Without the HS there is no witness.