When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Of all the miracles referenced in the Bible, the Pentecost miracle in Acts 2 may be at the top of my list of moments I would love to have seen. The tongues of fire ushering down God’s Spirit to indwell God’s people…wow!
In terms of their impact on this world and the ushering in of a completely new chapter in God’s story, I tend to think of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Pentecost as three aspects of a single, “this changes everything” moment in history. All are significant in themselves, but all are necessary to bring about the age of the church. It is a little like a three-legged stool in that regard. Take any one of the legs away and you have an entirely different situation.
These three events (which all happened within just a few weeks of each other), taken together, changed forever the way God would relate to his creation…AND the way we, His children, would relate to each other.
Follow the history with me through the Bible…
In the garden, God related to Adam and Eve through an interpersonal relationship (yes, I am quite the literalist in my interpretation of scripture). After their “fall”, God found other ways of relating to us, first through the Mosaic law and then through the prophets. Want to “hear” from God? Look it up in the law or hear it through Samuel or Elijah or some other “man of God”. Then we had 400 (or so) years of “silence” from God between the accounts of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Then, Jesus came, and God would then relate to us through the man, Jesus. Want to hear a fresh word from the Lord? Go and sit at the feet of Jesus, and be amazed. Then came the crucifixion and the resurrection and Jesus’ ascension into Heaven…and the promise that everything was about to change. And it did.
The Spirit of God came and, for the first time, began to indwell God’s people on a mass scale. And the Spirit has been doing that ever since. The Spirit of God Himself indwells every believer…you, me, that person in our church with whom we disagree so vehemently, that preacher whose theology is so messed up, that arrogant fundamentalist, that liberal pro-choice Christian, that Calvinist, that Armenian, that contemporary worshiper, that traditional worshiper, etc. You get my drift.
Ever since Pentecost, God has related to us differently. Now, in addition to the letter of the law, we have direct access to the very Spirit of God’s law. Ever since Pentecost, we must relate to each other differently, because God’s Spirit indwells each of us. You and I can disagree, we can argue, we can even part company and go our separate ways…but I do so knowing that my Savior lives in you, and yours in me. That matters, doesn’t it? That changes everything.
© Blake Coffee