Receive the Holy Spirit - Celebrating Pentecost
"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.'" - Acts 2:38
We are blessed by the precious promise of the Holy Spirit as those whom God is calling today.
The bold words of Peter are meant to reach our hearts and to help us see clearly how much we need God's forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
This is the message that is going out to every believer in every church, but not only that. He says it'ss for all those who are far off.
The church, the believers and followers of Jesus Christ are being used today to carry for that messsage of that promise.
Today the Holy Spirit Continues to testify about Jesus Christ to us. The Spirit continues to use God's church to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ from sin and death, as the proclamation of God's reign in His Kingdom is made knwon to many people around the world.
While God uses many ways to reach those who are distant, he also uses the faithful to share the gospel message, as he did with Peter on that Pentecost day so many years ago.
Jesus' disciples were all together when Pentecost came. The traditional celebration of the harvest given by God among the Israelites, known as the Feast of Weeks had reached its conclusion. It also marked the 7 weeks after the Passover. It so happened that Jesus' followers were gathering that day to pray, awaiting the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had made right before he ascended to heaven.
As they prayed they experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.
The seven weeks after the Lord's resurrection were very significant for the disciples, who came to have renewed faith in Jesus as their Lord and savior. While some had faltered in their hope for the future in the wake of Jesus' suffering and eath on the cross, they were refreshed and prepared to obey the commands of the Lord to make disciples of all nations.
After the Lord's ascension into heaven, they waited patiently in Jerusalem for 10 days with prayer for the Spirit to come upon them.
As they gathered, the result of the Holy Spirit's coming was that those who were separated by language could now clearly understand each other. Even Peter who had previously denied the Lord now boldly preached the gospel of Jesus Christ as crowds of thousands repented and came to believe in the Lord.
This gift of God's Spirit was now being poured out among many people, regardless of age, gender and social standing. It marked the beginning of the community of followers of Jesus Christ, the Church, that emerged through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are living in this time. God is pouring out his Spirit today. May believers - and those God will call - receive it joyfully.