Christianity 201

June 4, 2022

Pentecost Sunday: The Church Branches Out

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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Acts.2.1.NIV 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[or languages] as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Growing up, I often heard Pentecost Sunday referred to as “the birthday of the church.” It is generally considered the ground zero moment for the Church-with-a-capital-C that Jesus said he would build.

We have a first-time writer to highlight again today. Pastor John B blogs at his self-named site and is a United Methodist pastor in the U.S. His tag line is,”Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!” Clicking the header which follows will take you to where today’s devotional first appeared.

As Faithful

Verse 6: “A crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his [or her] own language.”

Acts 2 tells the story of God’s word branching out. A small group of Jesus followers are gathered for worship in Jerusalem, a city teeming with people there to celebrate Pentecost or Shavuot, in Judaism. It is a yearly festival to celebrate the first fruits of the wheat harvest. On this day a loud wind draws people from all over the world to the house where the followers were gathered. Upon each follower was the flame of the Holy Spirit – just as Jesus has promised.

As the worldly crowd gathers, the Spirit enables the followers to speak the good news of Jesus Christ in a diverse array of languages. People from all over the known world hear these Galileans speaking in their own native tongues. Many are amazed by this act of God. They know that something extraordinary is happening here. Many listen and are drawn into Jesus.

When have you had a similar experience? Maybe for you it was when the Spirit prompted you to go and offer reconciliation. Maybe for you it was a nudge to go visit a shut-in or someone who was ill. Maybe it was a whisper to engage that stranger. Maybe it was a random thought to pray for someone you know. This same Holy Spirit continues to speak and to empower followers of Jesus Christ to witness to the good news. May we be as faithful as this first Pentecost crowd, drawing others to know our Jesus.

Prayer: Lord God, this day is full of opportunities. Use me as you see fit to be a sharer of the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Bonus item:

Some of you enjoy watching sermon content online. Earlier this week, it was announced that in the Fall, Andy Wood will replace Rick Warren as the senior pastor at Saddleback Church. I was curious to hear Andy preach, and this morning watched and listened to this sermon from a few months ago, about what it means to be an ambassador of Christ. (It’s part 3 in a series, but this was the message I selected earlier today.)

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