Does anyone remember sunday school or primary school classes about Pentecost where you coloured in tongues of fire resting above the heads of the Disciples? Pentecost was such an easy passage to draw yet it was a confusing passage to understand as a kid because we read about tongues of fire, a rushing wind and a Holy Spirit as a dove. Whilst I don’t expect kids to get the full understanding of the Holy Spirit, it would be a shame if adults had this limited understanding of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
Pentecost is not a memory of an event 2000 years ago but a reminder that God is still active in the world today through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is not just an even for “Pentecostals” but for everyone who calls themself a Christian.
Recently at Bible College we debated whether John 20:22 was St John’s version of the Pentecost event that occurs in Acts 1 written by St Luke. Whilst the debate leaned towards it being a separate event, the main message of our discussion was that Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples because He was about to leave them. A better question would be “why did they need the Holy Spirit?” The answer to this question is that when Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples needed God’s support to carry on the mission of spreading the Good News or Gospel.
The Holy Spirit, or Comforter, is not given to us so that we can be comfortable, but so that we are comforted as we engage in Mission. If we want to know where the Holy Spirit is working today, take a look at those engaged in Mission. The Holy Spirit empowers us for mission. The Holy Spirit equips us for building the Church and equipping the Saints (see Ephesians 4:12).
I have heard it said that the Church doesn’t have a mission, the Mission has a church. On a day like Pentecost we are reminded that we are empowered to take this Good News out to the world, not keep it to ourselves within the walls of our Church building. My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit blesses you with the gifts you need to be bold and courageous in the mission within your community.