Out of all the great nights that have ever happened since the beginning of humanity, surely this incredible night in history is a strong candidate for the best night ever... So, you might ask, what makes the original Pentecost so special? Simply, it is the time when the Holy Spirit came to dwell within the disciples, and was the continuation of Christ’s promise of being with his followers, even until the end of time.
Question… What actually happened at Pentecost?
SO glad you asked J
Many things happened, but there are three that are worth highlighting – because they still happen powerfully today when people are filled with the Spirit:
1) The disciples were empowered (cf. Acts 2:1-4)
Tongues of fire and a rushing wind signified the Holy Spirit’s arrival, and the disciples were filled with courage and were empowered. Now the word ‘empowered’ that is used here literally means ‘to place power within’– and this was precisely the promise of Christ in Acts 1:8:
‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses…’
Pentecost fulfils that promise in a very powerful and real way, and this promise extends right into the present day! Followers of Christ are empowered by the Spirit to live their lives passionately and boldly – changing the world around them by their words and actions.
2) The Good News is proclaimed (cf. Acts 2:14-36)
This follows on from the ‘my witnesses’ part in Acts 1:8 – the disciples (Led by Peter) stand up in public and proclaim the Good News about Jesus Christ, passionately sharing truth about the reality of God’s Kingdom and His invitation: that those who receive this Good News can participate and live in this Kingdom. Many lives are changed (starting with 3,000 people gathered on that day) forever as a result of this powerful message.
3) They share life together (cf. Acts 2:42-47)
Another important part of the Pentecost event was how it affected the community of believers. They shared what they had with one another, they ate meals together, spent time together and were generous with all they had. They became an amazing example of what ‘Church’ should look like – and they could live this way because they were empowered by the Spirit. When the Spirit is alive and moving in a group of people, you tend to see stuff like this happening – generosity, joy, peace, kindness… we call these things the fruit (like evidence or ‘effect’) of the Spirit.
Pope Francis at a mass the other day and had this to say about the Holy Spirit:
“The Spirit does everything, knows everything, reminds us what Jesus said, can explain all about Jesus…The Holy Spirit is the one who moves us to praise God, to pray the Lord, the one who is within us and teaches us to see the Father and to call him ‘Father’.”
Wow - that’s pretty powerful stuff! This is what all Christians have access to, and it’s what the disciples received at Pentecost (quite possibly the #bestnightever).
Our challenge is to receive it, breathe it in – and then live it out!
This Article was written by Karl Brown from Ignite Youth Perth.
Karl has been investing in youth formation and development for the last 15 years. Working in youth and young adult ministries, he has also been part of university campus ministry and academic staff. A passionate communicator and storyteller, Karl lives with his wife and two cats in Perth, WA.