|Descent of the Holy Spirit - Dore|
TO CHEW ON: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them divided tongues of fire and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts 2:2-4
Three elements jump out at me as I read this thrilling passage of the Holy Spirit's coming on the day of Pentecost:
Wind was the sound of the Spirit's coming. Wind is that invisible unpredictable force of nature we all know. It is associated with the Spirit in other places in the Bible.
- Think back of creation where "The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2). The writer of my Bible's notes on Genesis explains: "Hovering connotes sweeping or moving rather than staying stationary. The Holy Spirit is the 'executive arm' of the Trinity so He was quite active as God spoke each word" - R. Russell Bixler, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 4.
- Jesus referred to the invisible, unpredictable wind when He spoke to Nicodemus about being born again: " 'The wind blows where it wishes and you can hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of he Spirit' " John 3:8.
Fire was the sight of the Spirit's coming. Controlled fire is a friend and powerful tool, but uncontrolled it's dangerous. God's presence is often linked with fire in the Bible.
- In the Old Testament God spoke to Moses from a fiery bush (Exodus 3:2).
- He lingered over Israel in the wilderness in a nighttime cloud that looked like fire (Exodus 13:21,22).
- And God descended on Mt. Sinai in fire, shielding the Israelites from His presence in a thunderous cloud of smoke (Exodus 19:18).
- John the Baptist predicted Jesus would baptize "... with the Holy Spirit and fire" - Matthew 3:11.
Tongues were the shape of the Spirit's flames and the result was everyone present "began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." The Holy Spirit and words are linked in other places too.
- When the Spirit came on the seventy elders who were to be Moses' helpers, they prophesied (Numbers 11:25).
- Joel predicted, "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughter shall prophesy…" (Joel 2:28).
- Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Spirit who would give them witnessing power (Acts 1:8).
- And it is through the Holy Spirit that we have the Bible writings (2 Peter 1:21).
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit's coming. As we ponder our own lives relating to the Spirit's presence, let's keep in mind how His empowering and working through us is wind-like. We can't control Him. What He accomplishes through us is done according to His sovereignty.
His presence in our lives is fire-like in its cleansing, powerful, helpful, sometimes dangerous ways.
Its evidence in our lives is words—words of prayer, praise, song, witness, teaching, encouragement, verbally and through all kinds of media.
PRAYER: Dear God thank You for sending the gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in me (1 Corinthians 3:16). May this be supported by the wind, fire, and words that emanate from my life. Amen.
MORE: Day of Pentecost.
Today is the Day of Pentecost or Whitsunday. Here is the Collect that begins the day's liturgy:
O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.