“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”
On Sunday the Christian Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost. It is a major day in the Christian calendar as it recalls the enlivening and empowering gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. It marks the beginning of the life and ministry of the Christian Church, as the Body of Christ, after the Ascension of the Lord.
It was an event that Jesus had foretold when He informed the disciples,
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
It was also the fulfilment of the prophecy of John the Baptist. Each of the four gospels has John specifically stating that a key part of the ministry of Jesus would be to baptise people with (orig. Greek ‘in’) the Holy Spirit. This significance must not be overlooked as it underlines the importance of what was to happen by associating it with Jesus salvation ministry.
- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)
- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8)
- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16)
- “He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:33)
The revelation of Scripture is that nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity together with God the Father and God the Son. We find Him particularly in the Great Beginnings recorded in the Bible.
- The Beginning of Creation
- “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
- The Beginning of Jesus humanity
- “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
- The Beginning of Jesus Ministry
- “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
- The Beginning of the Christian Church’s ministry
- “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 as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)
The wonder and glorious truth is that the same Holy Spirit is the gift of God to His people today.
- “If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13)
- “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
He has been taken for granted and even ignored, and the state of the Church bears its own witness to this unhappy truth. However, He still works His ministry of love, grace and life in and through those who will receive Him, and brings us deeper and deeper into the reality and love of our Lord.
Without Him we could not know or respond to our Lord. Without Him we would have no gifts or empowerment for our life and ministry. With Him there is the light, life and love of God revealed to us.
Pray that He will continually fill you too. As Christians we must neither ignore Him nor confine Him.
Holy Spirit, I ask You to fill my life, draw me closer to Jesus, and lead me in the purposes of God, each and every day. Amen.