“Happy Birthday Church”

ImageBirthdays are wonderful times of each year, complete with presents, cake and candles. God loves to celebrate as well and today in Acts 2 we see how he sends the Holy Spirit as the present and tongues of fire as the candles. The icing on the cake comes from seeing how God will use this to bring 3000 members to his flock in one sitting. What a party!

The Birthday day was Pentecost. It is the Jewish celebration 50 days after Passover known as Shavuot in Hebrew. It is one of the three feasts when all men near enough to Jerusalem come to present themselves and thus this is why we can ascertain that there were so many Jews present in that city. We remember from Acts 1 that Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples “presenting himself alive with many convincing proofs” and that he commanded that they stay put in Jerusalem until the promise of the Father. Thus we are about 10 days after his ascension. 

God’s “present” to his church was the infilling of the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Triune God; sent to teach and recall the all things that Jesus taught his disciples. When Jesus was baptized he was anointed with power with the Holy Spirit who descended upon him in the form of a dove. Now God will send the Holy Spirit to anoint the beginning of the church with tongues of fire and power.

God’s “Birthday Candles” were the tongues like a fire appearing to them and rested upon each one. We recall from the OT that God put a pillar of fire to guide his children and now it appears that this pillar has divided into many parts to anoint each part of the body with His power and gifts; one of which was the gift of spoken languages. AQ

Within the city the sound came and “a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” They were baffled and responded in two ways which is the same way people respond today. Some were astounded and asked “What does this mean” while others jeered and said “They are drunk on new wine.” Lest they be without excuse God sends his message of love and forgiveness to the listeners through Peter—the one who denied, was restored and now is empowered. That is often our path as well.

God’s “cake,” that is His message, was offered and some partook of what the Holy Spirit revealed which had three parts: (1) Jesus was the anointed of God as the Messiah proven by powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs, (2) He was crucified but raised on the third day according the scriptures, and (3) he ascended and sits at the right hand of God. God then sent his Holy Spirit to prove to them they were  “wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment –“  Peter reiterated: “we are witnesses of it.” As a result 3000 were acutely distressed or pricked in their hearts and asked “what shall we do?”

God’s gift is shared: “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”

Beloved this party was not just for a few for remember Jesus’ promise: “and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”   Let’s celebrate together!

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