Tongues Of Fire

No. 82 - 20th May 2018

It’s Pentecost Sunday today. 50 days after Easter and the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit for every believer. In the Old Testament, God had chosen individuals to do certain tasks and then put his Spirit on them so that they would fulfil that task with a real sense of what God was wanting them to do and a unique power to do it. Then a prophet by the name of Joel said that one day, God would pour that same Spirit into all of his children. Not just the chosen few, because he wanted every believer to be involved in the task of letting the world know that God still sits on his throne.

Well, at this particular Pentecost festival, the disciples of Jesus were all together in Jerusalem, waiting and praying as they had been told to do. Suddenly there was this sound like a tornado and something that looked like little flames of fire settling on each of them. And as it did, they started to get excited. They had this tremendous awareness of what God was like and their reaction was quite spontaneous. They had an overwhelming sense of joy and belonging and a desire to jump around and sing and shout about this incredible God. They must have sounded a bit like a football crowd that had just won the FA Cup. If you had been a visitor in Jerusalem at the time, you would have heard the commotion and probably got swept along with the crowd wanting to see what was going on. You would have seen a bunch of Galileans prancing around, shouting and singing and looking as drunk as lords. It must have been quite amusing. Then suddenly you hear one of these Galileans speaking your own language and he’s getting really excited about God and how good and how wonderful he is. And, because you’ve travelled a bit in your time, you recognise some of the other languages pouring out of these people who are obviously just a bunch of peasants from one of the northern provinces. Well, now they’ve really got your attention.

A man stands up, the one they call Peter. He assures the crowd that no one is drunk. These people are just excited about God. This is exactly what the prophet Joel had been talking about. Jesus had said it was going to happen and now it’s happening. Well, he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to tell everyone the truth about Jesus, and unsurprisingly about three thousand people came to faith and got baptized that day. You might even have been one of them.

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