The Bible is filled with sad tales of those who missed the move of the Holy Spirit. Think of the old Israelites within a stones-throw of their inheritance, the Pharisees refusing to be baptised by John, or the scholars who missed their own Messiah.
On the day of Pentecost, that curious day when the Spirit fell and lit the flames of the early church, there are a few things which we can learn if we want the same. First off, after the fire fell, Peter was the vessel through which the gospel was powerfully spoken and many sons and daughters added to the kingdom.
God had uniquely moulded him for the purpose, Peter had a fresh experience of grace. Grace had shaped him in a powerful way. Grace for him took the form of a morning fishing. Having denied Christ in the most awful, gut-wrenching failure, Jesus comes looking for the back-slidden Peter who is back at tending the nets. Grace by the name of Jesus went looking for him! Grace found him again in the very same spot were grace found him the first time, with the very same words “Cast your net on the other side”. Grace found him in the most broken and dismal failure of his life (I can’t think there was a lower moment for Peter.)
And so through the humble Peter, the ancient words of the prophet are fulfilled, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.” (Zech 12:10) A spirit of grace! Thank you Jesus! How we need this Spirit of Grace today.
At that moment when the sons and daughters of God were gathered in earnest prayer, in wonderful unity, with hearts bonded in beautiful love and mutual affection, God’s Spirit falls in power. Coincidence? Nope. God grant us this love and hearts which are bonded in your love.
When the Spirit falls, the response of the crowd is very sobering. Some are “amazed”, they are in awe and curious wonderment. Others are “perplexed”, confused and cautious, they have no reference for what God is doing and are on the very edge of offence. Yet others ridicule and accuse the disciples of drunken foolishness. The ways of God seemed foolish and nonsensical, frivolous.
Into this context of wide ranging perspectives and attitudes Peter stands up and says “Let me explain this to you…” He explains that this outpouring is a fulfilment of an ancient prophecy spoken through God’s man Joel. After the word is brought, many respond in faith and repentance and are granted the same gift from God.
Today, in us, in our time, even in this year God is pouring out his Spirit and the responses will be as varied and diverse as at the first. How will we respond? Will we respond in wonderment and amazement? Will we be perplexed but yet soft in heart to hear the Word of God who tells us what he is doing? Or will we ridicule, resist and allow offence to exclude us from a beautiful work of God? Are you ready to leave the “normal” and the known to follow God into the fresh and powerful stream of what he is doing right now?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luke is a follower of Christ, an elder in Joshua Generation Church, a husband of one wife – Zandi and a writer when he gets the time. He was a passionate school teacher for 6 years, but now takes care of God’s kids full time.
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