May 20, 2018

The Holy Spirit at Work

Acts 2:1-13

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

—  Acts 2:4

Ten days have passed since Jesus ascended to heaven and instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem. The day of Pentecost has now arrived. Pentecost is not just something found in the New Testament, it is actually an Old Testament holiday tied with the Feast of Harvest, or the Feast of Weeks, noting the beginning of harvesttime.

This is also a time when religious pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem from faraway lands. So “God-fearing Jews from ­every nation” are present for this event.

A blowing, violent wind is followed by what appears to be tongues of fire separating and resting on the disciples. People from many nations gather to see what is going on. And something bewildering and wonderful occurs. Everyone can understand what is being said!

The words of the disciples find their mark because those who are listening can hear the message in their own language. The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), where God confused the people’s language, is reversed by the Holy Spirit so that people can understand one another. And throughout the crowd, people are wondering, “What does this mean?”

A harvest of souls is being gathered. This is an example of what Jesus meant when he taught his disciples: “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest” (John 4:35).

Lord of the harvest, thank you for sending your Spirit to empower us to be your witnesses in word and deed. May our words be guided and even translated by your Spirit. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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