Acts 2 :1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Fifty days after our Lord rose from the dead, he gifted his church with the Holy Spirit, as he promised. And what a dramatic way in which he came on that first day – tongues of fire, and a violent wind! One can see his immediate impact on the church by looking at the difference between these disciples before Pentecost and following Pentecost.
Prior to Pentecost, the night of Easter, the Bible tells us that the disciples were behind locked doors, for fear of their lives! They believed that what they saw done to their Lord would soon be done to them – and prior to Pentecost, it terrified them enough to go into hiding.
After Pentecost, the fear seems to dissipate. All with the exception of John, history records, died the death of a martyr. And John didn’t exactly have it too pleasant, either, as the Bible records for us that his life ended in exile on the Island of Patmos. All these horrifying deaths and imprisonments came as a result of their testimony of Jesus Christ and the gospel. Yet, why weren’t they afraid to be treated as their Lord was treated? Because the Holy Spirit was living in them and working through them.
That same Holy Spirit that came so powerfully on Pentecost, is the same Holy Spirit that still comes to us through Holy Baptism. His Work is ultimately to communicate Jesus to our hearts that our sins might be forgiven and that our hearts might be enlightened to know and believe all the promises of God. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The Holy Spirit delivers that faith to us through God’s Word.
Still today, it takes courage to stand up for God’s Word in the face of a world that has little regard for that Word. The Holy Spirit will give us that courage and that desire to speak rather than be silent. But we must him where he promises to be – in both Word and Sacrament. As we meditate on God’s Word, there he is, working in our hearts with the intent to work through us that others might “Call on the name of the Lord and be saved,” (Acts 2:21).
May God grant his Holy Spirit to each of us this Pentecost season that we might tell of our Lord’s works to all!