INTRODUCTION TO THIS DEVOTIONAL: After his death and resurrection and just before ascending into heaven, Jesus left his disciples with this promise: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5). On Pentecost Sunday, we find the disciples huddled in prayer in an upper room when a sound like a violent wind swept through and they saw tongues of fire come to rest over each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. This is Pentecost - the baptism of the Spirit of which Jesus spoke. While in Acts 2 the story of Pentecost unfolds, to truly understand its richness and depth we must travel back to our Jewish roots. In the Old Testament we see Moses receive the Law from God on Mt. Sinai on the celebration of the Feast of Weeks. Now fast forward to the book of Acts in the New Testament. Pentecost Sunday happened to fall on that same celebratory day of the Feast of Weeks. This paints a stunning parallel between God giving us the Law in the Old Testament and Him giving us His Spirit in the New Testament. In place of rules and regulations, we are given hearts that behold Him. In place of an impossible standard, we are given His power and His peace. Keep this in mind during these next 21 days as we journey to Pentecost together. We are preparing to receive a gift that is the essence of all good things - God himself. DAY 1 Have you ever sat in the line at a drive-through? Ever road-tripped with kids? Waited in a call line at the DMV? If so, you can probably attest to a universal human condition. We’re not inherently good at waiting, at preparing, at journeying. Today marks our first day in a 21-day journey to Pentecost. No, Pentecost isn’t the Christian equivalent of the Super Bowl or Big Dance. It often passes, mostly unnoticed, tucked somewhere into the chaos that composes the end-of-the-school-year and beginning-of-summer season. But consider this, if it weren’t for Pentecost, we wouldn’t know Christmas and we would’ve never heard of Easter. Pentecost is the grassroots of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.). Perhaps it doesn’t share in the fanfare and hype of other church holidays, but its importance is utmost. It marks our invitation to join in a Greater Story. So today begins our preparation and our travels as we trace back to our birth. But as in any good journey, we must wait in anticipation. Let’s prepare for Pentecost together. Commit to taking time this week to read from the post-resurrection gospels through Acts 2. It’s a short read but will give you good context for the events surrounding Pentecost.
Introduction to Pentecost
June 9, 2019