Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Holy Spirit Truth Divine"1 (Lyrics)
Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (NKJV)
When I was a young person, the tradition as I remember it was that the emphasis of our faith was mostly on God. The minister preached a lot from the Old Testament, and in the Christian school that I attended, we loved the stories from the Old Testament as well: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Israelites in the desert, and David and Goliath. Later, in the 1960s and 70s, it seemed that the emphasis shifted more to Jesus as the Jesus Movement took hold. And gradually, the Holy Spirit became a central point in the church. Even now, we will hear people say, "The Spirit is alive and well."
In the New Testament, we read that many people were following Jesus, but apart from the twelve disciples and the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000 people, there is not very much mentioned about the actual number who joined Him.
After Jesus' ascension, we are told that 120 of His followers were gathered in the Upper Room waiting on His promise, the coming of the Helper, to be fulfilled. Suddenly, there was the sound of a strong wind in the room, tongues of fire were seen on the people's heads, they spoke languages that they had not learned, and they went out into the streets to talk to people. It was the Feast of Weeks, and there were thousands of people from many countries gathered in Jerusalem. Many listened to Peter speak, and "then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them." (Acts 2:41 NKJV)
The apostles remembered that Jesus had told them that after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, they were to be witnesses of everything they had seen and heard and to take the gospel of salvation from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This they did indeed, starting right there on that very first day.
We are constantly reminded that the Christian church is struggling, and indeed, that is the case in many places. Over the years, a great many people of all ages have decided that they can do without the church. The expression of their faith in weekly worship is not at this time in their lives a priority. But on this Pentecost Sunday, may it be our mandate, too, to spread the gospel to all who want to hear. May it be our prayer that the winds of change will blow, that the flames of spiritual fire will spread, that the gospel of Jesus will be heard and accepted, that the expression of their faith in joining the fellowship of the believers on a regular basis will be a priority, and that thousands will once again be added to our numbers.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we remember and think about the coming of the Holy Spirit to those people in Jerusalem so many years ago, we also think about what that means in our lives even here and now. We pray, Lord, that Your Spirit will speak to our hearts and to the hearts of many, and that, indeed, thousands will be added to our numbers. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.