Pentecost: A Miracle of Hearing
- Mark Johnson
- 2011 3 Mar
June 12, 2011
What is the most fulfilling moment of your Christian life? Think back to some great victory that you won, whether it was a sermon preached, a soul saved through your witness or some occasion when boldness won over timidity. Think of a time when you just knew it was a "God moment" and He used you, maybe even in spite of yourself.
You might say those moments of satisfaction come when a coworker says, "There really is something different about you." Maybe you've been the presence of God for someone who's going through a tough time and just needed someone to talk to and listen. Maybe you had the privilege of leading that person to Christ. Sometime you may have the privilege of leading someone to Christ and then not being able to stick around and see what his or her life becomes. When you're used to seeing someone's life really transform, that brings great satisfaction.
What is your greatest frustration in the Christian life? It probably has something to do with those moments when you had such high hopes and such good intentions only to see them fall flat. You planned on speaking up for Christ, you hoped that when you were asked to compromise your convictions you would stand strong and not cave in to weakness; you really did want to be more patient and loving with your children, but you flew off the handle and came down hard on your child when she really had such a pure heart—if you could only have seen it and recognized it.
It would be interesting to pose that question to Peter. He certainly had his share of frustrating and disappointing moments. That makes it all the more interesting that on what has often been referred to as the birthday of the church, Peter is given the honor of preaching one of the most powerful sermons ever.
I. The Waiting
Jesus told His disciples, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about" (Acts 1:4). In obedience to what Jesus told them to do, the disciples were waiting together in one place.
II. The Coming
As the disciples were waiting obediently, they heard the sound like the blowing of a violent wind. The tongues of fire came down and filled them with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. It is interesting that people gathered from all over the world heard the gospel being proclaimed in their own languages.
That's what Pentecost was all about. I was surprised to find the word Pentecost doesn't appear in the Old Testament. Traditionally, it wasa feast indicating the Lord's ownership of the land and His rightful claim to the harvest. The significance now is the church is empowered for the true spiritual harvest.
III. The Proclaiming
When the believers were asked, "What's going on here?" Peter responded with great boldness. Failure had become his expectation, but this time he was bold—bold because the Holy Spirit came upon him. We long for the Spirit to show up in mighty and powerful ways as He did at Pentecost, but Pentecost was a one-time moment in the church's history. Instead, the church needs to be yielded to the Spirit's purposes.
It was at this moment Peter stood up to speak. He had some great moments in his days with Jesus. He could be a fearless leader for the disciples, but then he could cut off the guard's ear when he came to arrest Jesus and deny he had ever known Him. I wonder if some of the other followers of Jesus were nervous when Peter stood up to speak. They knew Peter had potential. The problem was he just didn't seem to be living up to it.
However, empowered and surrendered to the Holy Spirit, he preached the single most powerful sermon in the history of the church. He let the people know how ridiculous it is to think the disciples had been given such an extraordinary ability to speak intelligibly in an unknown tongue by drinking wine. Instead, the Scripture he had learned came back to him and made sense; and he was able to reinterpret Scripture in light of Christ and the gift of the Spirit.
When we are yielded and meet opportunity, we can know we have been used by Him—the greatest fulfillment we can know.