May 19, 2013: Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, we thank You for keeping Your promise and sending us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter from on high. We thank You for having Him pour out countless gifts of holy blessing upon Your faithful people. May we continue to use those gifts to honor You, save lost souls, and make our sojourn on this earth more fulfilling. Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST WHO HAS NOW SENT US THE VERY POWER OF GOD—THE HOLY SPIRIT!

TEXT: Acts 2: 1-21

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

Good morning! This is your intrepid reporter, Avi ben Jacov, Avi son of Jacob, reporting live from the outskirts of the temple here in Jerusalem for JNN—the Jewish News Network. Strange happenings are occurred today. We’re on assignment to update you on the annual festival commemorating the new barley harvest here at the temple courts. As you know, this is the 2nd highest ranking festival after Passover. Since countless pilgrims from around the world are here to celebrate, we thought it would be a pretty straight-forward newscast. But I have breaking news to report.

It’s a bright and clear Sunday without a breath of wind with beautiful azure skies. When we arrived we noticed a crowd of about 120 followers of the recently crucified Jesus of Nazareth congregated in a corner of the temple area. All eleven of the inner circle of disciples were present too, that’s how we noticed them. My producer, Simeon, has been on their trail for the past 7 weeks and recognized them. Well, moments ago a loud roaring wind filled the temple environs. Was it a freak storm? Then we also spied flickering flames of fire settling upon the heads of all the people present. It was an amazing sight for which I have no explanation. These tongues of fire flickered, burned, but did not scorch anyone. Just then they began speaking in all kinds of different languages at the same time! It sounded just like the bazaar at high market time.

Countless other faithful followers of the Old Testament are also in the vicinity. These world-wide pilgrims of the Diaspora were utterly amazed at it all and said: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native tongue?” We counted at least 15 different languages being employed before we quit counting. One fellow exclaimed: “What does this mean?” I can tell you, all of us on the production crew said: “Amen” to that!

Oh, here’s a comment from a local Pharisee. “Sir, do have you have any comment on this phenomenon?” “They have had too much wine.” “Everyone is laughing at that one! However, this doesn’t seem a credible explanation. Perhaps some folks just don’t ever want to admit the existence of miracles?”

Oh, Simon Peter, well known as the spokesman of the group, is addressing the ever-growing mass, let’s pan to a wide shot and give it to you live:” “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” Everyone is snapping to attention at those powerful words. Could God Almighty, Yahweh of old, be speaking once again through mere mortals? Could He be raising up new prophets like Joel before our very eyes?! Messengers of Godly truth are always hard to find. But, God has raised them up in the past and certainly He has the power to do so today. After all, God never changes, does He?

Peter just recounted that familiar prophecy from Joel about the end times. He is telling the crowd how God would send His Spirit upon all people—young, old, male, female, slave and free—obviously God doesn’t play favorites in Peter’s mind.—I see the Pharisees here shaking their heads at that one. Now Peter is talking about how visions and miracles would be carried out. He’s even mentioning signs in the heavens—a blackened sun and a bloody moon.—Many are nodding agreement recalling the singular eclipse that accompanied Jesus Christ’s death seven weeks ago. He just added how all these were signs of the future judgment day. “Simeon, can you get this for the home viewers: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Oh, this is really a barn-burner of a sermon! Now Peter is describing how Jesus was God’s eternal Son and how by dying on the cross He paid for the sins of the world. He just added a comment how jaded sinners populated our ranks within Judaism and how we all need to repent and embrace the forgiveness Christ won for us on the cross. He’s even saying that this salvation was a fulfillment of all the OT prophecies concerning the Messiah and how it extends to all people of every nation! I see a lot of pilgrims smiling at those words! Now those same pilgrims are clamoring to be saved. They want to be baptized and embrace the Way of Jesus. It looks like about 3000 souls are in this very joyous crowd! They’ll have to be careful so that Pilate doesn’t sent out the Roman troops to disperse them!

I know most of you don’t know what to make of all this. The members of my production crew feel the same way. We were there when Jesus died so ignominiously. We saw the grief of the faces of His followers. We saw the temple curtain torn in two and could not believe it. We later heard reports of His resurrection from the grave and chalked it up to fanciful tales caused by psychological breakdowns on the part of Jesus’ followers. But now, after seeing these tongues of fire, hearing the wind when there was none, and listening to the results of their new-found fearlessness, this reporter is currently having second thoughts. Maybe it is true! If so, it’s the greatest story of all time!

In the coming weeks we here at JNN will be following up on all this. You’ll hear more in upcoming newscasts. Meanwhile, Jesus’ old followers and His new ones are not scared and cowering in a locked room any more like they were a few weeks ago. They seem impervious to fear—as shown right here at the seat of Jewish religious power. They say it’s because the Holy Spirit has given them inner strength. I guess time will tell. It will reveal whether this is just a flash in the pain or a new religious movement that will stand the test of time. I wonder where all of this Holy Spirit fervor will be in 2000 years? After all, our Old Testament faith already dates back at least that far. Well, this is Avi ben Jacov of the Jewish News Network signing off for now. Amen