A Word For Today: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-4

Jesus had ascended right before their eyes. We know during Jesus’ three years of ministry on Earth, the disciples has seen many unbelievable things. His appearances after the Resurrection must has been, for a lack of a better term, “mind-blowing.” Then came His Ascension into heaven. Certainly, nothing could compare, right? But to quote every infomercial ever, “But wait! There’s more!”

This “more” came in the form of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. With tongues of fire on each of the disciples, the Holy Spirit came upon them. They began speaking in tongues that the people that had come from all over the Roman Empire for Pentecost could understand. The disciples were accused of being drunk at 9:00 AM. But no. They were not drunk, they were filled with the Holy Spirit who gave them this gift of being understood by everyone, regardless of their native language. The Holy Spirit speaks to each of us, not only through language as commonly think of it, but through inspiration with a small still voice.

The crowd at Jesus’ baptism saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descend upon Him. Now they were filled with the Holy Spirit themselves! What a remarkable entrance into being a brother and sister in Christ and with Christ. I do not know about you, but I have to admit that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, really used to be a third thought for me when it came to thinking about God. But that has changed immensely.

The Baptism of Christ is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Piero della Francesca. Painted in egg tempera on two panels of poplar wood, the dating is controversial – some give it a very early date, perhaps 1439; others much later, around 1460. It is held by the National Gallery, London. From Wikipedia.

From the traditions of the United Methodist Church in the Confession of Faith we are taught that the Holy Spirit “leads men (and women, my addition) through faithful response to the gospel into the fellowship of the Church. He comforts, sustains and empowers the faithful and guides them in all truth.” (Article III, The Confession of Faith)

We are inspired on a personal level to act and often that action is in a community of believers. Through the action of the Holy Spirit we can grow as a community of believers. We become the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the sanctifier, transforming us through grace as we grow toward Christian perfection. That action we take as a community of faith uplifts each in that family of faith and is also a witness to those who see the love and work of that family of faith reaching out into the community at large.

Scripturally, it is from the Holy Spirit that we can receive the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness. These fruits are manifestations of God within us. Who among us would not want to be filled with these ways of being, especially through the challenging times we are now facing? Each and everyone of us can be. We just need to believe Jesus is the Savior, that God sent Jesus to reconcile us to God by saving us from our sins.

From the creation of the world in Genesis, to the descent of a dove at the baptism of Jesus, to the indwelling at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is at work in the life of all creation and believers. The Spirit is the Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, and Helper. “The Spirit frees us to have the ‘mind’ of Christ, to live according to the ‘law’ of Christ. It is the freedom to love God and others, the freedom for life in just and peaceful relationships.”[1] And isn’t that what we need now and are desperately seeking?

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came once and forever to indwell believers. Praise God! Let today be that day of Pentecost for all..

Pentecost by Jean Restout II (1692–1768). Photo: Web Gallery of Art/Public Domain

[1] Migliore, Daniel. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014, 237.

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