“For all who are led by Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God comes with a mighty wind and showed herself in tongues of fire over the believers’ heads. They spoke languages they never knew before. People came running to see and were confused by these signs. Some even thought they were drunk. But in the end the Spirit led to the name of Jesus being preached and lives being changed.
I love that story. It’s amazing in its detail and scope. And I think we long for days like Pentecost. I hope you have experienced a time in your life when you’ve recognized the moving of the Holy Spirit and perhaps seen amazing things.
And yet our lives are not lived in this place all the time. Most days are normal. Mundane. Average. There is no roaring of wind from heaven or tongues of fire. And maybe I assume that in the absence of such audacious signs that the Spirit is elsewhere – doing miraculous things through incredible people.
But is it possible that the Holy Spirit works through us much more in simpler, quieter ways. Could it be that her power can be seen in us in the simple, the average days even without mighty winds or miraculous fire? After all, none of the fruits of the Spirit Paul lists in Galatians — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — are audacious. Most are mild and quiet. But all are unmistakeable.
So this week we celebrate bold, awesome ways in which the Spirit shows up while searching for the simple and humble ways as well. Because if you are in Christ, you have a great power within you. May we see it clearly this week.
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.
See the ships sailing along,
and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea.
They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it.
When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied.
But if you turn away from them, they panic.
When you take away their breath,
they die and turn again to dust.
When you give them your breath,[b] life is created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
The earth trembles at his glance;
the mountains smoke at his touch.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
I will praise my God to my last breath!
May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Forgive me, Lord,
when I forget the power you have placed within me
and trust instead in human strength.
Remind me of that glorious Pentecost day
when your Spirit transformed normal people
into people of power and grace.
Renew my heart today with the fire of your Spirit,
that I may be a person transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
May others be blessed to see the work of your Spirit in my life.