When the Day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly the sound of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4
Yes, the followers of Jesus were following the command of Jesus when they gathered together in Jerusalem “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised …” (Acts 1:4). But they were mindful of Israel’s leaders whose purpose was to squelch any power grab from what little was left of Jesus and His followers. They met in secret and in cover of darkness. There were rumours milling about. The supposed dead body of Jesus had been stolen; supposed now, because rumour had it that He was not dead. It was not safe to be seen openly. And now at Pentecost, the Festival of the Firstfruits the city was abuzz with strangers. What a perfect time for the promise of blessing to pass on from its birth place unto all nations and peoples.
God sets the stage. But the players are still followers. They’re still playing cat and mouse with the power and authority of the rulers of Jerusalem. They remain under cover, together, but alone with their own doubts and fears.
But when the day of Pentecost had fully come is like the first day of a new season, we call it a day but it is actually a moment in time when the sun passes over the earth at specific latitude. We don’t experience anything, except understanding. Although this epochal event was signaled with unusual physical force, the work associated with the Holy Spirit today is imperceptibly delicate. How do we put out the fire tongues of criticism, anger and hatred and various dissonances? It seems at this point vision fails.
The Bible describes the fruit of the Holy Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We may exhibit all of these qualities from time to time. The element of the miraculous of the Holy Spirit is when we are in a situation where the words of fire we may be expected to speak are gone because the favour or blessing of promise unto all nations and peoples is at work and in operation within us. Words of cursing cease. Words of condemnation are gone. And instead pours out first; fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus’ followers have become leaders, everyone, and their purpose is like Jesus, to save. Save from condemnation and criticism to sowing seeds of kindness. Save unto ever increasing circles; in Jerusalem; read: yourself, your home and your family; in Samaria; read: your neighbours; and unto the uttermost parts of the earth; read: unto all nations and peoples.