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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 40

The Advent Part 32

Acts 2:1, “Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”

The first two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles cover two principal works in the plan of God. First, Christ Jesus ascends into heaven, and second, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven. The second chapter of this holy book is as a delineation marker, a border that divides human history into two. The first of these groupings are known as the descendants of the first Adam, through which sin and death entered the world, and the second grouping is known as the followers of the second Adam, Christ Jesus, through which forgiveness and new life was made possible. It is on this day that the age of grace begins, it is on this day that the promise of God is fulfilled, and the Holy Spirit fills those who are present with power and authority.

Before we go into the details of what happened on the day of Pentecost, I wanted to discuss if only briefly what the day of Pentecost was and still is.

If we study the Word thoroughly we come to realize that the word ‘Pentecost’ is never once mentioned in the Old Testament. Pentecost is derived from the word fifty in Greek, meaning that fifty days after the great celebration or feast of the Passover, God had ordained another celebration or feast for His people. It is a feast which was established in the Old Testament, a feast commanded of God in the book of Leviticus.

Leviticus 23:16-17, “Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your habitations two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfuits to the Lord.”

This particular feast has been known by different names throughout Jewish history. In Exodus this feast was known as the Feast of Harvest, and in Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy as the Feast of Firstfuits or the Feast of Weeks.

It was also on this day that the Jews celebrated receiving the law of God given through Moses on Mount Sinai. God had not mandated this, but since Moses received the laws fifty days after Israel escaped the shackles of Egypt, it became a tradition, and so was celebrated on the same day as Pentecost.

On the Day of Pentecost, just as they would on Passover, Jews from throughout the land and even beyond the borders of Israel would come to Jerusalem. Many would travel great distances, even from other nations, just to come and celebrate these feasts, and if we take into account that their only mode of transportation was limited to walking or drawn carriage, we realize that it was no easy thing. Such pilgrimages were planned far in advance, and pilgrims would begin their journey many days before they were to be present for the celebration.

Statistically speaking, whether due to the good weather, or heretofore unknown variables, more people would come for the Day of Pentecost, than they would for the Passover. If a census taken during the time of Nero is any indication, the number of pilgrims that came to Jerusalem for the Passover was no less than two and a half million souls. I believe the exact number was closer to 2.7 million people, but it has been awhile since I’ve read up on that particular moment in history.

Jerusalem was packed, pilgrims from near and far had gathered for the Day of Pentecost, yet in the upper room of a nondescript house, something world changing was about to occur. One hundred and twenty believers were gathered together, and yes, they were still with one accord. Perhaps some there would have preferred Barsabas over Matthias, perhaps others might have felt excluded because they had not been considered for the position, but their purpose went beyond that of whim and preference, and they remained united, steadfast and with one singular and unshakable goal.

Far too often the self stands in the way of the plan of God, far too often we place our own wants and desires above the will of God, yet if we are wise we will learn from those who came before us and realize that it’s never about us, it’s never about an individual, it’s never about our aspirations, it is always about the plan of God, the work of God, and the will of God, and if we are to be used of God then we have no other choice but to submit to His will.

Jesus offered Himself up as a sacrifice, He went to the cross, and suffered the pains of death so that we might all be gathered into one Body, yet it is this selfsame body that constantly wars against itself, it is this selfsame body that is perpetually divided and fractured.

John 11:51-52, “Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.”

The Body of Christ is a spiritual place, here on earth, where all who are born again must be gathered together, and the Body is one with the Head. It is not the name of the denomination we belong to that can unite the souls of the faithful and make them one, but rather only Christ Jesus, and living in Him can accomplish this beautiful and awe inspiring task. We are one in Christ, regardless of our nationality, regardless of our geographical location, regardless of our denomination, and if we hold to anything whether it be nationality, race, or denomination more than we do to Jesus, then we are not one with Him.

Jesus unites us, Jesus binds us, Jesus makes us one, and as such we must lift high the name of Jesus, and see Him in each other.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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