A post from Pastor Paul for Pentecost Sunday
Today, May 31, 2020, is Pentecost Sunday. It is the day Christians celebrate the Spirit of the Living God filling the followers of Jesus and sending them into the streets to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection and the life we may have through faith in Him. Significantly, when the disciples began to speak - praising God and proclaiming salvation by faith in Jesus Christ - everyone who was present in Jerusalem heard them speaking in their own languages.
Acts 2:7-12 describes the phenomena:
7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (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!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
“What can this mean?” is a significant question. The proclamation of salvation through Jesus, preached in the streets and interpreted by God’s Spirit for all to hear is profound proof that this Good News is for all people everywhere. God would confirm this truth to the leader of the early Church, Peter, in a later encounter of which Peter would say: “God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.” Acts 10:28
The Apostle Paul, once a racial purist and persecutor of the Church of Jesus, wrote of the unity of the Body of Christ frequently in his letters. He summarized the message in Galatians 3:18: “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
What was born at Pentecost, proved by God’s revelation to Peter in Acts 10, and preached by Paul is that there is no identification for the followers of Jesus that can be higher than our identification with Him. We do not disclaim our nationality, deny our identity, or abandon our ethnicity. But none of these human distinctions is of higher importance than our relationship with Jesus. Therefore, none of these distinctions may separate us from relationships with God or with one another.
Pentecost proves that the Good News of God’s love, the message of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, is for all people everywhere. Pentecost further proves that the highest calling of those who receive this Good News is to proclaim it to others - again, all people everywhere. As followers of Jesus, we do not have the luxury of nationalism, chauvinism, politicism, or racism. If all people are loved equally by God our Creator, then we must love all people like God our Creator. This is the essence of the Great Commandment: “Love God. Love People.”
This Pentecost Sunday and beyond, we who follow Jesus, who are saved to new life in Him and filled with His Holy Spirit, must continue to pursue the purpose of Pentecost - praising God and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone, everywhere. We must not let our personal prejudices, our political viewpoints, or our petty opinions disrupt our commitment to this purpose. And when anyone, anywhere, struggles to believe that their lives matter, we must take up their cause as our cause and represent the sacrificial love of Jesus in this day, in our generation, as in His.
We must live this truth: You are loved - no matter what!