We celebrate Pentecost Sunday on May 20th. Pentecost is on the church’s calendar each year to remind us that God has poured out His promised gift of the Holy Spirit. It is available to all Christians who are open to receive it, just as Jesus promised His disciples before His ascension into heaven. What do we know about this promised gift? We know that the disciples were greatly changed after receiving it. During Jesus’ crucifixion, most of them were nowhere to be seen. Afterwards they hid in a small house with the shutters closed and the doors locked because they were afraid of being arrested (John 20:19).
It is not until the day of Pentecost, when they receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, that they appear empowered to minister in Jesus’ name. As you read the book of Acts you will see a picture of changed disciples. They begin preaching publicly with boldness and real effectiveness. They heal people and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. They appear totally oblivious to the consequences of their bold ministry, continuing until they are finally arrested and several put to death. It was the Holy Spirit which empowered the disciples to become effective and it is the same Spirit which is available to Christ’s people today.
Jesus felt that it was essential that the Spirit come to abide in those who place their faith in Him. In fact, He felt that the coming of the Spirit was so important that it was better that he leave the earth so that the Spirit might come (John 16:7).
So why is the gift of the Spirit so important? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the living Christ can abide with all Christians everywhere. The physical Jesus could only be in one place at a time but the Spirit is omnipresent! The Spirit empowers us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, to be witnesses for Him and to minister to others effectively. Jesus predicted that His disciples would do “greater works” than He had done (John 14:12-14). Obviously, we have not exhausted the Spirit’s potential.
As we celebrate Pentecost together, let us pray that we will be empowered anew by the Spirit of the living Christ to be His faithful disciples as we faithfully seek “to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”