As I prepare this blog, we are approaching the time of Pentecost described by many as the birthday of the Church. It’s amazing to me that before Pentecost, the apostles and the other followers of Jesus were in a state of deep confusion. Despite the fact that Jesus had appeared to them during the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension into heaven, they still did not fully understand what had transpired and some still doubted. Mat 28:16-17 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (My emphasis)
Why were they in doubt? Were some still wondering if Jesus was the Messiah? After all this isprobably not how they had imagined things would work out. Or were they more concerned about their own lives - how would they survive against the Jewish leadership and their Roman conquerors? It must have been a confused and somewhat fearful group of people who gathered together on that first Pentecost morning.
And yet after their Pentecost experience, it was just the opposite. They staggered from that house utterly transformed, praising God, seemingly drunk, and fearless in the face of a large crowd of curious onlookers. And after Peter preached his first post-Pentecost sermon, 3000 new believers were added to their number (Act 2:41-47). They had begun the Great Commission - to go out and preach the message of salvation to all peoples- and the Christian era was born!
So what happened to Peter and the apostles to cause their astonishing transformation? Well, they encountered the Presence of God and received the infilling (baptism) of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13, Acts 1:5). If you haven’t read Day 15 in Rise Up yet, in which I describe my own special experience of Baptism of the Holy Spirit, you may wish to do so now. In my next blog I will continue with more about the Holy Spirit and His presence in my life.