Tiny baby puffs of air caress my cheek. Her dark hair, fuzzy and soft, tickles against my neck. What can be sweeter than those barely heard snores and the soft breathing of an infant warm against my skin? A crazy little random jerk startles the peace of her sleep now and then, and I smile because life itself in this tiny package is such a miracle.
Life. And Death. So connected with one another, that neither can stand alone.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 NKJV
Breath is an amazing thing.
The Hebrew word for spirit is also the word for breath or wind. Those of us who have seen either the first rise and fall of a tiny chest, or the last of a loved one, know the preciousness of the breath of life.
Wrapped in soft baby skin, the Infinite, Incarnate God took His first finite breath. With each rise and fall of His tiny chest, the Creator set His purpose toward the cross. A final ragged breath declared “It is finished.”
But Jesus breathed again. Resurrection achieved victory over death and Satan. Ascension promised His return. Pentecost brought the gift of the Holy Spirit, birthed His church, and breathed into it the breath of life.
May 28, 2023, 50 days after Easter, is Pentecost Sunday.
From the Greek, “Pentekoste,” means fiftieth. The celebration took place on the fiftieth day after Passover. The Jewish festival, instituted by God and given to Moses was also known as The Feast of Weeks or The Feast of Harvest because it celebrated the end of harvest. (Leviticus 23)
Pentecost after the resurrection again filled Jerusalem’s streets with pilgrims. The symbolism of Jesus’ death at Passover, and His miraculous resurrection appearances for 40 days after would have been on the minds and tongues of those visiting the city. Tales of His ascension into heaven and promise of return remained fresh.
“Wait in Jerusalem,” Jesus had told them. So they waited.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:1-2 NKJV
Tongues of fire burned above them. They began to speak different languages from the regions presented.
A new kind of harvest, unprecedented, was about to begin.
And into the scoffing crowd, Peter the fisherman, the same Peter who denied Jesus three times, stood up with power and boldness. He unraveled the mystery which fell both on hard ears and receptive hearts.
It was a simple message. You crucified the Messiah. He died and rose from the dead. He was the Prophesied Messiah. Repent and Believe.
By the end of the day, the brand-spanking new church had birthed 3,000.
Hundreds of years before, God instituted Jewish holy days. When the Messiah came, He chose those significant holidays to change the course of history not just for the Jewish people, but for everyone who believed. It was radical and unexpected that every ethnicity, political persuasion, rich or poor could find salvation in Christ.
The gospel spread began in earnest.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV
Someone once told me, “It comes down to two choices for every believer, either you are a goer, or a sender.”
It really isn’t optional.
The dynamic coming of the Holy Spirit gave power to fulfill Christ’s last directive. It comes down to two choices for every believer, either you are a goer, or a sender.” Click To Tweet
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
- “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” Mark 16:15 NKJV
- (It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day)“and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47 NKJV
To all the nations. To all the world. Death, life, and New Birth. Let’s get moving.
Is your life on mission?