Jesus promised to give us power: "You will receive power." Jesus promised to give us power for a purpose: "You will be my witnesses." Jesus told us to wait patiently for His power: "But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49
; cf. Acts 1:8
That power came on Pentecost: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2
The winds of change had come. The Church was empowered for its life and ministry in the name and to the glory of God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Back in those days, the Church was still getting its act together. While they had some new days to put on their calendar like Christmas and Resurrection Day, they also had some pretty important Jewish holidays that continued to draw their attention. Pentecost was one of them.
Traditionally, it was the day set apart to celebrate the wheat harvest and God's gift of the Ten Commandments at Sinai. But when the first Pentecost after our Lord's resurrection rolled around, the Church came alive. The Church was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Church was empowered for its life and ministry in the name and to the glory of God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised He would never leave us. And that promise was kept when He came on Pentecost as the Holy Spirit who is God's continuing presence in our lives. Ever since that Pentecostal moment two thousand years ago, the truth of God's expressed will for His Church has been more important than the traditions we have built around the Church. Ever since that Pentecostal moment two thousand years ago, God's people have known it is God's intention for His Church to grow.
God doesn't want His Church to stay the same. He wants it to get better. He wants it to submit to His leadership through the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised He would stay with us in the Holy Spirit to guide our continuing spiritual journey. Jesus promised He would stay with us in the Holy Spirit to empower us. God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit provides those special abilities -- we call them spiritual gifts -- to serve Him and increase our holy communion with Him and the whole family of faith.
"This is the most important thing we can know about God," wrote James W. Jones in Filled with New Wine (1974), "that He loves all persons and wants to draw them deeper into union with Him." It all began when the faithful gathered on that first Christian Pentecost. The winds of change came and empowered the faithful. Those winds are still blowing upon the Church. And the faithful are still being swept up to new heights of worship, work, and witness. The faithful continue to experience Pentecostal moments.