Pentecost: The Arrival of the Holy Spirit
God Works From the Inside Out. That is the great message of Pentecost Sunday. This is what the disciples finally came to understand at Pentecost. Jesus had ascended into heaven. And He had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit.
Here is where the story of Pentecost picks up. The disciples are back in the Upper Room waiting and wondering and some of them were probably grumbling impatiently and nervously.
Just then they heard a sound. The breath of God began to blow on that place like the rush of a mighty wind. Images of fire danced around them. Suddenly, their fear was gone, replaced by peace and confidence, courage and strength and unity and they began to speak and communicate the word of God boldly and amazingly people from all different backgrounds heard and responded and 3,000 people were converted that day.
It’s interesting to note that the three classic symbols for the Holy Spirit in the Bible remind us of how God works through us and how God works from the inside out. The three traditional symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Bible: Breath: the symbol of Life. Fire: the symbol of Power. The descending dove: the symbol of Peace.
I. FIRST, THERE IS BREATH… THE SYMBOL OF LIFE AND VITALITY.
Remember in the Garden of Eden when God created Adam and Eve, He shaped them… but they were lifeless until He breathed into their nostrils the breath of life. They didn’t really come alive until He breathed His spirit into them. Again, we see it here at Pentecost. The Breath of God, like the rush of a mighty wind, blew upon that place… and the disciples came alive.
The first sign of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is Breath… the symbol of Life and zest and vitality. The kind of life created only by the Presence of God. First, there is BREATH, the symbol of Life.
II. SECOND, THERE IS FIRE, THE SYMBOL OF POWER.
We often put those two words together, don’t we? We talk about firepower. In the Bible, fire is often used as the symbol of God’s presence and power. For example, we see it in the burning bush of Exodus and again here in the New Testament story of Pentecost.
III. THIRD AND FINALLY, THERE IS THE DESCENDING DOVE… THE SYMBOL OF PEACE.
The early Christians in creating this symbol were very wise to show the dove descending because peace does indeed come from above. Inner peace… the poise, the serenity, the courage, the confidence to meet life and its troubles with steady eyes comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
That’s the good news of our faith and the message of Pentecost… God is with us right now working from the inside out, giving us the Breath of Life, the Fire Power of Commitment… and the Peace That Passes All Understanding.