This Sunday we will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday. Fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection and ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the promised Holy Spirit was poured out on the church. With this gift, Jesus empowered the church to continue the ministry of Jesus in the world. It wasn’t a gift to be received, it was a gift to be used!
Allow me to make an analogy. There is a difference between a follower and a player. A follower follows, a player plays. When our family would go to Madison Monster hockey games, we would put on our Monster hockey shirts and any other Monster paraphernalia we had, and off to Madison we would go. When we got to the game, no one had any doubts who we followed. Nor, by the same token, did anyone ever mistake us for being players (despite the incredible physical specimen’s that Ann and I are!).
There is a difference between followers and players. Followers enjoy what the players do, root them on, tell them to keep on going when they’re tired. But never does a follower actually get involved in the game itself. Followers of the Monster’s never skated down the ice, laid a good check on someone, scored a goal, or made a save. Followers follow, players play. Followers never actually effected the outcome of the game, because they are held outside the actual playing surface.
Followers can watch, but they cannot play.
Now prior to Pentecost the disciples, were more so followers, than players when it came to the spreading the Gospel message. Sure, they had their moments, they healed a few sick people, cast out a few demons, but for the most part they were found themselves following Jesus. And now that Jesus had ascended to the throne of God in heaven, they were in danger of floundering because followers don’t do very well without a leader.
It was on Pentecost Sunday when Jesus’ promise to them came true: they were given God’s Spirit: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (Acts 2:1-4).
At that moment Jesus was saying from heaven, “You’re no longer followers. Now you are players. Go and make disciples. Go and bring healing to the hurting. Go now and love one another, and all, in the world. Go now and strive for peace and justice. Go and make God’s kingdom a reality to those around you and to the ends of the earth.
Hear Jesus’ call! It is now our time to play, so let us play well and play hard!”
~ God bless, Dan