Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church
After the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, Peter addresses the crowd that had gathered.
Peter, being bold enough to speak publicly, is really a miracle. Peter, who a little over seven weeks previously, had been too scared to admit he knew Jesus, to admit that he was a disciple, who spent the time after the resurrection holed up in an upper room in fear. . .is emboldened!
The Holy Spirit in his life not only produces the outward sign of speaking in tongues, but there is a dramatic change inside Peter.
Peter preached that day. He preached to thousands witnessing Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, where 50 days before He was afraid to even be known as one of Jesus’ disciples. The Spirit will do that to you: turn cowards into courageous preachers of good news.
And the results were dramatic: 3,000 believers were added to the 120 that day as a result of Peter’s message. The power of Peter’s message came as a result of the Holy Spirit coming into him that Pentecost day.
When Jesus told the disciples earlier that He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them when He went to the Father after His resurrection, He said they would receive power.
“I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:49]
Then after His Resurrection, He is more specific in describing the coming of the Holy Spirit and the result of the power that would accompany it.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [Acts11:8]
That Holy Spirit’s power would enable the disciples to be powerful witnesses for Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Peter, the disciples and the early church evangelists, with this power from the Holy Spirit, preached the gospel to the known world within a century of that first Pentecost. The church grew tremendously. But they did not reach the ends of the earth as Jesus said would happen. The ends of the earth only came to be known some 15 centuries later beginning with Columbus.
So it is up to us, the Christians of today, to complete that great commission to teach and baptize all nations. That Holy Spirit that came on Peter and emboldened him from being too scared to say he knew Jesus, to the bold preacher of Pentecost, is the same Holy Spirit that is in us today through our baptism. That same power that Jesus said would come and have the disciples be his witnesses to the ends of the earth is also available to us today through that same Holy Spirit.
We all have received that same powerful Holy Spirit through our baptism. He lives in us!
Unfortunately, though it seems that today many Christians are like Peter before Pentecost. Scared to admit to others they know the author of eternal life.
At the same time many of our friends, neighbours and coworkers will die not knowing that way to eternal life; that free gift we received from Jesus.
We have been made spiritually alive by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are keeping it a secret by our fear of letting others know the good news of salvation.
But we can be emboldened the same as Peter was on that first Pentecost. If we will just open our mouths and tell others about Jesus that same power that was in the word Peter spoke will transform the lives of all those whom God is calling, and they will also be granted eternal life with God instead of going eternally to a place Jesus said is full of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We recently celebrated Pentecost. The church was born, the Holy Spirit arrived. Miracles happened. The gift of tongues is manifested.
Then another miracle. The power that accompanied the Holy Spirit emboldens Peter. He is no longer afraid, and preaches a powerful message that has 3,000 become believers.
We also need to make use of that power of the Holy Spirit that is in us. Jesus said the disciples would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. The ends of the earth includes all our friends, neighbours, coworkers, and family.
The ministry of the church began at that first Pentecost. It continues today with that same power of the Holy Spirit that is in us.