Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

The Holy Spirit – Day 1

The Celebration of the Holy Spirit

Bible text(s)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

Acts 2:1-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

I have the joy of writing about the Holy Spirit during the time of Pentecost, when the Church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first believers, and the birth of the Church. What an amazing event that was! After Jesus had ascended into heaven and the apostles and the women were in one place, the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as Jesus had promised: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised … 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” (Acts 1:4,8).

Should we be surprised that the Holy Spirit appeared as “tongues of fire” and enabled them to speak in the languages of the people who were there from so many different nations? How else would they witness to them? The hearers were utterly amazed as each one heard the transformed disciples boldly proclaiming God’s praises and preaching the good news of Jesus in his own native tongue. Anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language will know that this was no everyday event! The Holy Spirit continues to empower the Church, and Pentecost is still celebrated joyfully today.

In our pursuit of God, in our weak human state, we need to know the Holy Spirit personally and intimately and we need to experience His power in our lives too, so that, like the apostles, we may be transformed and become bold and be obedient to Christ. It does not help for us to have knowledge of His existence, or an admiration for His power in the lives of people that we know, or even curiosity as to who He really is; we need to have a living experience of Him in our moment-to-moment experience of life, because He is the one who transforms our lives from the natural to the supernatural.

The disciples would not have gone very far in their natural state, despite having had a personal experience of Jesus, but in the power of the Holy Spirit there was nothing that could stop them: not their own weakness, nor the religious leaders, nor the political rulers — in fact not even fear of death itself. When Stephen, an apostle, faced stoning after being falsely accused of blasphemy, Acts 6:11-15 says: “All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like that of an angel.” Quite literally the Holy Spirit is the power of God transforming His people, His Church and the world.

And so, the Church was born in His power.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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