Pentecost is the day in which the Spirit of God filled each of the disciples as they gathered together. This was after Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven and the disciples undoubtedly were still questioning what lay ahead for them. These followers had not been the steadfast group of believers that many perceive them to be. They had continually doubted and stumbled as they attempted to follow Jesus. They questioned him, rebuked him, doubted him and finally left him. During Jesus' trial, torture and execution, they completely abandoned him where he suffered in agony alone. Peter, the rock on which the church was to be built, fearfully denied any association with Jesus. Of course, things started changing when Jesus resurrected. But, I believe some of the most radical change in the disciples started on the day of Pentecost - when the Spirit entered them.
When the Spirit of God was poured out on them, the disciples were immediately changed in an dramatic fashion. They immediately began speaking foreign languages and Peter stood and gave his first sermon as the winds whipped around them. That day, three thousand people gave themselves to Christ and began giving away all of their possessions. While these events are miraculous, the testimony of the lives of the disciples in the years to follow was equally incredible.
The once floundering disciples eventually traveled throughout the world and testified about the story of Jesus Christ. As a result, they suffered persecution, beatings, and execution - they willingly died horrific deaths as martyrs for Christ. They were beheaded, crucified upside down, tortured, and exiled. Where they previously feared being associated with Jesus, their weaknesses which were overcome by the strength of God, were transformed into a fearless passion for Jesus Christ.
The transformation of these ordinary people cause me to begin to understand the dramatic reality of the power of our God. Subject to my own limitations, I can see how he works in truly miraculous ways even in the most dire of circumstances. I also understand that these stories could not be conceived by man and that God is full of astonishing surprises. The miracle of the Pentecost continues to be revealed similarly in the lives of millions to this day. It is revealed in the addict who finds the power to defeat the monkey on his back, the person suffering catastrophic loss who is lifted and strengthened, the convicted felon who spends her remaining days helping others avoid similar mistakes, the quadriplegic whose disability becomes a source of inspiration for others. As incredibly reaffirming as the story of Pentecost is, I believe that the narrative of that day continues to reverberate around us. These reverberations continue to be a witness to the unending power of God. I pray that we are willing to pause long enough to witness them.