Scholars tell us that the first Pentecost took place during the Jewish Feast of Weeks. This was a festival at which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God in thanksgiving. But on this particular day, instead of giving our first fruits to God, he gave his first fruit—the Holy Spirit—to us.
And what an amazing gift the Spirit has been! It is his power that has kept the church on track, despite human sinfulness, for two millennia. It is his grace that has strengthened us, revealed Jesus to us, moved us to serve, and convinced us that Jesus will indeed come back to bring heaven down to earth. To put it quite simply, Pentecost is all about the fact that Almighty God has come to live in human hearts, making ordinary people into extraordinary saints.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to the apostles and, breathing on them, said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Just as he did at Pentecost, Jesus wants to breathe God’s energy into our hearts every day. The spiritual dynamic that was present at that first Pentecost, moving people to love God, to seek out holiness, and to come together as a church, is still at work today.
How can we tell if this breath of God is active in our lives? We will feel energized by the Spirit, and we will want to set our sights on being like Jesus. We will feel moved to go to work for the kingdom, relying on the Spirit’s power and guidance. We will try to be more loving, more kind, and more patient.
Right now, stop and take a few deep breaths. In your mind, imagine yourself breathing in the Spirit and breathing out your sin. Picture yourself accepting the Lord and his plans, and letting go of your own plans and visions. Know that what you are breathing in is pure, holy, and intoxicating. Jesus has great plans for every member of his church. And that includes you!
“Lord Jesus, breathe on me and make me more alive to God. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with your life!”
By Maurice Blumberg