What Does Pentecost Look Like?

May 28, 2020
By Dr. Carey Akin

Brokenness healed, sin overcome, power to love, peace to endure, joy in suffering, tragedy turned into victory, are all (along with many more) descriptors of what happens when people are filled with the Holy Spirit! What is the day of Pentecost really all about? It’s about fixing what is broken and restoring our relationships with God and others to what God always intended them to be. If you like this idea as much as I do read on…

Pentecost is a Christian celebration that most people, even inside the church, are only vaguely familiar with. To read about the event itself, check out Acts 2; it’s an amazing scene. I could take a great deal of time explaining the historical background and deeper theological significance, and that is definitely worth doing to understand the greater importance of this central event, but in this blog, I want to talk about the IMPACT! In other words, what should literally happen if we are filled with the Holy Spirit?

So what happened? Well, at Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus and ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the very presence of God fell upon the disciples. Let’s put everything else aside for a moment and just think about what literally happened. The Spirit of God, the same Spirit that was there at the beginning and made the heavens and earth, the same Spirit the healed the lame and resurrected the dead, comes to dwell with each disciple.

I want to keep this short, so hopefully, you will keep reading, but this is a game-changer!!! Just take a moment to think about it. No longer are you trying to live for God, but instead, God’s Spirit lives in you! No longer are you trying to overcome sin, but the Spirit of God overcomes sin in you! No longer are you hoping that God will come and help you, but He is already there living in you providing His comfort, peace, joy, power, healing, and His very presence! The good news of God’s Spirit living in each disciple just couldn’t be any better, except for one reality that you may already be thinking about.

Why is it that my life and yours often don’t look like a life that is filled with God’s Spirit?

I could use a lot of scripture here, but I will just give you one simple passage, which is probably not the one most people go to when they think about receiving the Holy Spirit. The passage is Matthew 7:7-8 which says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” In other words, we don’t have His Spirit, or maybe we have it, but we don’t experience His power and presence because we don’t ask. Can it really be that easy? According to the scripture, it really is; however, I need to add one essential side note. The “ask” that scripture talks about time and time again when it comes to Jesus is not a typical ask, like ‘may I have the salt, please’. This “ask” is an ask that says, I want this more than anything, and I am willing to give up everything to have it! Now, it becomes clearer why we often experience so little of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in our own lives and the church today.

So all that I have written so far leads up to one simple question – Are you and I willing to ask for the fullness of the Spirit? If we are willing to ask, knock, and seek with our whole heart, God promises not only will we have His Spirit within us, but through that Spirit, He will transform us more and more into His image so that we might have the same power and the same impact as those first disciples at that first Pentecost! Remember, Jesus said we will do greater things than Him! (John 14:12)

As we prayerfully prepare for Pentecost, I hope you will take some time to ask God these two simple questions:

  1. Is the Holy Spirit present in your life?
  2. Are you experiencing the fullness of His Spirit?

I hope that we as a church will long for the fullness of His Holy Spirit and will ask, seek, and knock until His power and presence become the way we live as disciples each and every day!