Now with Easter behind us the next major Christian Feast is approaching – the feast of Pentecost. It marks the day when the followers of Jesus were baptized with the Holy Spirit for the very first time (Acts 2). They had been following Jesus for 3 years, they had witnessed the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus and they had received the best possible training you could think of – from the incarnate Son of God himself. They had come to believe in him as their personal Savior and Lord and they had received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them (John 20:22). They also had received the great commission to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). And yet something was still missing. What was missing? That which is missing in far too many of our modern churches today.
Luke tells us in Acts 1, 4-8 what it was: “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. So when they met together, they asked him, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
When they received this baptism on the day of Pentecost their lives and their witness were totally transformed. They suddenly were filled with a supernatural power that enabled them to do the humanly impossible: they were bold in their preaching far beyond what their human personalities would account for, they were filled with joy in the midst of suffering and persecution, they were walking in the miraculous power of God and multitudes were converted as a result of their witness. As I think about the state of the modern church in the western hemisphere I can’t but notice – this vital element of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power has widely gone missing. We desperately need it back. I am deeply convinced that the greatest need of the Church today is another Pentecost. We need to seek God’s face and ask for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Jesus, please baptize us anew with the Holy Spirit as you have done throughout the centuries in revival. This is, I believe, the greatest need of your church in Ireland today! Amen