Pentecost – It’s in the Waiting!

For ten long days, the disciples sat in the Upper Room waiting on a promise from the LORD.  “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  They did not know what it would look like, how it would sound or even when it would come, only that it would!  So, they waited, they trusted, they prayed, united in a promise from their beloved Saviour.  Waiting.  Not something I do well.  Waiting and trusting that the Holy Spirit would come.

Acts 2:1 says; “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  Pentecost was a day of great celebration for the Jewish nation – a day when the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were offered up to God, it was the Feast of Shavuot.  The holy city of Jerusalem was jam-packed to the brim with God’s chosen people.   In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, a group prayed, a group waited – trusting in Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit.


What happened next was absolutely revolutionary, changing the world as they knew it forever.  It was incredible, unprecedented and something totally brand new;  “and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”  This was a gift given to them straight from The Great I Am himself!  I have so many questions about that day.  How loud was the wind?  What did it feel like to have tongues of fire settling upon you?  Were they all afraid?  Did they remain standing in the presence of the Holy Spirit or did they drop to their knees in worship?  Was it totally weird to speak in a language you had never known before?


Acts goes on to tell us; “those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”  Three thousand souls!  That’s a lot of people!

Did I say earlier that this was unprecedented?  Well, mostly unprecedented!  God was indeed doing something new and totally miraculous!  But, way back in the book of Exodus, we see the shadow of something else quite revolutionary.

Another Pentecost day.  The Jewish nation had fled from Egypt and after forty days they reached the base of Mount Sanai.  The Great I Am descended upon the mountain in fire and smoke and the whole mountain quaked greatly!  There was a blast of a trumpet that grew louder and louder and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.  Moses spent many days upon the mountain with the LORD, coming down about 10 days later – on the day of Pentecost!


How terrifying and absolutely thrilling it must have been, thunderings, lightning flashes, trumpets, and smoke!  During the time Moses was on the mountain God gave His covenant to him, written by the very finger of God on tablets of stone!  But here, way back in the time of the exodus, the people of God did not wait for the promise of God.  Their impatience caused them to sin and when Moses came down the mountain with the Covenant of God in his hands the Israelites had already turned to idolatry!

Exodus 32:28 tells us; “so the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses.  And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.”  Three thousand men fell that day!

How fascinating the parallels! At Pentecost in the time of Exodus, God gave His law to the newly free Israelites.  His commandments, engraved in stone, a gift to His chosen ones.  Amidst thunder, trumpets, smoke and lightning, the covenant of God was given to God’s people.  Ironically, three thousand people died that day.  At Pentecost in the time of Acts, the people of God waited for the promise of God.  Amidst fire and the sound of a rushing wind, the Holy Spirit was given to the newly free people of God.  So great was the infilling of the Holy Spirit that about three thousand souls were added to them that day!  The day our Father gave His new covenant to His chosen people!


St. Augustine said this, “Here is a great and wondrous mystery, brethren: if you observe closely, on the day of Pentecost the Jews received the law written by the finger of God and on the same day of Pentecost the Spirit came.”  The Holy Spirit is the sign of the New Covenant given to us from the heart of God.

You see, it is all in the waiting, back in the time of the exodus, back in the Upper Room, and it is still in the waiting even now.  Waiting for the promise!  Waiting to receive power from on high!  Waiting!  Will we wait on God during these days leading to Pentecost or will be consumed by all the many distractions.  All the idols that beckon to us, Netflix, TV, new projects, more work, another Zoom call?  Join us in the virtual Upper Room as we wait on the Lord, as we cry out for healing across the nations, as we believe for an unprecedented harvest?  Then when Pentecost comes, we can mount up with the wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.  What a wonder it is to realise that God had everything planned from the very beginning of time!  So many tiny details went into Almighty God’s strategy, this plan to be in a beautiful covenant with the people God chose and the people God loves!  A covenant to see you set free, restored, and empowered!  What an incredible God we serve, a God with intricate plans for your life!


Our Father!

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” The words of the King of Kings rang out in agony from Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” This was the cup that caused our Lord such torment. This was the cup that caused our beautiful Saviour to sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. The cup of God’s holy wrath!


Jesus didn’t fear the bite of a whip, or of being forsaken by his friends, or the brutal jeers and beating from the Roman soldiers. It was not the pain of the five-inch nails or the thought of a spear thrust into His side, oh, He knew what was coming! He knew the prophecies that would be fulfilled!! It was the reality that He would be separated from the Triune God that caused Him such extreme anguish!


As the sun went black from the sixth to the ninth hour and all of creation was hidden in the darkness, God the Father turned His face away from His only Son. “Why God?! Why have you left me?!” Throughout scripture, this was the only time Jesus didn’t call the Great I am, my Father!

Our Saviour was, at that moment, abandoned so that you could be accepted, rejected so that you could be adopted, forsaken so that you could be brought near. Fatherless so that you might call Him Father!! Because Jesus endured that agonizing, lonely time where He no longer had the right to call God, His Father, because He had born the full weight of our Sin upon Himself, we now have the ability to come boldly into the presence of Almighty God and call Him, Father!!


Angel Gossip.

If you’re reading this then this is all about you (even though it’s about me too!).
Did you know that there is a whisper going on in heaven, a rustling among the angels? The word is out on the golden streets and rumours are being circulated from angel to angel. There is a definite buzz in the heavens today and the news is spreading like wildfire! Where did the word begin I wonder? Who is it that all the angels are whispering about??


Oh my! They’re talking about me! They say the King of kings told them, Jesus! They say they saw Him rejoicing, He was dancing with joy, He couldn’t stop talking about ME!! What did He say I ask?“Jesus said that you are beautiful, totally perfect for Him, that you are lovely. Oh, and He said that when you sing to Him, His heart starts to beat faster with an overwhelming love for you. He told us that He cannot stop thinking about you, day and night, night and day YOU are on His mind!” I couldn’t believe it, Jesus said that…… about me?! Are you sure it was me that He was talking about? After all, this is Jesus we’re talking about! The Beautiful Saviour, the Glorious Lord!


“That’s not all He said,” the angels whispered, “Listen to this! Jesus told us that you are the one He wants to be with forever, you are His bride and He is your bridegroom. He says He has so much He wants to tell you, things He has never told anyone else, deep secrets, the secrets of His heart and He won’t tell anyone else, only you because He loves you. He told us that He has so much for you, so much for you to do together, places to go to, exciting plans. He told us that He has blessings for you, gifts! Surprises around every corner! Flowers, sunny days, rainbows, colours, perfume, everything He can think of just to enchant you! He tells us He loves it when you laugh and clap your hands with delight when He blesses you. Then He told us that He simply loves to watch you, He is enthralled by you, He said you have the most beautiful smile, contagious laugh, you are just lovely. It’s funny,” the angels said, “He just can’t stop telling us about you…… I think He must be in love!”

As a bridegroom rejoices over His bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5


His Easy Yoke.

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus commands us to; “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I must confess; I have read this so many times over the years, and always had questions as to why I would want to take one heavy yoke off and put another on. Don’t you think it would make so much more sense for the Lord to say; “Take off your yoke and you will find rest, take off that burden and run and be free?”


To understand Jesus’ intentions, we must look back at that yoke placed on the neck of the working oxen. A collar linked two working oxen together and that was then hitched to a plow. When a young ox was broken in, he would be tethered to a bigger, experienced ox. During this time of training the new ox would learn how to walk in step with the older ox, how to work as a team, and here’s the kicker, this brand new, young ox carried no burden at all! His ‘training yoke’ was fashioned in such a way that the big, experienced ox would carry the whole load, the young ox was there to simply learn!


When we are yoked to Christ, He carries the burden! We are there to simply learn from the Master, to go in the direction He takes, to walk in step with the Savior. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” It is a place where we ‘cast our burdens upon Him,’ take His training yoke and learn from Him. What a beautiful picture of Jesus’ desire for intimacy with us, our wonderful Savior wants to walk so closely with us until we are at the point where we can sense if He will turn left or right, walk up into the mountain or down into the valley! A time of learning the mysteries and secrets of His ways!

Today if your yoke is heavy, feels hard or is a burden, cast your cares upon Him, take His easy yoke and surrender to the leading of your precious Redeemer. Allow Jesus to carry your burdens while you learn to walk in step with Him!


The Seamless Garment

Bible scholars have identified over 100 prophecies that were fulfilled that dark Friday when Jesus hung on Calvary. Imagine that. One hundred prophecies fulfilled at the cross! One of the lesser-known but still astounding prophecies is about a seamless garment.

John 19:23-24 says this about the seamless garment: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,’ that the scripture might be fulfilled which says: ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’”
What was so incredibly important about this seamless garment?  In Exodus 28, we first discover an ornate, seamless robe made especially for the High Priest—the one who would enter the Holy of Holies, on behalf of the children of Israel, and bring offerings to the Great I Am for the sins of His chosen ones. The priest was also taught that he must never tear his clothes, for if he did, he would invalidate his ministry as High Priest. Jesus wore that garment—that precious, seamless robe of the High Priest!

Have you ever noticed that when Jesus stood on trial before Caiaphas, the High Priest, Caiaphas ripped his garments once he had finished questioning Jesus?!  “Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy.” (Matthew 26:65)  In rage and self-righteousness, he tore his robe and disqualified himself from the priesthood! Why? Caiaphas had been replaced! Replaced by a High Priest who would go to the cross as an offering for the sins of the world!
I love how the Father does all things well, right down to the tiniest detail. Christ’s seamless robe was never torn; the soldiers cast lots for this precious garment, and it remained intact for all time! It is the seamless robe of Jesus, our High Priest, who sits at the right hand of God, forever making intercession for us!


“I Loved You First.”

1 John 4:19. Says; “We love because He first loved us.” Beautiful words. Words that breath refreshing and life into any weary soul. “He loved you first.” In this sweet and simple verse, we hear the Father declaring His love for us, right from the beginning of time. A shout through the ages from creation to kings, from wars to prophets, down to the birth of His Son. “I loved you first.”


Our wonderful Heavenly Father is the initiator and we are the responder. “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” John 15:16. He chose us, we didn’t choose Him. So often we tell the story of how we chose God, when the reality is, He chose you! He chose you, way back when you were formed in your mother’s womb and your days were written in His book! God is the initiator, we are the responder.

We don’t give, in order to move God to give us more! We give because He has already given, a thousand blessings, an abundance of miracles, the assurance of salvation. He gave first. Our response is to give back out of gratefulness and thankfulness for His generous love. We don’t praise Him to experience His presence. We praise our Savior as a response to His majesty, as a response to His greatness, His mercy and His grace. Creation responding to the Creator! God is the initiator, we are the responder.


Our motivation to give, to love, and to praise, must be a response to the Great I am loving us first. He gives in abundance, He never leaves us or forsakes us! You cannot read your bible long enough, pray enough, or do enough good works to make Him love you more. He loved you first, with a perfect love, a love that knows no bounds, to which there is no end. Should we not fling our arms to heaven and declare our love for Him when we know the depths of His love. Our response should be written into every detail of our lives, in our giving, in our doing, in our praising and in our living. “We love because He first loved us.”


What about the meek?

Have you ever had one of those frustrating days where everything just seems to go wrong and you come home irritated and annoyed? I’m sure you haven’t, but I know that I have! My mind goes a million miles an hour trying out different scenarios, what could I have said and done differently and even thoughts of exactly what I would like to say but don’t dare!!

This happened to me very recently and I came home and sat on the couch with a dark, gloomy cloud hovering just above my head! I cried out to the Lord in my frustration and said, “I need perspective, Father, a Word from You as to how to proceed!” Within seconds the Lord dropped a scripture in my heart from Matthew 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Blessed are the meek? The meek? “I need another scripture Lord!” I cried. But no. This was the one highlighted by the Holy Spirit. So I picked up my commentaries and concordance and took a closer look.


The very first thing I discovered was the Greek meaning for the word meek – someone who has a mild disposition or a gentle spirit. It is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. In my chaotic journey to not operate out of my flesh, gentleness was certainly something I desired. Then I happened upon David Guzik’s words on the subject; “In the vocabulary of the ancient Greek language, the ‘meek’ person was not passive or easily pushed around. The main idea behind the word ‘meek’ was strength under control, like a strong stallion that was trained to do the job instead of running wild.” Strength under control – now that is something to aspire to!

Perhaps the clincher for me was Matthew 21:5; “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus, our Messiah, humbled himself and meekly rode a donkey into Jerusalem. That same Greek word for meek is used here for lowly. Strength under control! The King of Kings was certainly that! Perhaps I could be that.


Mark 11:2 tells us that this colt had never been ridden before. This colt had not been broken in or taught to be obedient to its owner’s commands. But this beast behaved like one broken in, one who recognized the hands of its Master. This untrained donkey knew that the One seated on its back was The Creator, that the meekness of our Saviour was strength under control.

Clarke said it best; “This entry into Jerusalem has been termed the triumph of Christ. It was indeed the triumph of humility over pride and worldly grandeur, of poverty over affluence, and of meekness and gentleness over rage and malice.”

And so, meekness and gentleness should be sought after – not looked down upon as something we would consider weak. Self-assertiveness should be bought under control, along with our pride and desire to be right. So we must cast off all the sins of self-sufficiency, self-worth and self-glorification and in humility and meekness pick up our cross and follow the Saviour.