SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Promise fulfilled at Pentecost

Years ago there was a song sung by Dionne Warwick that said: “Promises, promises, I’m all through with promises, promises now….”
With this being an election year we might think this is going in that direction, but that is not what I would focus on.
We hear so much about negative promises, never-fulfilled words, and it creates hurts and injuries of body, mind and spirit that can make it difficult to continue forward.
What happens when, instead, we focus on the positives, on the promises fulfilled?
It can bring healing and hope to a person or a group of individuals. In the course of reading through God’s Word there is only one promise I find that has not been kept (yet).
God has promised to return at the end of time and that all of His faithful believers will be with Him in heaven forever.
At this time in the Church calendar, there is another promise on which we focus that is of great importance. On May 5th this year we celebrated, among other things like Cinco de Mayo and National Day of Prayer, an often-forgotten event called Ascension Day.
On that day the Church remembers Jesus meeting with His followers on a hill outside the city, blessing them with a promise, and ascending into heaven.
Two men (angels) then stand with Jesus’ followers with a promise that they will see Him return as they watched Him go.
The promise is of great importance to us. Jesus told His followers He would send to them a Comforter, a Counselor, the Holy Spirit. They did not have to wait long for that promise to be fulfilled.
Pentecost, 50 days after we celebrated the Resurrection, the disciples were gathered together and they heard a sound like a roaring wind, and there appeared tongues, as of fire, upon their heads.
To me, it is always interesting that the words in Hebrew and Greek translate to either “wind” or “(S)spirit”. Context is a great determiner of how the word is translated.
Here we have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ followers, who then proclaimed the Good News of salvation to all who came to find out what this event means.
Peter uses the words of the prophet Joel to explain that it was the outpouring of the Spirit. (Acts 2:16ff)
Jesus, preparing to ascend into heaven, gave the Great Commission of sharing the Good News – even to the end of the earth (Matt. 28).
How could such a small group ever hope to accomplish this? They could not! But God could.
Matthew 19:26 reminds us that with God all things are possible. In hearing the words of Jesus’ followers, those gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost heard and took these words to the ends of the earth. And the proclamation continues!
Why? Because God made a promise. Because God always keeps His promises. And because God will fulfill His commission to us, and through us, for others. That is a promise we can live by! Jesus lives!
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

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