After Jesus had been raised from the dead, he appeared to the disciples on more than one occasion. In the Gospel of Luke we read:
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised: so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Just as Jesus asked his disciples to wait for Pentecost, so we too wait. Perhaps this year that waiting is more potent than ever before, because for the first time we are waiting for something that is more than just a special service in our churches. We are waiting in some cases for our churches to re-open, we are waiting for a tomorrow, when our lives as we remember living them start to return, we are waiting for an opportunity to move forward into the dynamic outreach that we have been planning for over this fallow period.
And so it was for the disciples. The ministry of Jesus on earth had come to a dramatic full stop on Good Friday, an extraordinary – some would say unbelievable – resurrection on Easter morning and then he had left them, returning to heaven with a promise that if they waited, he would not leave them alone.
What did they think he meant? The writers do not record it. What we know is that on that first Pentecost something happened – something which was
inexplicable, and which changed the disciples from nervous people hiding away to confident evangelists, spreading the news of the Gospel to the four corners of the world. As we celebrate Pentecost this year, let us pray that we too should have the confidence in our faith to share it when we feel called to do so, and the power in our words that allowed Peter to preach for ten minutes and have three thousand added to their number.
Now of course, I understand that we don’t have space for another three thousand just now, but let’s step out in faith and in hope to share the love of God in our communities this year.