Holy Spirit is Here | Family Devotional | Constant Source Weekly

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This year we are publishing the main section of a current issue of Constant Source Weekly to our blog each month. Each blog entry will include the main commentary for that week’s issue, questions to help you reflect and internalize the lesson, and connection points to help you engage with your family in conversations about the things you are learning about God. It is our hope that this would be a year where more families around the world prioritize seeking Christ together and would exhibit His life and love to those around them. If you want to take a look at last month’s issue, check out our post entitled Accepting Forgiveness.


Read Acts 2:1-21

(Every Constant Source Weekly is inspired by four pieces of Scripture from all different parts of the Bible. One of those texts becomes the main foundation for the lesson and is interwoven throughout. Start by reading the text linked above.)

Commentary

(Every Scripture reading is paired with a commentary section that explains the core themes of the passage, discusses the way the reading informs our faith, and helps interconnect all parts of the Bible. Read that next below.)

It is here, the day of Pentecost is upon us. Pentecost is the third most important day in the Christian Church year and is, unfortunately, often overlooked by many churches across America. Often with less than a prayer of thanks for the sending of the Holy Spirit, the day of Pentecost goes unobserved even though it marks the day that God’s presence was made available to all who believe in Jesus Christ. As we see in the gathering of people in Acts 2, the day of Pentecost took place during the Jewish festival of first fruits, which occurred fifty days after the Passover celebration (pentekoste means fifty in Greek). This festival is a celebration of the harvest and God’s goodness, gifts, and blessings that have been and will be provided. It is fitting that it is in the midst of this celebration that humanity would receive one of the best gifts of all time. This moment is so incredibly important because the Triune God intentionally set a precedent upon arrival for what they wanted to be about in and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

To begin, let’s take a look at a couple of the highlight moments that we will repeatedly refer to as we unpack Pentecost. First, in verses 2-3, the Holy Spirit came in an observable way. The Holy Spirit made an unmistakable entrance into the world and often when the Holy Spirit is at work it is unmistakable in our lives as well. Second, in verse 4-12, the Holy Spirit grants those who are present the ability to speak in other languages. This is a huge deal because, as we will unpack later, it allowed for all different people to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. The list of all the different languages and areas of the world represented is long, everyone recognized that it was supernatural, and was in awe of what was happening, which in and of itself points to God’s power. Finally, for some, the miracle of language was described by some who didn’t understand as drunkenness. If people who you knew started talking in a language you didn’t understand and knew they didn’t speak, I bet you would think that they had been chemically altered as well. But the point is that in verses 14-21, Peter is able to explain what is happening, that it had been foretold, and that the Holy Spirit has a very particular purpose.

As we talked about last week, the way in which the Holy Spirit operates in the world was outlined in Jesus’s prayer to God the Father in John 17:20-26. Jesus prayed that all who believed in Him would experience the relationship that He experiences within the Trinity. We talked about the unity, transformation, and call to invitation that are results of participating in the relationship with God for which we were created. Let’s take a look at how the Holy Spirit works towards each of those ends.

Over the last few weeks, we have talked at great length about the call to unity that we as followers of Christ are supposed to strive for as well as its importance to God. One of the things that I love about this moment at Pentecost is that first thing the Spirit does is allow for a huge group of people to be drawn into God’s story through the use of language. The approach of that language further nuances the depth of unity that the Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish. Notice that when the Holy Spirit provides the ability for believers to speak in other languages that it is very specifically in other known languages. This allows the believers in this story to meet others on their terms, speaking the language that is comfortable for them and easiest for them to understand. This is very different than the Holy Spirit somehow interpreting in the mind of the other, which would have still made the good news of Jesus Christ known but would have established a precedent of one language being preferred over another. The reason that this is so important is that it promotes diversity within Christian unity and changes the way we think and go about inviting others into the family of God.

In the final line of today’s passage, Peter reminds those in attendance and readers across time that the end goal is that in knowing God we may be saved. Salvation is thought of as a moment, the moment when one says yes to believing in God. But as we see throughout the entire Bible, saying yes is just the beginning of our transformative journey towards Christ’s likeness and becoming builder’s of God’s Kingdom here on earth. As we have and will continue to talk about in issues to come, the Holy Spirit is the agent of transformation in our lives who leads us into a deeper relationship with God and empowers us to invite others to travel with us.

In considering a combination of both the unity and diversity intentionally sought through language and the promise of transformation, we can see that it is through the Holy Spirit that we are both called and empowered to invite others in. In the name of diversity in our unity, we are called to meet others wherever they are and on their own terms. Too often evangelism has been about convincing others that our way is the best way. But the example provided here in Acts 2 is that we would adapt to the other so that we can share the good news of Jesus. Along the way, we will be transformed further into Christ’s likeness and in each step towards Jesus, the Holy Spirit will be using our lives to influence others. It’s important to remember that it is the Holy Spirit working through the actions in our lives that often portrays Jesus so much clearer than the words of our mouths can, but on occasion, as seen above, the Holy Spirit works miracles and provides a way to speak to people in the way that the can most easily understand.

Reflection

(The reflection section provides prompts to help you think through what God is teaching you and how it applies to the world around you. Take 3-5 minutes to ponder and respond to each question below. We recommend keeping a journal to write in, so that you can revisit it later.)

  • Had you heard the story of Pentecost presented in Acts 2 before? How are you thinking differently about it now?

  • What, if any, experiences have you had with the Holy Spirit unmistakably working in your life? Has the Holy Spirit ever spoken to you in a way that it felt like God was speaking your own language?

  • After thinking through the Holy Spirit’s use of language to encourage diversity in Christian unity, how are you thinking differently about the way you will share God with others?

Connection

(This section provides tools and starting points to discuss what you’ve learned and processed through above with your family.)

Pray: “Holy Spirit come and be present in our lives. Empower us to be people who act in response to your leading and meet people where they are so that they can more fully experience God’s goodness through us. Continue to work in us and help us to be more like the Son, Jesus Christ. We love you Lord, Amen.”

Share: Share the story of Pentecost with your kids and then share a time you felt the Holy Spirit speaking “your language?”

Wonder: Talk a bit more about the day of Pentecost and ask your kids to wonder what it might have been to be there? While pretending, ask them what they might have seen, felt, and heard.

Accessibility recordings provided by text2speech.org


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      Ken Kuhn