JUNE 9 is Pentecost Sunday. On this day, the Christian world commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other believers, as recorded by St. Luke in the book of Acts, chapter 2, verses 1 to 11.
What we find most striking in this event is the fact that from that day forward, God has made himself present among his people in a special, profound, widespread and intimate way. This realization comes about if we are to study carefully how God chose to reveal himself down the salvation history.
Because of sin, man in the Old Covenant, wasn’t privileged to see God face to face, lest he dies. In Jesus, man saw God in human flesh – listening to him, touching him, and being touched by him. Jesus, however, was crucified, was buried, but rose again from the dead, and forty days later, ascended to heaven where he now sits at the right hand of the Father.
Nevertheless, Jesus did not leave us orphans. He promised us to send his Holy Spirit, and on that first Pentecost Sunday, he actually did. Not that the Holy Spirit did not act on any man before; we know for a fact that the prophets have performed their ministries through the Spirit, and that all Bible writers have written by the inspiration of the same Spirit. But what makes Pentecost significant is that now, God has decided to dwell in his people at large.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is no longer a gift experienced by a selected few, but a reality open to all the people of God from whatever race, nation, gender, age, or situation in life. Thus we see the prophesy in the book of Joel (NRSV, chapter 2, verses 28-29) fulfilled, “Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall see dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.”
Because of Pentecost, God who seemed to be quite distant in the past cannot be any nearer in the present time. He is not only with us, beside us, behind us, or in front of us; he is “in us and within us.” The Holy Spirit who is God himself (the Third Person of the Trinity), lives in every Christian, and if he does, so do the Father and the Son. As St. Paul reminds us, we are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
What the indwelling of the Spirit creates is a very personal and powerful relationship with God. We may not realize it often but it’s true; the omnipotent God who created the vast universe and rules it by his sovereign word, resides in you and me.
It is thus comforting to think, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him (Romans 8:31-32)?”
With the Spirit now in us, we are led into all the truth. We are reminded of everything that Jesus has taught us; we are empowered to obey the Lord, and we are emboldened to carry out our mission wherever God has planted us.
By offering his life for us, Jesus has indeed made all things new.