Pentecost was the end of an era. It was also the beginning of another era. First Pentecost was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel as well as the fruition of the promise of our Lord. We celebrate its memory every year but conveniently forget that it is not a feast to be forgotten the next day. A lukewarm Church which is ‘neither hot nor cold’( Rev 3:16) is the result of such a faulty thinking. This lukewarm church is just the opposite of what Jesus wanted his Church to be.
As for the disciples, it was a different experience. They kept the anointing that they received on the day of Pentecost for the rest of their life. What happens after Pentecost is as important as what happened on Pentecost. Jesus had told them about the Holy Spirit who was going to transform their lives. Those who were filled with the Spirit traveled through the roads that the Spirit showed them. ‘The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’ (Jn 3:8).
Philip was instructed to take the wilderness road that went down from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26). Once his mission for the eunuch was accomplished, ‘the spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and he found himself at Azotus’, a distant place. It was not uncommon for certain prophets to be moved from one place to another by the Spirit. For Elijah it was a regular experience. Obadiah was reluctant to tell King Ahab that he saw Elijah on the way. The reason in Obadiah’s own words: ‘As soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where…’ (1 Kings 18:12). It is not only about the anointing of Elijah but about the faith of Obadiah too! He believed that it was possible for the Holy Spirit to physically carry persons from one location to another.
Unlike Philip, Saul started his journey to Damascus without any instructions from the Spirit. Though the hand of God touched him in the form of lightning, he was permitted to continue his journey to the scheduled destination, but its purpose changed.
The experience of Ananias was a little different. The Holy Spirit instructed him to go to Saul ‘who has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight’ (Acts 9:12). He obeyed and went to Saul. He laid his hands on Saul. Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored’(Acts 9: 17-18).
We know persons who disobey the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps Jonah is the best example. He had to be in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights.
Rebellion against the wisdom of the Holy Spirit runs parallel with human history. Stephen says; ‘You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do’ (Acts 7:51).
Peter and other apostles had the privilege of being guided by the Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit sent Peter to Cornelius in Caesarea, and it was the beginning of a new chapter in evangelizing the Gentiles.
It was the Holy Spirit who compelled Paul to go to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22). The Spirit used a prophet named Agabus to reveal to Paul what to expect at Jerusalem. ‘He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles’ ( Acts 21:11).
As a ‘young lad’, Daniel had no business to intervene when a woman was being led off to execution. But ‘God stirred up the holy spirit of Daniel’ to rescue Susanna from death. The Holy Spirit equipped Daniel with the wisdom to speak about ‘sin and righteousness and judgment’ to a crowd who passed a wrong judgment against an innocent person.
There is another dimension to what we see, hear and feel. It is the realm of the Spirit. Earthly men will never understand the mystery of being carried away by the Spirit,or being moved and controlled by the Spirit. It is the privilege of those who are eager to listen to the words of the Spirit. Isaiah says; ‘ When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ”This is the way; walk in it” ( Isaiah 30:21). This Word will be fulfilled in our lives too, provided we have the patience to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to tell us. And for us, it is the only thing to do after the Pentecost. Wait patiently to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit!
Let us pray; ‘Speak, Holy Spirit, for your servant is listening’