God’s Vision, Acts 2:1-21
In his book, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Charles Swindoll shares the following:
Did you realize that you blink your eyes 25 times every minute? Each blink takes about one-fifth of a second. If you were to take a ten-hour automobile trip, averaging forty miles per hour, you would drive twenty miles with your eyes closed. But there is another fact that is far more surprising than this fact. Did you realize that some people go through life with their eyes closed? They look but they don’t really see. If life were a painting, they would see colors but they would not see the genius in the strokes of the brush. If life were a journey, they would notice a road but no majestic, awesome scenery. They see life only as existence with no possibilities.
- 229, Growing Strong, Charles Swindoll
Even though the disciples had followed Jesus for three years, they could only see life as existence. The days since Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection had been a blur as they were unable to see the possibilities that were ahead of them.
Last week, on Ascension Sunday, we considered how their lack of vision was reflected as they spoke the language of the world (language defined by questions of why, when, and how long) when they asked Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” Last week, we heard Jesus speak in the language of the Eternal as he spoke to them about God’s presence in the language of the Eternal (language defined by life in the here and now).
Today is Pentecost Sunday. The day the Holy Spirit danced like fire on the apostles and light began to shine in the darkness as Peter and the other apostles shared the message of God’s love through Jesus. Just as surely as God’s eternal voice was heard in the beginning when God said “let there be light and there was light,” God’s eternal voice was heard as the disciples shared the message of Jesus with people from all corners of the known world.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. This is the day Jesus’ followers became the Church as they proclaimed God’s vision for life through the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Jesus. This is the day we remember that Jesus’ followers have been given God’s vision to see life, not as existence, but as possibility because of Jesus. It was God’s vision that Peter shared as he stood and told the story of Jesus. Empowered by God’s presence through the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed Jesus as Savior and Lord of the possibilities of life.
H.H. Farmer talked about seeing life through God’s vision as he spoke with an old Polish Jew who had come to the Christian faith after experiencing the holocaust. The man told Farmer, “You have no right to speak of the love of God until you have seen, as I have seen, the blood of your dearest friends running out of the gutters on a gray winter morning.” Responding to this statement, Farmer asked the man, “But how could you come to believe in the love of God, having seen such a massacre?” The old man replied, “It was because of that. The Christian gospel lay hold of me because it invited me to see God – the love of God – in the midst of those memories of the blood-stained streets on that gray morning, like the blood and agony of Calvary. This was a message that grappled with facts. As I looked at that man upon the cross, I knew I must make up my mind once and for all, and either take my stand beside him, and share in his undefeated faith in God … or else fall finally into a bottomless pit of bitterness, hatred, and unutterable despair.”
For over 3 years, the disciples grappled with the facts of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. On Pentecost Sunday, they took their stand in the undefeated faith of Jesus as they saw life through God’s vision and the Church was born.
On this Pentecost Sunday, followers of Jesus are called to do the same. We are called to grapple with the facts of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Taking our stand in the undefeated faith of Jesus, followers of Jesus are called to see life through God’s vision so the Church may continue to witness to the possibilities of life through Jesus.
Beth Tatum, a missionary in Costa Rica with TMS Global, witnessed about seeing life through the vision of God and living the possibilities of life through Jesus.
For the past five years, I have served on a ministry team in a local women’s prison in Costa Rica. These women have been through a variety of tragedies and have seen evil face-to-face. Many want to make a change in their lives and are determined to choose a better path.
However, living in an overcrowded and oppressed environment can harden anyone’s heart. Seeing the true transformation in these women would be nearly impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit.
When women first come to our group, they have hardened faces and attitudes full of hate. But, as our team leads Bible studies, mentors them, and teaches about the love of Christ, you can see physical and spiritual transformations take place. Their faces soften, they smile again, and their hearts begin to experience joy.
These women discover that they are not defined by their past and that the Holy Spirit will guide them as they forge a new path in life. They learn how to … move forward as new women in Christ.
On this Pentecost Sunday, we take our stand in the undefeated faith of Jesus as we witness to life seen through God’s vision. May the Holy Spirit empower us to live in the possibilities.
May 23, 2021