First Lesson: Acts 2: 1-21
Responsive Reading: Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
Gospel Lesson: John 20: 19-23
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Linus is mad! Lucy has stolen Linus’ book yet again. Linus wasn’t going to take it anymore. So Linus marched up to his mother to ask “Why can’t I slug Lucy?” Linus’ mother thinks about the question; Lucy had gotten on her nerves a time or two, she understood Linus’ anger quite well, but realized that good boys like Linus don’t hit Lucy back so she said “That’s just one of those things I can’t explain.” Linus walks away in a huff, finally encountering Lucy yet again. Linus wants to stand his ground, so he tells Lucy “Take my book again, you’ll be sorry.” Lucy’s response is simple and direct: “If you slug me, I’ll slug you right back.” Linus finally understood what his mom had said to him earlier. Lucy in her bluntness had made Mom’s words understandable.
Now as you think of the story of Linus and Lucy, I want you to think of another seemingly unrelated question: “What does the Holy Spirit do?” If God the Father created the world, Jesus Christ saved the world, what then is the Holy Spirit’s job, and what does it have to do with Linus and Lucy? We’ll get back to this question in a just little bit.
Today’s lesson from Acts 2 beginning to answer the question of the exact nature of the Holy Spirit’s activity. Let me give a little background. Fifty days after the Jewish Passover was a harvest festival called Pentecost. So in the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, one week after Jesus’ ascension, Jews from all over the Roman Empire would make their way to Jerusalem. They came from the south in Egypt, the north in Rome, and the west Arabia even some journeyed from Asia.
Also at Pentecost this year was Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples. Now here’s the thing to know. Peter was not held in high regard among the people of Jerusalem. Fifty days ago, Peter denied even knowing Jesus out of fear. Now silly Christians like Peter were going around proclaiming “Jesus to be risen!” Now Peter wanted to preach, but very few people wanted to listen. Peter’s tale seemed too far-fetched. Deep down inside, Peter probably feared another mob forming like had arrested Jesus fifty days earlier. Then something happened!
Once upon a time, there were two bears a Mommy and Baby Bear. Baby Bear loved Mommy Bear because of her continual love and care of him. One day everything would change for Baby Bear. Mommy Bear died in the accident. Baby Bear was now all alone in the forest. Baby Bear looked to be unable to survive on his own. One day, Baby Bear’s story seemed certain to end. Baby Bear was minding his own business when a mountain lion spotted him. Baby Bear looked to be a delicious meal for the mountain lion. Baby Bear started to run for his life. Baby Bear was small with weak little legs and no way able to escape from the mountain lion. Baby Bear is soon trapped down at the river. Baby Bear figures he’s a goner. Baby Bear tried to scare the mountain lion off by making noise, but being a baby could only manage a weak, squeaky voice. Just as the mountain lion gets ready to lunge, Baby Bear opens his mouth only then this time he roars, the loudest roar you’ve ever heard, the trees are shaking as Baby Bear is roaring. The mountain lion begins to back away. The mountain lion then begins running for his life terrified by the sound of Baby Bear’s roar. You see Baby Bear wasn’t alone down by the river. Watching him on this day was the biggest, most ferocious Daddy Bear you can ever imagine. With Daddy Bear around, Baby Bear was more powerful than even Baby Bear thought possible.
So what happened on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the Disciples were sitting in a house. They were thinking of how they could proclaim “Resurrection.” Yet the odds seemed as long as Baby Bear versus the mountain lion that people would listen. A force was watching over them that would soon change everything. As Peter and the Disciples were gathering a violent wind fills the sky. The wind is so powerful that people from all over Jerseleum begin to head in the direction of the wind. Pretty soon all sorts of people gather around Peter and the Disciples. What those gathered on the day of Pentecost heard was downright shocking. Peter and the Disciples primarily spoke Aramaic. Aramaic was the language of Galilee from where they came. Peter and the Disciples were now speaking in the native tongues of people from all over the world. Arabians, Egyptians, and Asians were all amazed. They were curious to listen to Peter at this point. Not everyone was impressed as some skeptics scoffed claiming These” men are filled with new wine .“ The critics though would not define this day. Peter then began to preach, probably in Greek which would have had a universal familiarity.
Peter’s preaching is effective. Peter’s preaching is efficient way beyond the eloquence of his words. Three-thousands new Christians are made on the Day of Pentecost.
So what can we as Christian people take from the story of Pentecost? Earlier, I told the story of Linus, his mother, and Lucy. Linus couldn’t quite figure out “the why” of striking back at Lucy. Linus needed a voice to make the unclear into clear. Linus needed a voice to sort his way out of the “fog” which afflicted him. Linus needed someone to put things into a language he could understand. What the Holy Spirit brings to the Christian faith is clarity. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes preaching the Gospel effective. The Holy Spirit is the one who sustains our faith in the waters of baptism and the administration of the Lord’s Supper when we seemingly have every reason to abandon it. The Holy Spirit is the force which took Peter from a scared/ineffective communicator fifty days prior into a bold champion of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit gave Peter and the rest of the Disciples the Daddy Bear roar.
How does the Holy Spirit work? Let me close with one story to bring the message home. Once upon a time, a young boy of around six years old had taken an interest in playing the piano. His mother wishing to encourage him wanted to take him to a concert of a master pianist. The pianist was world renowned, and she figured her son seeing the master pianist could inspire his playing. Thousands of people were going to this concert.
The boy and the mother went to the concert hall and appeared to get settled in their seats. The mother gets up to greet one of her friends. The boy bored waiting for the concert to start, decides to wander off in the concert hall. The boy finally sees a door marked as clear as day “No Admittance.”
The mother turns around, sees her boy nowhere to be found. She gets nervous, the lights begin to dim, and suddenly the curtains part. Out on stage walks the little boy approaching a Steinway Grand Piano.
The mother is mortified as she sees her son approach the keyboard. She feared never being able to show her face again once they found out to whom this boy belonged. They boy approaches the piano then begins to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” The audience is confused. They figure this concert to be a waste of money. Right at this moment walking onto the stage is the master pianist. He marches up to the piano whispers in the boy’s ear “Don’t quit, keep playing.”
The pianist reaches over the boy with his left hand begins playing a bass part. Soon after this, the other hand begins to play. Pretty soon, the piano master and the six-year-old boy are playing one of the most beautiful duets that people in the concert hall had ever heard. No different than Peter had gone from being out of his element into a bold witness for the Christian faith. Pretty soon, three-thousand people would have their lives unexpected changed. On this day, the Christian Church celebrates its birth. On this day, we celebrate our hope. On this day of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Amen
 Schneider, Matt. “A New Pentecost, or Maybe Just a Rhetorical Revival, According to Peanuts.” MBird (Mockingbird Ministries). 17.May.2013. Web. May.28.2017. Article is based on Robert L. Short’s book The Gospel According to Peanuts(p.7).
 Schneider, Matt. “A New Pentecost, or Maybe Just a Rhetorical Revival, According to Peanuts
 Acts 2:1-21.
 Stier, Leon. “The Tower of Babel and Pentecost.” Email Meditations. 24. May.2015. Web. May.28.2017.
 The following analogy was taken from The Hot Sermons website on May.28.2017. The analogy comes from a called The Bear.
 Acts 2:13.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.” Sermon Central. 08.June.2002. Web. May.28.2017.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”
Pastor Stew Carlson
These are all Sunday sermon's written by Pastor Stew.