The power went off at our house on the Saturday before Pentecost.
I had just finished mowing the lawn on the verge. At first, I thought that I might have caused a short, but a quick look at the switches disproved this. I checked with Google and found out that there was a general unplanned outage in our area. So I rolled up the lawn mower cable and tried to shut the garage doors manually. The first one was easy, the second collapsed. I couldn’t get it fixed, so I waited until the power came on at the predicted time of 2.30pm.
Once power was on, I headed back to the garage to use the power mechanism on the door. It didn’t work. The door rolled up five centimetres and collapsed again. I tried to help it manually past the five-centimetre mark. No use. Five centimetres and it collapsed, over and over again.
Finally, I went outside onto the verge and tried the remote control. Then I saw it! In the first collapse, a metal strip had broken and was jamming the door so it couldn’t move past the five centimetres mark. With a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, I unjammed the metal strip and cut it off. I pressed the remote and Viola! The door was working again.
It got me thinking about Pentecost, the church and revival.
In the glorious outpouring of the Spirit at the first Pentecost, the people of Christ were set free and empowered to be and to do what God always desired of us.
The ministry of Jesus had revealed God with us (Emmanuel), the crucifixion brought us face to face with the horror of sin and Christ’s Ascension reminded us that he came from heaven, returns to heaven and will come again.
In Jesus’ ministry, he was not always accepted.
In fact, it was those who did not accept him who led the charge for his death. His death seemed to be the solution. Like me manually lowering the roller door. But it did not end there – he rose from the dead and appeared many times to his disciples. It was still a sticky point though – like my door. The power came on but the door still didn’t work.
At his ascension, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. On that day, Peter says “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Acts 2:32,33.
From the other side, Jesus sends forth the Holy Spirit to empower the church to faith and to the mission, and the Lord was adding to their number daily those who were being saved! The events of Pentecost were critical to unjam centuries of confusion about the purpose and meaning of life. If I had not walked to the other side of my garage door, I would not have seen the piece of metal jamming the mechanism.
If Jesus had not come, had not died, had not been raised from the dead, had not ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, we would all still have been jammed in another dimension, unable to find our way home (like Joan Osborne’s song: One of us).
But all these things did happen. Each is vitally important for our faithful understanding of how God has loved u, and set us free to be and do what he always wanted us to be and do.
Keep the faith, all of it – it is the story of Christ’s redemption.
Rev David de Kock