Today the Spirit blows in to our story. The Church is born. Acts 2.
If you are new to Scripture, this is actually nothing new. The Spirit is always blowing in. It blew into Creation, hovering over the waters. The rush of the wind often signals God’s presence for the prophets, or in Jesus’ ministry.
And yet, there is something different about today’s “blowing.” Acts 2 is more than just a story of tongues of fire thought. Acts 2 provides a major shift in the Christian story. It is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ, but a radical shift in how God is going to continue God’s work among the people.
The coming of the Holy Spirit, appearing as tongues of fire, resting on each person, fulfills the promise made earlier in the Luke/Acts trajectory. And who is the promise inherent in the work of Jesus Christ?
Jesus came preaching good news to the outcast. He didn’t come just to save those who followed all the rules (i.e. devout Jews like Pharisees) but to save the lost. His love poured out to sinners of all kinds, including Samaritans and Gentiles. Acts continues this process.
No longer is there an ethnic litmus test to be in the right with God. Instead, we find God’s grace pouring out on all of us. This sounds pretty good to this Gentile boy writing. God’s story has spilled over to my people, to our people, even to little ol me. God’s story of grace has spilled out over all the earth in fact, providing freedom and purpose to all who seek it.
This is at the heart of Peter’s speech too: “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”
Even slaves. Even women. This was unheard of.
We still struggle to believe this. We still struggle to believe that God’s grace can be this powerful and inclusive. We still struggle to see God’s grace that big. There are still pockets of people in our culture, or even whole countries of people elsewhere, many cannot fathom as included in this promise of God’s grace. But it is true. God’s grace has extended beyond all of our imagination.
And hearing the Good News of Christ is not what saves – the Good News IS that God saves the lost. We would be best to have some humility in this area, and know that God’s Spirit blows where it wills.