Pentecost 2012: Hope in Relationship with God
May 25, 2012
NRS Acts 2:17 '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.
NRS Joel 2:28 Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
Pentecost is here. Peter chooses Joel as a text to preach on for an explanation to the crowd when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were witnessing in various languages to the mixed crowd in Jerusalem from around the world for the festival.
It is a marvelous text ? full of hope and optimism. In Joel's day terrible destruction from locusts and armies like locusts had wreaked havoc on Israel. How would they survive God's punishment? Like Jeremiah (31:31-34) and Ezekiel (39:29) Joel prophesies the coming of a new day that would be full of the presence of the Lord and hope in relationship with God. Sons and daughters, young and old, slave and free ? all flesh will receive the Spirit.
In an interesting change, one phrase is different between Joel and Acts where Peter was speaking. Joel says "afterward" or "after this," meaning after the terrible punishments of the Lord, the Spirit would be poured out and all would know the presence of the Lord.
Peter quotes from the Greek translation of Joel and says, "In the last days . . . " He is affirming the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy on that day and with those events. And he labels it the last days, the eschaton.
Not all flesh received this outpouring of the Spirit on that day, but it was a start ? 120. By the end of the day another 3000 would be added, and so it has been since that day. When people believe they receive the Holy Spirit.
But we aren't done yet. We have a ways to go until the complete fulfillment of Joel. You would have to figure we are a lot closer than we were.
We have been in the "last days" since the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit has been poured out on us to proclaim the Messiah and our Lord and the rule of God, the Kingdom. The Spirit's presence in our lives empowers us to live as a witness to others the kind of life pleasing to God in his Kingdom.
What a great day!