It was fifty days after the feast of Passover and the Jews of the diaspora, Jews scattered throughout the world, are gathering together in Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks -Shavu’ot – occurs fifty days after Passover on the first day of the week. It celebrates the first fruits of the harvest being dedicated to God, and the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai.
It is on this day, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, that the apostles and a number of the disciples gathered together in one place: The Upper Room.
A very few days ago I was sitting, and praying with a number of other men, in that very room in Jerusalem; we were there during that space of time between Jesus’ Resurrection and his Ascension. What were the disciples feeling?
They had probably found great comfort in the togetherness of their own company since the events of the past weeks. It was only a couple of days before, on Passover in this room that Jesus had washed their feet when he changed the nature of the Passover meal to the Eucharist. Later, when Jesus had been arrested by the mob and they all had to scatter for fear of being arrested too.
Then he was driven by soldiers’ whips through taunting crowds to the top of the hill outside town and crucified, dying after a few hours. He was later taken down and buried in a tomb of one of his followers.
And it was fifty days ago, this very day, that he rose from the dead. From the time of The Resurrection he appeared to many of the disciples, opening their eyes to the Scriptures, teaching them the significance of his death, and giving them a command to carry this news about him to the ends of the earth. Then he left them, commanding them to wait for the Holy Spirit.
So they are there again in that same room, waiting, together, for the Holy Spirit. They are convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, that he rose in accordance with the scripture to bring salvation to the world, but there are still some questions.
Are they afraid? Maybe. The Christ followers were not the most popular group in Jerusalem after all the ruckus they had caused. And being arrested was probably not out of the question.
Were they anxious? Probably. Jesus rose and that was awesome but then he left; ascended into heaven.
He told them to carry the news about him everywhere but he didn’t give them a plan or program. And he told them to wait for the Holy Spirit. When would he come? What would he look like? How would they know?
And sitting there, they hear a wind, a mighty wind, like a hurricane or a tornado blowing, an overwhelming noise, and something like tongues of fire alight on their heads.
And from there they went out and turned the world upside down for the lord Jesus Christ. Continue reading ‘Sunday May 19, 2013/The Rev. Richard Marsden’ »