When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)
I am a firm believer in what Calvinists call “Irresistible Grace.” In case you are not theologically savvy, this is the idea that God’s grace will break in and change the lives of those to whom He sends it no matter how much resistance the soul puts against it. This may be a crude analogy to some, but think of sperm. It swims and swims until it gets to the egg. Once there, the sperm pushes and pushes until, eventually, it breaks in and fertilizes the egg. This may happen quickly, or it may take a while, but eventually the egg is fertilized. The same with grace. God’s grace comes into a person’s life and pushes until the barriers that a person has set up give way and then it breaks in and the life is changed.
The first Pentecost, though…wow. Amazing things happened instantly. people began spaking in languages that moments before were unknown. Not only that, but these people were passionate about what they spoke of. If they weren’t, people would not have thought them drunk in the middle of the day.
It is this that lies at the root of what community looks like. There will never be a sense of community so long as we are fighting what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do and be. As long as there are walls separating us from God and each other, we will never have the kind of contact with each other that God demands.
Strangely enough, these divisions were made void in Messiah Jesus.
For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. (Ephesians 2:14-15 HCSB)
Not only that, but
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 ESV)
This means that anything that would have divided us from each other at one time – race, class, or gender – are no longer existent. Yes, there are different races and different income levels and different genders, but no longer are these things that should be used to keep us from loving each other. In Jesus, we are all equal. Until we realize this, we will never have Biblical community.
More on this next time.