Summary: A sermon for Pentacost.
“A Miracle Of Understanding”
By: Reverend Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport news, VA
Have you ever had one of those...ah-hah... experiences when all of a sudden--something you had not
understood--some great truth---suddenly, miraculously makes sense?
And the disciples who walked with Jesus on a daily basis went a long time before they had this ah-hah
This morning we have gathered here to worship God through the singing of hymns, Psalms, liturgy,
listening to the choir and the Word of God.
But we have also come to celebrate the Miracle of Understanding--which is the birth of the Christian
Peter, John, James and the rest of the disciples had spent quite a bit of time following Jesus around.
They were there when He preached the Sermon on the Mount.
He told them over and over again what was going to happen to Him, and why it had to happen that
He had fulfilled Scripture---the prophecies from the Old Testament....
The disciples had lived with Him, eaten with Him, followed Him.....but they still did not understand Him.
At the Last Supper when Jesus predicted His death, and comforted His disciples.....
Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Thomas said to him, “Lord we do not know where you are going...”
On the night before Christ’s death He and His disciples went to Gethsemane.
Before Jesus went to pray He said to them, “Stay here and keep watch.”
Then He returned and found them sleeping.
He did this three times...and each time He came back finding them asleep.
They still had no idea what was about to occur.
When the crowd came to arrest Him, the disciples were caught off guard.
And after a brief struggle where the servant of the high priest lost his ear....
“Everyone deserted him and fled.”
After Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews.
On the morning of Christ’s resurrection, Mary Magdalene told Peter and John that someone had stolen
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked along with two of them.
Their faces were downcast.
They described Jesus as a mere “prophet” who had been crucified.
After all that had happened....
After spending three years living in the presence of God’s One and Only Son....even the disciples still
did not get it!
But Jesus had promised them that God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to them.
And when that happened He would teach them all things and would remind them “of everything” Jesus
had said to them.
It would finally make sense.
They would recieve the Miracle of Understanding.
The birth of the Christian Church came in the midst of the throngs of pilgrims from many different
nations that were making their way to the temple to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pentacost.
“When the day of Pentacost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where
they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled.”
It’s no coincidence that God selected this time to pour out His Spirit.
It was God’s desire to reverse the divisive effects of race and nation.
Pentacost reverses what happened at the Tower of Babel-- where humankind became fragmented by the
confusion of different languages.
At Pentacost, the believers did not speak the same language--but they were given the ability to speak the
gospel in foreign languages so that everyone could understand.
And why is this?
Because the Christian Church is based on inclusion--not exclusion.....
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
No matter what your language, no matter what your race, no matter what your place in the food chain of
It is God’s desire that everyone be included in the Church of Jesus Christ.
God is no respecter of persons.
It doesn’t matter to God where we have come from.....the only thing that matters to God is where we
“Red, Yellow, Black and White, we are precious in His sight.”
And when the crowds heard this, they came together in bewilderment, “because each one heard them
speaking in his own language.”
“What seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest” on the disciples was a visible sign of
the Holy Spirit of God.
Think of the symbol which is universally recognized to represent the United Methodist Church....the cross
and the flame!
It’s a cross---an empty cross---signifying the resurrection---and the flame--the flame signifies the Holy