Summary: Have we experienced Pentecost in our lives?
“It Wasn’t Me”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
A young football player, in the last
two minutes of the game, his team down by 3, makes a touchdown.
He runs faster than his legs can carry him, and farther than he ever dreamed of running.
When the game is over, the coach says to him, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”
The kid replies, “I didn’t. I was picked up and carried by something outside myself.”
That is the experience that people have when they completely outreach and outdo themselves.
Taking a look at our Scripture Lesson for this morning…
…Everybody knew that Peter was no great speaker, yet he stood up in front of the crowd and when he began to speak, they all listened.
He spoke with boldness and with power.
If anyone had said to Peter, “I didn’t know you had it in you,” he surely would have said, “I didn’t. It wasn’t me. It was the Spirit of the Lord speaking through me.”
We read that 3,000 people were saved and baptized that day.
That’s what the Christian life is all about. When we are living under the power of the Holy Spirit, as the writer Annie Dillard says, “You’d better put on your helmet and strap yourself in, because you are about to be launched into a life you never thought possible—into the most exciting adventure—into a journey beyond your wildest imagination—into the more!”
How many of us can relate to this statement?
Many, many years ago the Lord spoke through the prophet Joel about what we are celebrating today: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions…and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Many centuries later…after His resurrection…
…right before He returned to heaven…
… Jesus Christ told His followers: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
If we were to be honest with ourselves, I would imagine that many of us can relate to Peter…at least the old Peter…the pre-Pentecost Peter.
Peter was just an ordinary man when Jesus called him.
He and his brother Andrew were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen” when Jesus came upon them.
“Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once, Peter and his brother left their nets and followed Jesus.
And they followed Him and followed Him and followed Him…
…for three spectacular years.
Peter watched Jesus as He fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
He saw Him walk on water…
…and then he himself got down out of the boat, walked on water for a little while…
…until he became afraid and began to sink.
He watched as Jesus healed people, and caste demons out of people, he was their for the Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus…
…and man, he sure did become convinced!
When Jesus asked Peter: “Who do you say I am?’…
…Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And on this confession, Christ promised to build His Church.
Peter was an ordinary man who had been in the presence of the Extra-Ordinary…and yet, Peter was still ordinary.
Sure, he had the best of intentions…
…he was positive that he would never betray Jesus….
…not after all he had seen!
“Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you,” Peter told Jesus a few hours before he was arrested.
But Peter’s confidence in himself was shattered just a few more hours later when he denied even knowing Christ three times!
Peter was just an ordinary person…like you and me.
A few days before Pentecost, Peter was present when Jesus said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
And when that day came “Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.”
I was very young when God called me into the ministry.
When thinking about what I was going to be when I grew up I thought to myself: “I am going to be a Methodist Minister. I don’t know how I am going to do it. I am going to have to go through a lot of changes…I’m going to have to become a very different person, but this is what I am going to do.”