Summary: A sermon for the Day of Pentecost


John 20:19-23

Act 2:1-21

"A young man was apprenticed to a master artist who produced the most beautiful stained glass windows anywhere. The apprentice could not approach the master’s genius so he borrowed his master’s tools, thinking that was the answer. After several weeks, the young man said to his teacher, ’I’m not doing any better with your tools than I did with mine.’

The teacher replied,’So, it’s not the tools of the master you need; it’s the spirit of the master you need.’"

Jesus said:" "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."

22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

23* If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Also, 1* ¶ When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2* And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3* And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.

4* And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit .....RSV

Jesus had promised the disciples before the ascension that the spirit would come to them, the counselor would come to give them power. It has been 10 days since the ascension and the disciples were waiting in the upper room. Can you imagine the conversations which were going on? Some probably wanted to leave, others were going to wait to see what would happen. Some might have doubted anything would happen, others remembering Jesus’ appearance before had the faith to wait.

Then the great moment arrived. If we look at the text from Acts, we see that the spirit arrived by itself from out of no where. The Spirit descended upon the disciples as they were probably going about their daily tasks. Some were praying, some where eating, some were cooking, some were just resting, but it happened. The Holy Spirit descended upon them with its own free will. The disciples did not ask for it, but Jesus promised it. It came and filled the disciples with its power as Jesus had promised.

The Spirit of the master, Jesus rested upon the disciples and filled them with the gifts of the Spirit, just as Jesus had promised. The Holy Spirit came of its own free will and empowered the disciples to spread the word of God through out the lands.

Think about this. The Spirit of the Master, the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came and entered the souls of those people on Pentecost and collided with their own spirits. We all have our own spirit within us, it is the spirit in us which drives us, empowers us, embarrasses us, frighten us, causes trouble for us, a spirit which wants only what is good for me, myself and I. We have a spirit which is defiant, which takes pride in itself, which wants to be in control, which wants to be independent, which wants to control the self.

It is the Spirit within us that the Holy Spirit comes to and wants to change.

It is God’s Spirit which came to those people that day of Pentecost and collided with their own Spirit. It is the same Spirit which comes to us on our Baptism and collides with our Spirit for control of our lives. It is that same Spirit which comes through the word and the sacraments and collides with our spirit day in and day out.

Because of our fallen nature, we are filled with pride, pride in ourselves, pride which says we don’t need a God in our lives. And it is with that spirit in us that the Holy Spirit comes to replace each day.

It is like the following Aesop fable:

"A tall, straight fir tree which stood towering up in the forest was very proud of his height and dignity and despised the little shrubs which grew beneath him.

One day a bramble asked him why he was so proud. "Because," replied the fir tree, "I look upon myself as the finest tree for the beauty of any in the forest. My top shots up toward the clouds, and my branches spread round in constant loveliness while you crawl on the around, likely to be crushed by every animal that comes near."

"All this may be true enough", replied the bramble, "but when the woodsmen has marked you for cutting down, and the ax come to be applied to your root, I fancy you will wish that you could change places with me."

The moral, Pride always goes before a fall."

Yes, you and I are filled with pride, a pride which says we do not need a God, or anything in our lives. But God comes to us with His Spirit to replace our spirit of pride with His Spirit of love and kindness.

God does not want us to "fall" but to live in Him and His Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, the work of salvation was begun and now through the Holy Spirit that work of salvation will continue in our lives. God wants us to live in Him and through Him.

An unknown pastor wrote:

"Once in a while the Spirit comes. Sometimes he stings the soul, sometimes he sakes it, sometimes he troubles our conscious, sometimes he soothes it, sometimes he heals our pain, sometimes he just helps us to endure it. He lifts the clouds just long enough for us to glimpse the City that was not made with hands in order that we can go back and take up our cross and follow him."

The Spirit has been with the Church since the first Pentecost, so that it could enter our spirit and enable us to be the kind of people God intended for us to be. Each day we need to renew ourselves and allow God’s Holy Spirit to replace our pride full spirit so that we can bear His cross in this world.

The Holy Spirit works constantly with our spirit so that our lives may be transformed, be made new and rewarding.

A closing story tells it well:


Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.

In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, "Don’t quit. Keep playing." Then Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.

The audience was mesmerized."

The Holy Spirit working with our spirit will transform the world and mesmerize it.