THE DAY OF PENTECOST AD 2020
TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
REV. KURT E. REINHARDT
So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent.  Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.
 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.  And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."  And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, "My lord Moses, stop them."  But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!"  And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
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.
 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,  both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."  And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"  But others mocking said, "They are filled with new wine."
 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.  For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.  But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
 " 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' "  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
I will give you all that you need. It is the promise that the Lord makes over and over again throughout the scriptures. I will provide all that you need. I will open up my hand and give it all to you. Do not fear, trust in me and know that I will provide. We are being asked to believe that in many different ways in these trying days, aren’t we beloved? God will provide, yes, He will. That just simply is what He does. Providing, you see, simply goes along with God being God. It’s a simple truth that should be easy for us to hold on to, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that has turned our lives and world upside down, but it’s not, is it? Not for me anyway.
Why? Because of the lie. Yes, that nasty trust destroying lie that we were told in Eden, that questioned that truth about God and turned our first parents and all their descendants, including you and me, into professional doubters. Yes, just as providing goes along with God being God, doubting goes along with sinners being sinners. And so if I can find things to worry and be anxious about when the sun is shinning and all is good, is it any wonder that the doubter in me should be having a field day, when there’s a deadly virus ravaging the world and all hell is breaking loose, as it is south of the border? Yes, sinners doubt, but on this joyous Pentecost day the Lord has a powerful gift to silence the doubter in all of us, as He sets before our eyes how wondrously He has provided for us with the gift of His Spirit.
Today our Lord Jesus Christ draws our hearts to God’s wondrous care for us, even as He invites us to come to Him to receive the Father’s ultimate gift. He invites all those who are thirsty to come to Him and drink. Our Lord makes this invitation at the feast of tabernacles, which was a Jewish feast, that recalled how God had provided for Israel as they travelled through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Along that journey the people grew hungry and God fed them with bread from heaven. They also grew thirsty and Moses struck a rock with His staff and water poured out for them to drink.
As Jesus invites the people to come to Him and drink He’s drawing them back into that event and showing how it was really a prophecy about Him and what He would come to be for God’s people. The Lord Jesus came to be the rock that would be struck to pour out living water in the wilderness of this world so that God’s people could have life on their way to the Heavenly Promised Land. John unfolds that beautiful truth for us, when he records how our Lord’s side was struck with a spear as His body hung on the cross and out poured living water mixed with the blood of the Lamb of God.
This life giving water was the gift Christ came into the world to give to all of us. Sadly, not everyone will receive it. Not because Jesus doesn’t want to give it. He stands before the whole world offering it to all. But only one group will come for it, because only one group will want it and those are the ones He calls out to today, because He knows that they are the only ones who will hear Him. He calls out to one group - to the thirsty. If anyone thirsts. Only the thirsty will want to come to this rock. Those who have no thirst have no need to drink. Only those who are dying of thirst like the people of Israel in the wilderness, will come to Christ for the water He offers.
The thirsty that the Lord invites to drink deeply from His pierced side - from the living spring that flows out of His wounded heart, are those who have no other hope… those who know that without it they will die of thirst. The thirsty that the Lord invites are those who know that they have failed God and man… those who know that they haven’t feared, loved and trusted in God above all things… those who know that they haven’t loved their neighbours as themselves. The thirsty are those who know that they need a Saviour every moment of every day of their lives… those who know that God’s forgiveness needs to flow without end for every beat of their sin broken hearts.
The Lord Jesus doesn’t call out to the righteous, the good, the holy to come to Him. Only the sick need a doctor, only the weary and heavy laden need a place to rest, only the doubting need peace, only sinners need forgiveness, only the dying need life, only the thirsty need a drink. If you have your spiritual life together, if you got life with God all sewn up, if you’re a “good person”, then you don’t need Jesus. What can He give you that you don’t have already? If you can stand on your own why would you need a rock, a refuge or a fortress?
The Lord Jesus is here for the thirsty. He is not here to give you a pep talk, to tell you how you can get your life in order or how you can improve your walk with God. The Lord Jesus is here to quench your thirst, for God’s mercy, for God’s love, for God’s forgiveness. He is here to create, to nurture, to build up your trust in Him. He is here to be your Saviour, not just for a moment, not just for a day, but for your whole life long, for your every breath and every heart beat. He is here to pour out His Spirit upon you that your eyes may be opened more and more to your need, so that you may long more and more for your Saviour, that His Word might become the very air you breath, His body and blood the life blood of your own heart, His forgiveness the center and purpose of your life.
The Spirit is at work on this joyous Pentecost Day, through the same blessed Gospel that was preached on the first Pentecost some two thousand years ago. It has only continued to be proclaimed down to this day because of the power of that almighty Spirit, otherwise the world and Satan would have snuffed it out long ago, as they have so often tried to do in far worse ways than forcing the closure of our church doors with a deadly pandemic. Yes, beloved the Spirit is at work through the Good News of Jesus, in the Word of Jesus, to draw you to Jesus, that Jesus might pour Him out upon you. As the sound of the water bubbling up out of the struck rock brought thirsting Israel flocking to that rock to drink, so the Spirit is working in these dark and trying days in the Good News of Jesus to bring you to drink deeply from Him.
And as the Spirit leads you into a life of trust in your Saviour, He will overflow from your lives into the lives of those around you, as He leads you to forgive as you have been forgiven, to love as you have been loved, to bless as you have been blessed, so that the light of Christ may shine out through you to a lost world, that the thirsty around you may come to know of this wounded rock that flows with the living water of God’s mercy. And so, beloved, if sinful thoughts, words and deeds or doubts, worries and cares have left you dry, parched, dehydrated… if you are thirsty for God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s peace, listen to the sound gurgling up from the struck Rock in the Word today and come and drink deeply, because this fountain of God’s life and forgiveness flows for people like you and me. Amen.